PUBLISHED December 2nd, 2013 01:05 am | UPDATED February 7th, 2020 12:35 pm
The whole journey and feel at Tekka Market is just so wonderful. Why settle for digital snapshots in your Cloud when you can experience the smell of the incense, see the marigold flowers, and hear the funky Bangra music triumphantly blasting down the alleys for yourself? …and of course, the complete chaos and reckless abandon of following pedestrian and traffic safety rulings. Ah yes, Little India it must be.
Most importantly, Tekka is a place to get a surprising array of excellent quality produce at very attractive prices. It’s where many Indian food enthusiasts (including the owners of The Elephant Room) source for authentic, quality ingredients and spices. But traversing the massive Tekka wet market can be intimidating, so here’s our guide on stalls you can’t miss.
Chia’s – The epic greengrocer
Mr Chia….you are the dude. Jeff Lebowski himself makes you a White Russian. When it comes to the greens, Chia’s is my #1 spot. He has everything!!! Can’t find habaneros or jalapeños? Boom! He’s got it covered. Need Italian parsley, basil, rocket, kale, spinach or pretty much anything else? You guessed it. The shop has developed something of a reputation, and quite rightly so.
C J Low High Grade Beef – Grumpy Chinese Singaporean Uncle beef dude
I’ve literally been here 10+ times and the guy is just as blasé about my existence now as he was the first time. Frankly however, I don’t give a damn, as long as his beef and prices stay the same. I’ve bought meat from him many, many times… His $42 p/kg New Zealand tenderloin is one of my faves. Air-flown, fresh and fantastic for all occasions. Even his flank beef at $20 per kilo roasts very nicely for my regular homemade roast beef sandwiches. If you’re after an air-flown rib-eye, his is only $30 per kg. And I can tell you from experience it tastes damn good. Eat your heart out Cold Storage, Hubers and Swiss Butcher.
Joe’s Butcher – Less grumpy butcher with some fantastic sausages
If you come here, you’ll notice that the prices are highest of all the butchers at Tekka (though still of course cheaper than outside) but the quality speaks for itself. My favourite treat at Joe’s are his sausages. He’s the only guy in Tekka to do them, and you’ll find Mexican jalapeño flavoured, Italian Salicia and much more. They only cost about $23 per kilo which is not too shabby my friends!
GV Meat Distributors – the jolly Indian dudes with some superb lamb
I’ve bought lamb from GV a bunch of times. If chops are what your after, go elsewhere to Osman’s as GV’s can be a lot of work. However, for fresh lamb mince of a whole shoulder or leg, GV is an excellent option. On the bone, it’s only $22 per kg, or $24 for off the bone. All their lamb is from New Zealand and does very nicely in homemade kebabs.
Chicken crazy – Breast, Legs, Livers and all..
There’s two stalls with excellent, fresh chicken that I’m particularly a fan off – Ah Heng and Zamela & Family. One thing I love about buying chicken at Tekka is how fresh it is. They’ve literally been slaughtered the day before you buy them at the market. They’re tender, fresh and the butcher will dice and slice however you like. If you love making your own chicken liver pâté at home (like me) then this is somewhere you can get around a kilo of chicken livers for around $2-3. Insane.
Fishy encounters of the best kind at 81
Something something in Tamil then the number 81. This is my choice for fish. In terms of selection, service and freshness, these guys are top. Being an Ang Moh, I can’t help but lean towards my Western comfort fish such as salmon ($18-25 per kg), seabass ($10 per kg) and snapper ($13 per kg) – my go-tos for baking, steaming or making into ceviche at home. Not only are these fish super reasonably priced, they are fresh as anything (I’ve even used the Salmon for some excellent sashimi), the fishmonger will debone and descale everything for you. Stellar stuff.
Fruit guys – Taste, savour and enjoy….
I always like to end on a sweet note, and it goes without saying that some of the best fruit in Singapore can be found at Tekka stall 13. The fruit dude is my personal fave. He always has great fruit, variety, and will happily guide you through what is in season, what is ripe now, and what will be ripe in a few days. More over, if he’s got something he thinks you’ll like, he’s got no qualms about slicing off a juicy, sweet segment for you to try.