Whether you’re a newly-minted independent adult living on your own for the first time in Singapore or a foreigner who wants to truly live like a local, going to the wet market should be a part of your weekly (if not daily) routine. But if you weren’t paying attention to your parents when they would take you to the market or you’ve never even been in a wet market before, the setting can become very intimidating and confusing.
Thankfully, Singaporeans active on the country Reddit page are always ready to give great advice. A Reddit user said that they needed to know how to navigate the wet market, and asked these important questions:
What’s the best time to go there?
How do you know if you are getting ripped off?
How to buy vegetables? In a bag vs scattered?
Any wet market secrets you want to share?
Here are some of the answers the wet market afficionados offered to the Reddit user, and you may find some important tips you never knew about.
Morning is the best time to go there
Since produce and meat products are slotted in during the wee hours of the morning, going first thing in the morning is the best time if you’re trying to get the best pick of the items in the market. Vegetables and fruits are fresher in the morning.
You also get to choose from more items the earlier you go, as the best cuts of meat or the nicest batches are easily scooped-up by the housewives. You may miss out on better seafood and meat than the cuts available in the evening or afternoon.
Another advantage to going before 7:30 in the morning as stated by one commenter is that you can engage in conversation with the sellers and ask questions such as cooking techniques or even haggle better.
You can buy through weight and budget
You don’t have to buy one kilogram of vegetable, fruit, meat, or seafood every single time. Since you’re at the wet market, the sellers can reduce the amount to half a kilo all the way down to 100 grams. You can also tell the seller your budget for that item and they will adjust. So instead of asking for one kilogram or half a kilogram, you can just say that you need $10 of fish or prawn.
You can compare prices
Before buying from one seller, you can always ask for their price then go around to ask comparative prices with other stalls. This is all part of the business and the real sellers don’t mind when you do this. You can always come back to the seller you like the most and get their items.
Use non-slip shoes, bring a “wet market wallet”
Since the wet market runoff is everywhere especially towards the afternoon and evenings, it’s best that you wear slippers that have good traction. Having a fanny pack or special wet market wallet is good because some of the money handled there can smell like meat, fish, or produce.
Buy from one place so you can haggle better
While it can be tempting to shop around, if you’ve found one seller that has all your needs, you can bargain with them after they’ve totaled your bill. You can also bring a trolley or a large eco bag to put all your purchases in.
Just remember that haggling is normal, but low-balling is always embarrassing.
Do you have other tips for the wet market first-timers out there in Singapore? Make sure to share it with us in the comments!