Mustafa Centre in Little India - Stereotypical or Useful?
As an Indian I can say this, Indians are very judgey of other Indians. In my short time in Singapore I’ve learnt that here they judge each other by their addresses. We recently met someone who stays in Sentosa and it did not take them too long to take a shot at Indians who stay in the East Coast (which I’ve been told is pretty much Indian dominated). Now I happen to know a few Indians who stay in the East coast they say they won’t be caught dead in Little India. Luckily for us we don’t stay in any of the above mentioned places, nor do we care about peoples postal code.
But before you are too quick to judge Indians, let me tell you, as Indian we get stereotyped by others as well, so clearly the world isn’t perfect. When I mentioned I’m going grocery shopping to a non Indian person I recently met her first responses was oh Little India, Mustafa? And my response was no, cold storage, its a three minute walk from home.
Coming back to our topic for the day, is a trip to Mustafa stereotypical or useful? I will say USEFUL! For someone (me) who’s hasn’t been to India since 2019, Little India is the one place that beats being home sick, especially now when its peak festival season. Where else could I go and get a whole variety of Modak(Indian Sweet) to celebrate Ganesh Chaturtri?
As the name suggests, Little India is an area (with its own MRT station) which has a ton of stores offering a whole variety of Indian products and Mustafa is undoubtedly the biggest. So if you are wondering to make a trip there or not, here are some pros and cons to help you decide.
- Everything under one roof. A full supermarket (with fresh meat, produce and a bakery), and various floors dedicated to fashion, kitchenware, electronics, beauty and home essentials among others
- Variety of packaged and fresh Indian snacks and sweets
- Has organic products
- Reasonable prices, most food items are cheaper than other Indian stores
- It used to be open 24 hours a day, but since COVID its open till 11.30 pm, which is still longer than many other super market
- Difficult to navigate - the layout is not the best, in some sections items are packed from floor to ceiling, the aisles are small and for me the flow of products isn’t the best. Over all it can be overwhelming (15 different salt brands can do that to a person)
- If you don’t have a list, you will end up buying unnecessary junk
The final verdict? I go there only for the food. It’s definitely a good place to start if you’re looking for a specific item, for example you want to make chaat and need all the ingredients. It’s also a good place for monthly grocery halls like big bags flour, rice and pulses. If you are someone who prefers a brick and motor store and comparing different brands (like I do), going to the store is worth it. It was during my third visit when I discovered that they even have a fresh produce, meat and dairy section. Level 2 also boosts a huge selection of fresh and frozen ready to eat meals but I don’t find those healthy and so I steer clear. But there certainly is something for everyone over there, you just need to explore and dig around.
As for the other floors, the basement floors are dedicated to clothing(not my style though), footware, kids toys, and other home electronics. The upper levels have home items (from crockery to curtains and to car accessories) and the 1st floor or as I call it the ground floor has all the beauty products and toiletries along with Money charging counter and a Pharmacy (who knew!).
Unfortunately you can’t buy their stuff online, so if you need some thing you have to go down there. Just remember, wear you mask at all times and stay socially distanced!