Supermarkets With Things You Never Knew You Would Find - Or Need!
STORY: Pearlyn Tham
27 August 2021
Before Covid, nobody really cared much about supermarkets except maybe your parents (because you use tissue paper like “no need money hor!”) or people who pioneered working from home and so they had to also cook and eat at home.
But now that we don’t really have anywhere much to spend our idle time – besides Coney Island, the Rail Corridor and whichever mall that does not kena a cluster – and your friends are not vaccinated so you can’t all dine out together, supermarkets have become the new Ion Orchard, the new MBS and the new Bangkok.
Never before have we seen this many (hip-looking) people perusing organic blueberries, carbon-neutral beef, egg-free pancake mix and paper straws in supermarkets. Or a local supermarket chain rewarding its tired staff with investment banking-grade bonuses.
And supermarkets know we are bored, restless and hungry. This is why some of them have gone all out to court our Plus or Passion Card points with new concepts, unusual merch… and Li Nanxing. Add these to cart now.
CS Fresh Gold
Location: #B1-21/22 Paragon
If you love supermarkets, the newly launched CS Fresh Gold flagship at Paragon, which replaces the former Market Place, will be your playground.
At the entrance, you will be greeted by a gleaming bakery counter where you can pick up your breakfast fare, which may include the best-selling Sour Dough Multigrain Vienna.
Move down the line and besides the popular Fresh Sushi and Salad Bar (cheapo takeaway insiders will know this is where you find the most affordable salad bowls in town – sorry, Cedele), there is the exclusive collab with the Crystal Jade restaurant group. Roast meats like duck and char siew are priced 20 to 25 per cent lower than what you would pay for in the Crystal Jade restaurants.
For those who prefer buying their meat raw, Ryan’s Grocery offers carbon-neutral dry-aged beef, Borrowdale free-range pork and pop-into-oven lazy options like beef wellington and chicken caprese.
CS Fresh Gold is also said to boast the biggest wine and spirits section in supermarkets in Singapore. Think 80 beer brands and 140 wine brands including an organic wine collection.
Of course, what is wine without a good cheese and charcuterie board, right? At the in-house Cheese Shop, 150 types of cheese are sold by weight because nobody wants to eat a whole wheel of Cornish Blue for months. You can create your own board off a menu, with non-atas prices starting at $9 for The Petite Platter consisting of cheese, salami, dried fruit and breadsticks.
And pawrents don’t have to feel guilty about leaving their furkids at home while they shop. CS Fresh Gold has the first Dog Treat Bar by Alison’s Pantry (they are also responsible for the hooman nuts-and-fruit pick-and-mix counters in the store) so you can bring home salmon jerky and cookies for your little one to woof down.
Kawaii kidswear and kitchenware: HAO Megamart
Location: #01-01, 200 Turf Club Road
Their outlet at The Grandstand is a hypermart so besides the usual fresh food and household essentials, you will find cute, reasonably priced children’s items like strawberry-applique dresses and rainbow-print Nike-ish sneakers. And if you look around hard enough, you will also spot adorable ceramic plates that would cost four times more in an Ann Siang Hill or Joo Chiat artisanal store.
Vegetarian frozen foods: Ang Mo Supermarket
Location: 85B Lor 4 Toa Payoh
Fans of this little-known chain know it for its super affordable groceries which include $1 packets of chye sim that are just nice for one person’s WFH meal (so, no wastage mah). In fact, online reviews about Ang Mo Supermarket have included a gushy “even cheaper than NTUC!”.
But at the Toa Payoh Lorong 4 outlet, we also came upon an impressive variety of frozen vegetarian food. There are the new-age Impossible Foods, Omni Meat and Beyond Meat products, but also vegetarian anything like sliced fish, spare ribs and even luncheon meat. So #fakeittillyoumakeit.
And if you are wondering about the supermarket name, we hear that it’s not so much about it selling ang moh items (though they also stock a good range of pastas and bottled olives) but more about it having its origins in Ang Mo Kio.
The first supermarket cocktail bar and croissants by Li Nan Xing: Fairprice Xtra Parkway Parade
Location: #03-28, Parkway Parade
What if you are so hungry that you can’t even wait to go home to cook a meal with what you bought?
No problem: this supermarket (if you can still call it one) houses dining concepts like Ban Tong Seafood where you can chomp on Har Cheong Kai Burger and Salted Egg Squid Ring, Alfero Gelato which dishes out gelato cakes and limited edition flavours like Ondeh Ondeh, and House of Bakers by ah ge Li Nan Xing (hae bee hiam croissants, anyone?).
Fairprice Xtra Parkway Parade also has the first cocktail bar in a supermarket with its very own in-house The FairPrice Fizz Tipple as well as the intriguing Martell Suan Mei. Apparently, the cocktails are concocted with ingredients sourced from the supermarket itself. Wah, no carbon footprint!
You can pair your tipple with fresh oysters, tortilla chips and a cheese platter. Liddat no need to go home for dinner liao!