Many of us carry the misconception that Singapore relies only on imports to feed its hungry foodie population.
But, more farmers and ultra-fresh-food purveyors are cropping up, and you can buy your groceries straight from them – on a budget!
You can even purchase catch-of-the-day fish directly from Singapore’s last-surviving fishermen on East Coast Park. Watch this cool video from The Straits Times for details, and check out the gallery here for 5 more places where you can source the very freshest of ingredients.
In the waters just off Pulau Ubin is Sea Farmers @ Ubin, Singapore’s only oyster farm.
Each time a passing wave caused by motor vehicles tumble the oysters around, the live oysters contract their abductor muscle to keep their shells tightly closed, which explains their meaty texture when eaten. These Pacific oysters also tend to be sweeter and less briny than their Atlantic counterparts.
You can even order them online at only $36 per dozen!
NEXT: (A lot of) fish
All it took was one man, some extra wood and carpentry skills, and some free time to start the fish farm that has grown to become FinFisher fish farm, with more than 50,000 fish.
Not forgetting a lot of determination – owner Timothy’s success didn’t come easy, after his first batch of fish died and he met with obstacle after obstacle along the way.
The FinFisher farm might be new, but it’s already produced over 24 tonnes of fish in the first year of operation, and aims to be at over 100 tonnes of fish production by the third year, in line with the Government’s goal of locally producing 15% of our fish consumption.
Hashima is a Chinese and Central Asian ingredient made from the dried fatty tissue found near the fallopian tubes of frogs. For the uninitiated, it sounds cringe-worthy, but hey, it was previously available only to emperors – so you know it’s good stuff!
Hashima in its unflavoured form is sweet and slightly savoury with a lightly glutinous texture, commonly used in Asian sweet soups or desserts with rock sugar, goji berries, and other sweet ingredients.
Given how often you probably see wild shrooms growing along pavements, you’d be surprised how hard it is to actually cultivate mushrooms – temperatures, incubation periods, and other factors must be closely monitored.
From Shiitake mushrooms to Pink Oyster mushrooms and even ones rarely heard of like Royal Abalone mushrooms, you’ll find a whole variety at Mycofarm, Singapore’s only specialist mushroom grower. These are harvested and packed to be outsourced to supermarkets and local restaurants.
NEXT: Imported varieties of vegetables →
Harvesting our own greens in Singapore has a much greater significance – growing imported varieties locally would mean a lower carbon footprint as it lessens the need to air-freight them from the United States or Europe.
One such farm is Sustenir Agriculture, a high-tech indoor vertical farm. The farm’s highly controlled conditions allow them to grow vegetables such as Tuscan kale and arugula in only half the time needed for outdoor farms under normal conditions.
Currently, they produce about 54 tonnes of vegetables a year, which is highly efficient for a 344 sq m space (only 1/20 of a soccer field!).
NEXT: Pacific oysters →
By Pinky Chng, September 2017; updated September 2019
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