Here are some places where smart shoppers can stock up on a budget.
1. Warehouse Club
Supermarket chain FairPrice has a members-only mega retail store where consumers can buy items in bulk at discounts of up to 20 per cent.
Warehouse Club, the two-storey store at the FairPrice Hub in Joo Koon, stocks more than 4,000 products, including groceries, fresh and frozen food, electronics, household goods and health and beauty products.
Where: 1 Joo Koon Circle, Levels 2 & 3
Info: Go to http://warehouseclub.com.sg
2. Pasir Panjang Wholesale Centre
Opened in 1983 to centralise the distribution of fruit, vegetables and dried goods, the wholesale centre attracts both retailers and consumers alike. The 26-block complex which is about 20 football fields in size, houses some 1,405 stalls, shops, offices and cold rooms. The site has its own canteen and an auction hall where hundreds of wet market vendors and restaurant owners bid for the freshest groceries in the wee hours.
Where: 1 Wholesale Centre. It is located off West Coast Highway, opposite Haw Par Villa.
When: It is open 24 hours, but business is most brisk between midnight and 6am.
3. Allswell Marketing in Geylang Road
The live seafood market supplies big-name seafood restaurants and high-end hotels.
You can purchase live seafood such as Indonesian lobster (from $75 a kg), Alaskan King crab ($98 a kg), bamboo clams ($45 a kg), tiger prawns ($32 a kg), flower crab ($26 a kg).
Frozen items include snapper loin ($32 a kg) and scallop (from $44 a kg). Prices may fluctuate and are subject to change.
Where: 670 Geylang Road, corner of Lorong 42 Geylang, tel: 6745-1123
When: 8.30am to 7pm, daily. On Chinese New Year's eve, it will close at 4pm.
Info: Go to http://www.allswell.sg/index.asp
4. Toa Payoh's vegetable wholesale night market
For at least 30 years, this open-air market has been selling vegetables from Malaysia in bulk. The makeshift market, which starts from about 11pm and runs until day break, extends for about 120m along Toa Payoh East, outside Pei Chun Public School, after the junction of Lorong 7 Toa Payoh.
Most vegetables are either presented in boxes, baskets, or on ground sheets or directly on the road.
It is mostly frequented by food stall and wet market stall owners, but many members of the public also buy vegetables here. While many items are sold in bulk - think kilograms of leafy vegetables - most stall owners are also willing to accommodate home cooks' requests for smaller quantities.
Expect everything from jicama and wintermelons, to Vietnamese mint and pandan leaves. Depending what is fresh and in season, items can also include wing beans, snake beans, shimeji mushrooms and eggplants in different shapes and sizes.
Prices are significantly cheaper than in supermarkets, and about 20 per cent cheaper than at wet markets, depending on the type of vegetable. For instance, a packet of shimeiji mushrooms at one stall costs 90 cents, while a similar packet at a leading supermarket can cost between $1.60 and $3.
Where: Toa Payoh East, outside Pei Chun Public School, after the junction of Toa Payoh East and Lorong 7 Toa Payoh.
When: The market, which has about 10 stalls, is open six days a week from about 11pm to about 6.30am. It is closed on Sundays.
5. Fassler Gourmet at Woodlands
The wholesaler sells everything from frozen seafood, including items such as cod fillet ($88 for 1kg), shishamo ($12 for a 1kg packet) and black tiger prawns ($30 for a 1kg packet), to smoked salmon (from $6.50 for a 75g packet). Also available are prepared dishes including seafood shepherd's pie (from $6.95 for a 340g piece); cooked lobster (from $16.50 from a 350/400g lobster); as well as soups and chowders (from $3.80 for a 500g packet). Order online to avoid disappointment.
Where: Fassler Gourmet, 46 Woodlands Terrace, tel: 6257-5257
When: From now until Chinese New Year's eve - 8.30am to 5.30pm (weekdays), 8am to 5pm (weekends, until Jan 22). On Jan 27 it will open from 7am to 11am. It will be closed on the first three days of Chinese New Year and resume regular opening hours from Jan 31. Its regular hours are: 8am to 5pm (weekdays), 8am to 1pm (Saturdays), closed on Sundays and public holidays.
Info: Go to http://www.fasslergourmet.com/
6. Victoria Wholesale Centre at Kallang Avenue
This is the go-to wholesale centre for Chinese New Year delicacies. Items on sale here include everything from dried shrimp and dried sea cucumber, to canned and dried abalone. There is also fried fish maw, duck web, lup cheong, red dates, dried plums and more.
There are about 15 stalls on the ground floor that sell these delicacies, so you can pick and choose items from various shops. Some shops also sell basic provisions such as onions and ginger, as well as takeaway containers and plastic bags.
Expect prices to fluctuate in the leadup to Chinese New Year. As a gauge, prices start from $2 and upwards for 1kg of dried shrimp, to $28 for a 500g packet of frozen shark's fin. A can of abalone starts at $26.80. While most items are pre-packed, some ingredients such as dried flower mushrooms, dried scallop and spiky sea cucumber, are also sold loose. They can be bought in desired amounts and are priced by weight.
Where: Victoria Wholesale Centre, 101 Kallang Avenue.
When: Most shops open from 9am and close by 6pm (Mondays to Saturdays). Closed on Sundays.
Info: Go to for the full list of retailers http://victoriawholesalecentre.com/
7. Far Ocean Singapore at Fishery Port Road in Jurong
This wholesaler sells a range of premium seafood and meats.
For Chinese New Year, it will have a pop-up sale offering items such as ang kar prawns, sea cucumber, wagyu beef and pomfret. The products are imported from countries such as Australia, Japan and the United States.
Prices start at $35 for 500g of Japanese Hokkaido scallops; $39 for 500g of Taiwanese abalone; and $88 for 300g of Japanese Matsusaka Chuck Roll Shabu.
Where: 15 Fishery Port Road, Jurong
When: Jan 7 to 27, 9am to 5pm, daily. It will close at 1pm on Jan 27. Thereafter, the usual operating hours are 9am to 5pm (weekdays), 9am to 3pm (Saturdays), closed on Sundays and public holidays.
Info: Go to http://farocean.com.sg/
This story was originally published in The Straits Times.
Thumbnail image by 123rf.com. All other images courtesy of The Straits Times.