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Shopping in the Heartlands

Shopping in Singapore can be bewildering. The range of choices available to the average shopper is absolutely staggering – from the world-famous shopping belt, Orchard Road, to major malls such as Suntec City and VivoCity, from kitschy souvenirs in Chinatown and Little India to bargains in Bugis, there’s an incredible array of goods for sale. Well, we’re not here to narrow down your choices for you, unfortunately. Dig a little deeper and you’ll unearth shopping hotspots in other less well-traversed areas in Singapore. Here are three of our favourite heartland malls.

City Plaza

This shopping centre’s unassuming exterior gives no clue to the fashion gem that lies within. Although the street-facing shops are mostly remittance shops and money changers, the interior houses tonnes of shops catering to women’s fashion.

Singapore’s online shopping scene has taken off in a massive way over the past few years due to its convenience, competitive pricing and endorsement by popular bloggers and social media influencers. What most shoppers don’t know, however, is that if you’re willing to put in the legwork, you can get the same cute dresses, skirts, shorts, tops and shoes at City Plaza for a price that’s significantly cheaper than what blogshops are selling them for! There are also shops catering to the middle-aged female crowd, beauty supplies and bridesmaids. If you’re part of a bridal party and need matching dresses, you can find bridesmaids dresses that run the gamut from simple, elegant dresses to fully blinged out, lacey, ruffled confections.

If you get hungry while shopping, there’s always Arnold’s Fried Chicken. A stalwart presence that has been operating for 30 years, Arnold’s is a Halal eatery so Muslim visitors will have no issues with indulging in the fried chicken with wonderfully crispy skin.

Address: 810 Geylang Road, City Plaza, Singapore 409286

Nearest MRT Station: Paya Lebar

Queensway Shopping Centre

Another old shopping centre that has been overshadowed by the shiny new malls that are popping up like mushrooms all over Singapore, Queensway Shopping Centre is nevertheless still the place to go if you’re in the market for some new sporting items.

While you’re not likely to find the latest season’s sporting goods here, past season’s stock are offloaded at great prices. The shops here sit cheek by jowl and are packed to the brim with all the sporting items you could need. Shoes, hiking sandals, socks, running shorts, yoga pants, leggings, sports bras, basketball and football jerseys, sweatpants and more can be found here. And it’s not just for adults too – some shops have a smaller selection catering to kids. You can also take your pick of accessories such as water bottles, gym bags, sunglasses and caps. Businesses providing racquet repairs and string replacement services – a sight getting progressively rarer in Singapore – are also in operation here if you happen to have yours with you.

What’s a shopping centre without food? There are two food stalls on the ground floor that serve what is arguably the best laksa [hyperlink to laksa article] in Singapore. It doesn’t matter which stall you patronise, they’re both fantastic examples of the dish. Why not try them both?

Address: 1 Queensway, Singapore 149053

Nearest MRT Station: Queenstown or Redhill

Mustafa Centre

Shopping round the clock? Why not? Mustafa Centre, commonly referred to simply as Mustafa, is open for business 24/7.

One of the landmarks of Little India, Mustafa carries a mind-boggling array of goods. From groceries and fresh produce to clothes, electronics, stationery, pharmaceutical items and toys, you’re likely to find anything you could possibly need here. One of Mustafa’s little known secrets is the fantastic range of Indian makeup they carry. Pigmented kohl, silky eyeshadows and vibrant lip colours from brands that aren’t easily found elsewhere in Singapore are available here. The best part is, the low price tags belie how high quality the makeup items are.

Many other odds and ends can also be found at Mustafa. Need a giant roll of bubble wrap to ensure your fragile loot doesn’t get damaged on your way home? You can get it at Mustafa – even if it’s 3am in the morning. There are several money changers here too, offering rates that are so competitive that locals will make their way down to Mustafa just to change currency before going overseas.

When you get hungry after all that shopping, Mustafa’s location means you can take your pick of North or South Indian cuisines. Don’t leave without trying lassi, an Indian yoghurt drink that is traditionally taken with a pinch of salt but is now also available with sugar or fresh mango flavour.

Address: 145 Syed Alwi Road, Singapore 207704

Nearest MRT Station: Farrer Park

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