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Groceries are expensive, aren't they?

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ozchick
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Groceries are expensive, aren't they?

Postby ozchick » Sun, 23 Sep 2007 6:31 pm

I was told before I got here that grocery prices are similar to Oz. Well I don't know the prices exactly back home in Melbourne, but apart from milk and bread, most things seem to be more expensive- am I right about this generally? Meat is way higher, fruit and veg is of dubious quality for price, and cereals etc limited choice and significantly dearer. Any opinions, advice welcome. I tried one wet market but the smell almost made me ill !
PS Have travelled and lived elsewhere overseas and find it odd that Oz is SO isolated from the rest of the world but that our choices there in supermarket products is incredibly good comaparitively.
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Postby rhino » Sun, 23 Sep 2007 7:22 pm

Hi Ozchick,

Groceries being expensive... I think in a sense its all relative - if you are buying mostly imported western products, then there's no doubt you will be paying more then you would back home. Fresh fruit and meat (beef and lamb) is more often than not airfreighted. Cold Storage for example has a very good range of stuff, but tends to be on the expensive side - fairprice doesn't have as much, but tends to be cheaper in my opinion.

I find beef and lamb are more expensive (but beef is getting quite expensive back home as well) while pork is cheap (I can't work out why - its flown from Australia!) and chicken, which comes from Malaysia I think, is significantly cheaper (A$14 a kilo used to be the norm at Coles or Woolies - about A$6 a kilo here). With the drought continuing back home and talk of grocery price hikes there, don't expect Australian products to get cheaper!

In terms of toiletries and stuff, I would try Mustafa Centre - I go there maybe once a month and load up. Its the only place in Singapore I can find decent deodorant - Rexona! And while its from Australia, its A$3 a can here, not the A$6 a can you pay back home! Its great for chocolate as well - 4 x 250g Cadbury blocks for S$9! Mmmm.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Sun, 23 Sep 2007 7:47 pm

rhino,

I'd check out the label on the Cadbury's. You taste in cholocate has been dulled since you've been here do the the dearth of good reasonably priced chocolate. I believe that you'll notice the wrappers are different and that it's made in Malaysia. :( My wife recently brought back some from the UK and side by side there is a world of difference.

Ozchick, the secret here is to learn to live like the local, it's much cheaper that way. (also healthier I suspect looking at the average Ozzie or Yank)

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Postby rhino » Sun, 23 Sep 2007 7:54 pm

Interesting point SMS - I didn't look at where it was made but they were also selling blocks at Mustafa that had "Special price - GBP1.39" or something on em so I assume they were from the UK! Apparently Cadbury's in Australia tastes different to the UK version as well - something to do with a different mix of ingredients due to the warmer climate down south.

You're definitely right about the dearth of good, decent priced chocolate!

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Postby Plavt » Sun, 23 Sep 2007 8:39 pm

Regarding the taste of chocolate; this issue was raised sometime ago by As Annoying as Quasimodo. I think you may find this has something to do with the milk used and possibly other ingredients and in part to adhere to the law of the respective countrie(s).

Unless I am mistaken it is hard to get or use fresh milk in Singapore? Can anybody confirm or deny?

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Postby Superglide » Mon, 24 Sep 2007 9:25 am

Fresh milk readily available at Cold Storage. Imported from.... Australia.

I don't find grocery shopping here more expensive than back in N-Europe in general. And if you are like myself, more into European products instead of Aussie stuff, luckily there is Carrefour.
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Postby huggybear » Mon, 24 Sep 2007 3:13 pm

what's wrong with shopping at tekka? or those stalls along serangoon for vegetables?

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Postby micknlea » Tue, 25 Sep 2007 12:49 am

A lot of it is relative to what you want to buy, but in general if you are buying the same sort of things as back in Australia yes it is higher, but not too much for most average things. Milk and bread are way higher here than there as are meats. Other things can be cheaper but it depends on where you are shopping, same as back home, the territory dictates the prices. :wink:

As for the suggestion to shop down at Tekka or Serangoon road, fine, it is good, but perhaps not convenient for everyone? Certainly not to do daily shopping if you live somewhere like Siglap or Jurong. :wink:
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Postby niv_niv » Wed, 26 Sep 2007 12:35 pm

well.. i've seen a packet of Tim Tams selling for SGD 5 + bucks at Jason's supermarket at tanglin. :shock:

These Tim Tams are sold for about AUD 2 bucks back in OZ (safeways & coles)

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Wed, 26 Sep 2007 3:19 pm

Jason's and Tierney's cater primarily to Expats and anybody else foolish to insist on eating western while in an asian country. Part of the experience of asia is the local food.

Having said that, if you insist on having something that is not an FMCG, then it becomes a rarity and the prices on having broken lots shipped is a lot dearer that having a roadtrain running from one state to another. Whole lots are out of the question due to space constraints of storage and use-by dates causing wastage that the stores can ill afford.

Meats are airflown (chilled or fresh) or seashipped (frozen). In either case a lot more expensive than buying from Malaysia or Indonesia. Also, a lot better grade of meat as well. But somebody has to pay for the shipping. If you eat local foods though, most meats are stewed or curried or some-such and this, like a slow cooker, will tenderize the worst cuts of meat to make them more palatable. Pork is about the cheapest meat in Singapore even as the majority is airflown from Aus. Course, the key here is to eat rice and local vegetables and less meat.

Huggy,

My wife and I go to Tekka quite often. Only thing is we use subterfuge when shopping there. I sit in the food stalls area eating roti prata and drinking tea and the wife goes in to buy the groceries. If I go with her, they think she's the maid and I'm the expat so before she opens her mouth the price at the very least doubles. So she makes runs back and forth with the bags. :P

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Postby huggybear » Wed, 26 Sep 2007 3:22 pm

so should i bargain with the shopkeeper at tekka?

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Postby Superglide » Wed, 26 Sep 2007 3:56 pm

nah, just give him a huggy!
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Postby sprite » Wed, 26 Sep 2007 4:11 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote:anybody else foolish to insist on eating western while in an asian country. Part of the experience of asia is the local food.


Why?

Why can't you just eat what you want? Why is deciding what's best for your family 'foolish'?

Sundaymorningstaple, not all expats are like you. Not everyone decided to live here and immerse themselves completely in the local culture. If you were a career expat, moving every few years, that would be exhausting and a waste of time. What if you are here for two years and you just want some Tim Tams because you're homesick?

Groceries can be very expensive here, which is why long-term residents/expatriates ween themselves off western items if they stay longer. Any good HR person can tell you the formula used to figure this out.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Wed, 26 Sep 2007 6:31 pm

sprite wrote:
sundaymorningstaple wrote:anybody else foolish to insist on eating western while in an asian country. Part of the experience of asia is the local food.


Why?

Why can't you just eat what you want? Why is deciding what's best for your family 'foolish'?

Sundaymorningstaple, not all expats are like you. Not everyone decided to live here and immerse themselves completely in the local culture. If you were a career expat, moving every few years, that would be exhausting and a waste of time. What if you are here for two years and you just want some Tim Tams because you're homesick?

Groceries can be very expensive here, which is why long-term residents/expatriates ween themselves off western items if they stay longer. Any good HR person can tell you the formula used to figure this out.


......deciding what's best for your family is foolish? I wish you could actually hear what you have written. You brought them here and then can write something like that? =D>

Do you actually read the garbage you write? If you were a career expat you would have given up trying to eat like you did at home (wherever that might have been before you started your "expat" career) because you would already know that most things wouldn't be available anyway. It's much more exhausting to try to keep finding the little things that make you feel like you shouldn't have become an expat in the first place. It's much harder to find a Tim Tam than it is to find a local snack don't you think? A career expat also doesn't always move every two years either (don't know where you came up with that BS - did they teach you that in HR101?). Groceries, if you want to eat imported, are expensive anywhere. #-o If you want to eat what you ate at home, then stay home and don't become an expat. If you are here and want a Tim Tams because you're homesick? Buy it. But don't complain about the cost. Simple logic I'd say. Groceries are very cheap here. It's only the individual makes them expensive. I think you've got it bass ackwards. I didn't ween myself off anything. I started eating local the day I arrived. As I've done for every country I've been either living in or working in for close to 30 years. Weening is for babies and some of the newer types of expats like yourself I guess.

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Postby Plavt » Wed, 26 Sep 2007 6:54 pm

Sms has a point if you visit Japan for example and decide to eat Japanese food (shock horror I do), you will find the ultimate cost of your holiday no worse than anywhere else. On the other hand if you want to eat beef-steak and other western food while you are there then you might find yourself out of pocket sooner than you bargained for.

When Japanese live in Britain the situation is reversed: you should see the price of Japanese food in London. :o


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