There are a large number of Indian stores in Singapore catering to food and religious requirements. Non-Indians too frequent these stores to expand their palate.
Digant Sutar always came home to a home cooked meal in Singapore. His wife who stays at home never faced trouble bringing him his favourite Malwani dishes, far away from her home base. This is because his wife, Aarti had access to Karepatta (curry leaves), almost all Indian vegetables from Arbi (Colocasia), Capsicum and Pumpkin along with deftly packed masalas to make cooking easy and convenient thanks to the many Indian stores in Singapore.
She also did not have to travel half the way across the city to get them either. “We have an Indian store right in our building in Jurong. The stores are all hop, skip and a jump away. I never miss my country in Singapore,” says Sutar.
Jurong has many Indians but other areas too have access to the many branches of Sri Murugan Traders where a large selection of Indian masalas and condiments from across states are available at these stores. The large number of Tamilian population has led to the proliferation of Indian stores across the country which stock all things Indian, from clothes to daals and condiments to Indian movie DVDs.
All of India at Mustafa
Mustafa Center at Little India in Singapore gives a taste of everything Indian. A large number of Indians head to this 24 hour mall which stocks everything from Indian spices and condiments to clothes to Indian jewellery. This mall is as famous with foreign tourists as well as Indians who look to buy everything from electronics to clothing accessories, which stock Indian brands.
The mall is a one-stop shop for all things Indian. Ravi Narayana wanted to celebrate his 45th wedding anniversary in Singapore by renewing his vows. He wanted to re-do the entire Indian wedding in all its glory for its Singaporean friends as well. “My children finished all the shopping for the wedding by purchasing all the ingredients necessary for the banquet. They also purchased all the clothes and other gifts at Mustafa Center,” he says.
All for a puja
Sanjay Sharma performed a Satyanaraya Vrat Puja at his home recently. The ritual requires many things from Kapur (camphor) to cow ghee to beetel leaves to special oil lights, kumkum and turmeric. Sharma could purchase all of them ( all 21 items required for puja) in one visit to an Indian store called Jothi store in Little India. He also purchased a DVD which had a series of stories on the power of Satyanaran Vrata. He could also pick up some extra prasad for his guests so that they would not have to slog at the stove before they could sit for the ritual.
Indian expats in Singapore have access to the best of what India has to offer because the quality of spices exported to the country pass the stringent standards imposed by the government. Singaporean in India also get a taste of ‘all the flavours’ from all the states of India, which is not very common in the country itself.
Don’t want to cook?
Aren’t you keen on spending time cooking? Do you miss the occasional Indian breakfasts at restaurants? A large number of Indians weave into the Singapore culture of eating at Hawking zones at every building or colony. Few in Singapore actually cook at home because the cost and quality of food served at these zones maintain very high hygiene standards.
Singapore has many options for those who want to replicate this culture but with their favourite Indian food. Those who like typical South Indian meals can just pop into MTR for its awesome Masala Dosas. The Curry Culture has the best mutton and meat curries for those who prefer the best of what North Indian cuisine has to offer. Tiffin Room and Komala Villas Restaurant also serve authentic Indian food that rival established restaurants in India.