Ms Stephanie Duriez, owner of Secrets Fine Food located at Tiong Poh Road. Photo Marcus Tan
A string of new gourmet grocers has popped up to whet the appetite of increasingly discerning consumers. In the past five months, at least four speciality stores have opened, offering premium produce and artisanal food from around the world. Here, we showcase the latest line of posh nosh outlets with an international twist.
Secrets Fine Food
What: Opened last November, the shop in Tiong Bahru offers restaurant-quality produce mainly from France.
Where: Block 55 Tiong Poh Road, 01-02, open: 11am to 8pm (Tuesday to Friday), 10am to 8pm, (weekend), closed on Monday.
Products include cheese from acclaimed French cheesemonger Herve Mons (prices start at $9 for 100g of French cheese Gabietou from Pyrenees). You could also pick up artisanal jams ($19 each for a 220g jar) with flavours such as raspberry, blood orange and strawberry from French jam maker Christine Ferber.
There is also Bordier butter by French butter craftsman Jean-Yves Bordier in flavours such as espelette chilli pepper ($8.50, 125g), seaweed ($8.50, 125g) and smoked salt ($6.80, 125g).
A range of Bordier yogurt ($4.50, 125g), produced by a farmer in Brittany, with flavours such as coconut, raspberry, blueberry and lime, is available too.
Do not miss the range of cold cuts, which include coppa ham ($19 for 100g) and vuletta pork cheek ($19 for 100g) from the Mediterranean island of Corsica.
There’s also a range of Il Borgo del Balsamico balsamic vinegars and condiments by Italian sisters Cristina and Silvia Crotti.
Prices start from $14 for a 250ml bottle of balsamic vinegar cream. Online shopping and home delivery are available.
Info: Call 6221-2107 or go to www.secretsfinefood.com.sg
What: Specialising in Australian produce, the two-month-old Little Farms grocer carries a wide fruit selection, along with a variety of dips, snacks and sauces. Think large Panama passionfruits, sweet Ladyfinger bananas and creamy Shepard avocadoes.
Where: Valley Point Shopping Centre, 491 River Valley Road, 01-20, open: 7.30am to 9.30pm daily.
Party-worthy snack condiments include gluten-free dips ($8.98) from Aussie brand Roza’s, which come in flavours such as beetroot, walnut and pomegranate; artichoke and garlic; and chargrilled capsicum.
You can also find Turkish dips ($10.80 each) from Mediterranean restaurant Efendy in Sydney. Options include eggplant baba ghanoush dip with pepita (Spanish for pumpkin seed); and pomegranate and sumac hummus.
Other highlights include soda ($19.98) from New Zealand soda company Six Barrel Soda Co and pasta sauces ($13.98) from Sydney- based Italian chef Luca Ciano.
Little Farms will start its online platform and home delivery service by June.
Info: Call 6262-0619 or go to www.facebook.com/ LittleFarmsGrocer
Gyomu & Megumi no Sato
What: The hypermart in Big Box in Jurong East now has a section for Japanese produce. This new partnership comes under BB & G-7 Retails, a subsidiary of TT Group, which operates Big Box.
Where: Big Box Hypermart, 1 Venture Avenue, Level 1, open: 10am to 10pm (Sunday to Thursday), 10am to 11pm (Friday and Saturday).
Currently, Megumi no Sato – a chain that focuses on agricultural products – has 21 outlets in Japan and the branch in Big Box is its first overseas venture. Gyomu is a supermarket chain with more than 700 stores in Japan that caters to wholesale and bulk-buy purchases.
Prices for Japanese produce are kept affordable. For example, prices for Fuji apples start from $5 for three. At the Isetan supermarket in Westgate mall, a Fuji apple costs $6.90 each.
Other produce includes Kumamoto tomatoes ($6 for three) and kidney beans from Okinawa ($3 for 80g). You can also buy groceries, such as bonito flakes ($19.60 for 500g) and a litre of Caesar salad sauce ($9.70) in bulk.
What: It may not be as big as Japanese food hall Emporium Shokuhin in the same mall, but Midtown Mart still packs plenty of Japanese products, from confectionery items and snacks to household goods.
Where: Marina Square, 6 Raffles Boulevard, 03-130A, open: 11am to 9pm daily.
A collaboration between Japanese restaurant chain Tampopo and the Japan External Trade Organization here, the store opened in January. The chain is called Daikoku in Japan and operates more than 80 supermarkets. This is its first overseas venture.
New products are brought in every week, such as Hikari six-grain and vegetable soup ($6 for a pack of four) and seaweed soup ($2.50 for a pack of three). There is also a wide selection of coffee and tea from Japan, such as Tsujiri matcha milk ($9.80).
Midtown Mart carries exclusive products that are handmade or produced in Kyoto too. Visit the shop on Tuesday for the latest shipment from Japan.
Info: www.facebook.com/ Midtownmart
The full version of this story was first published in the Straits Times, April 10, 2016