Wednesday, 19 August 2015

To Market, To Market: Tekka Market

Some years ago, we had a very close distance relationship with the Tekka Market. I count it my blessing to have been once so near it, when we were staying in the heart of Little India. It was then my one stop venue to whip up simple meals or even a feast. I frequented it mostly on weekends while I swung over to the supermarkets on weekdays. It's not a surprise that wet markets are now a diminishing spot for busy Mums. 

We recently stepped foot in it again. It was so like deja vu, except that I felt I've aged a little. It's been about 5 years since I went back! Stalls and owners are mostly the same, the market's hustle and bustle did not change and the variety was still as good. Tekka Market is probably the largest wet market across the Island. Groceries that can't be found in other wet markets, can be found here.

I've to confess there are certain shifts in why I do my groceries at the supermarket now: 
1. I'm not a small talk person. Don't misread me, I am extremely friendly. Just that I'm usually more passive. Knowing the sellers better is quite advantageous to getting some perks.
2. I was once chided by a fish stall owner when I didn't elaborate my preferred cutting style of a fish. You guessed it, I didn't patronize that stall again. 
3. I prefer getting vegetables from the supermarket than wet market. They are less perishable. I am quite lazy shuffling between places.

So then, I rekindled my love at the wet market again. I had such a fruitful trip recently that I needed to go back there soon!

We visited on a weekend morning and the area is well known for its bad traffic. The entrance to Tekka centre's carpark was snaking long at about 9am that morning. I reckoned we would be wasting much time trying to get into the carpark if  we were adamant about getting a lot there. We went further up to the housing flats at Klang lane, to park at its multi storey carpark and took a short cultural walk to the market. 

Chia's vegetable supply
My journey began at the rear entrance of the market, which was shortly welcomed by my favourite vegetable stall, Chia's vegetable supply. This stall plays Jazz music faithfully almost daily, giving you a relaxed vegetable shopping experience. I will say this is one unique stall and probably one of its kind in the wet markets across the Island. With its huge occupying space, its variety runs from the English to Asian kind of vegetables! Brussels sprouts, rockets, rosemary, kale and the 'you name it' vegetable. You'll be surprised what he can fish out for you just by asking. 

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Huge variety

I've to say not all his vegetables are appealing. I spotted wrinkled capsicums and rotting sweet potatoes. You may proceed to other vegetable stalls for those you're unable to get pretty from Chia. Since I don't really fancy buying leafy greens at the wet market, I went for those I rarely spot at the supermarket. I bagged off some skinny Thai asparagus and pearl bean pods! Which was perfect for cooking my soup.

You will notice too, many foreigners love buying from him, and that's because he speaks a variety of languages! Yes, be impressed.

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Asparagus and pearl beans

Joe's Butchery
With an agenda of hosting a BBQ that evening, I proceeded to get beef steak from Joe's butchery. Apart from the various cuts of beef, they sell a variety of freshly made beef sausages. Read me right, freshly made means not cured. Definitely a healthier choice. I will not hesitate to buy some the next time I'm there.

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Great beef selection

The queue to get my beef was slow moving. While in line, I browsed and decided the beef I wanted - 1 kg of air flown NZ ribeye. I always had a heart for good beef. And man! It was indeed some good beef. I love too, that they vacuum pack the freshly sliced steaks, which preserves its freshness a little longer in your chiller or freezer.

That day, I cubed, marinated and skewed the beef for BBQ. It became a home made delicacy.

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Some really good beef

Note too if you intend to get some minced beef, their minimum buy is 500g.

Boon Leng chicken
Just opposite Joe's Butchery, is Boon Leng. Where I used to get my chicken poultry from. This trip, I bought 1.5kg of chicken wings, which goes about 16 to 18 pairs (drumlet and wing). They go by weight, but no harm telling them how many you need. They can figure it out fast for you. At the same stall, I bought chicken breast ($3 per piece) and bones to cook macaroni soup for next day's lunch. Fresh meat is awesome!

There are a couple of chicken stalls in the market. I find it easier to swing over here since I frequented Joe's. Kampong chicken to black chicken, they have it all.

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Boon Leng

Lee Yit Huat Trading
My favourite seafood stall to patronize now, ever since my fish scar incident with another stall. This stall runs a huge space and carries a bountiful selection of seafood. It's as fresh as buying from the kelong!

I went for some glass prawns ($22 per kg), stingray and squids. For some strange reason, Js love eating squid. I'm happy that the buys were all freshly good! I hand picked my stingray and the uncle advised me to go for the flatter ones since they were for BBQ. Do specify your fish cut carefully if you intend to get them to slice for you.

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Seafood galore


Pork stall
I did have a little problem hunting for the pork stall's name, it didn't seem visible anywhere. In the whole of Tekka Market, there are only 2 pork sellers. The 2 stalls are side by side. If you intend to get fresh pork, be early as it runs out by about 10am. 

I gotten minced pork and pork ribs from the stall on the left (facing the stalls). My man would buy the meat and innards from him when I did my confinement some years ago. The frail looking seller looked as if he has slogged his whole life as a butcher. Be patient as he gets your purchase ready. It really isn't easy working in a wet market at this age. In fact, he had been enterprising enough to rent the stall next to him, to combine into one huge stall to store his fridges and meat. Just so customers don't have to wait too long on him if he needs to replenish his meat.

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Life of a butcher

Fruit stalls
There are quite a few fruit stalls in the market. All towards the hawker side. I find it more pleasing to be shopping at the fruit stalls than the rest. Perhaps, the sellers are more friendly. After all, it's soothing and comforting to be looking at colourful fruits than boring meat and fishes. I love the fruit stalls here as their varieties are like a hundred fold better than that at the supermarkets.

I will say shop around and look for the most appealing and well-pleasing fruits. If apples aren't good at one, check out the other stall. My first stall for check out would usually be #159  and #160 as their varieties are great and presentation is lovely. My man would pre-order green papaya from them during my confinement days too. But hmm, the uncle was really enterprising, I casually asked where his cherries were from and the next moment, he bagged off half a kg for me! Oh well, he wasn't pushy either, just really smart in that business sense. We both joked about it and he confessed he's got a skill in it. I proceeded to buy his Australian avocados at 3 for $5 and gotten some persimmons too. Js love avocado milkshake! Feel free too, to try his fruits before purchasing and hand pick your fruits. 

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With the stall owners

Lee Hoe Seafood - Crabs 
I'm confessing that I've got some good hands with crabs. Be it from handling live to cooking and eating, I've quite some talent in them. Except that, I don't know how to select a good crab. Tekka market is a good place to hunt for live crabs. A range from India to Sri Lanka crabs are available at this stall. Prices are seasonal and crabs with roes can be a tough find, as most will be sold to restaurants. Nonetheless, still some good crabs you can get from them. Be mindful that it's best to cook the crabs on the same day of buying.

I had really love to whip up buttermilk crab that day, but I felt that I was overbuying. There were too much food. Next trip!

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Crabs!

So yeap, this has more or less rounded my Tekka Market trip. There are also a couple of lamb and mutton stalls in the market if you are keen. If I've got a good kumpling soup recipe on hand, I would most likely patronize one.

Check out too, the curry powder, spices, extremely fresh coconut milk and banana leaves (good for BBQing fish) from the dried goods stalls. One other thing I love getting at the wet market would be fishballs. So much tastier than those found in supermarkets.

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Fresh handmade fishballs!

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Banana leaves

Finally, don't be in such a hurry to leave. Since there, have a go at the Briyani and Masala tea in the hawker! My Indian friend and I would recommend Allauddan's Briyani (#01-232). For Masala tea, we've hunted almost all the drinks stalls at the hawker, but yet to find one exceedingly good. The really good Masala Tea can be found at the restaurants along race course road (walking distance from the market).

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Yummilicious!

And I did justice to the food I bought that very day!

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Marinated!

Tips
There really isn't any skill to marketing in the wet market. Modern Mums rarely play the haggling games and so it's unlikely you'll get reap off. Don't you think sellers price hike you, if you are one usual bargaining buyer? Moreover, prices are very firm from their decades of selling experience.

If public Relations is your finest quality, go ahead with small chats. You might be in for better value buy instead of better discounts.

Other tips include dressing comfortably, take a wallet and bag that is not your most expensive as you wont get clean and dry notes in return. Put on anti slip shoes and bring a trolley basket along if you are doing groceries for a week. It can get heavy as you buy along.

Do note too, most stalls are closed on Monday in Tekka Market. Which means the freshest produce you can get is Tuesday onward.

There are just so many dishes you can whip from a trip to the wet market. Eat more home cooked meals, and eat less outdoor. Support a wet market today!

Address: 665 Buffalo Road, Tekka Centre, Singapore 210665.


This post is part of the ‘To Market, To Market’ Blog Train hosted by Life’s Tiny Miracles. To read about other local markets in Singapore, please click on the icon below.


http://www.lifestinymiracles.com/2015/08/to-market-to-market-ghim-moh-market/


Tomorrow, one of my favourite bloggers will be sharing her marketing experience. Winner of both Best Cooking Blog and Most Popular Cooking Blog in this year's Singapore Blog Awards, Diana from The Domestic Goddess Wannabe is mad about cooking and baking. A self-taught home cook and baker, Diana simplifies all her recipes and show the reader how to cook or bake something fabulous using step-by-step photos in her blog.



9 comments :

  1. Such a comprehensive guide to Tekka Market! And I am surprised they have so many stalls there selling almost gourmet groceries like the NZ Air Flown Beef. Thanks for hopping on this blog train. Your post will be so useful for many modern mums! :D

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    1. Thanks Angie for hosting this blog train! I enjoyed every bit of it, from visiting to writing. And yes, 'gourmet' is what you can sum Tekka Market as.

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  2. Thank you for the intro to Tekka Market, Karen! My neighbour on my floor frequents Tekka but I went once and was intimidated by the size of it. Plus, I carlessly scratched my car exiting the carpark and have had a phobia of the place ever since. The beef looks really good and is tempting me to try again!

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    1. Aww, the lanes and carpark can be rather narrow. Park at the HDB further up. Yes yes, gotta try the beef! It's fine food at a good price.

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  3. Tekka always sound so "local" and authentic. I know this market has been around a long time, thank you for taking us on a tour. That 's the good thing about this blog train!

    Wide variety of good, initially I thought your family members are big eaters (all portions in kg!)

    cheers, Andy
    (SengkangBabies)

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    1. Hey Andy, thanks so much for dropping by! Yes, Tekka market is really a great place to 'shop' in. Good food must be shared, we can always find eaters to eat along. Haha.

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  4. I would LOVE to live near Tekka Market. Lamb shanks!!! :D

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  5. I would LOVE to live near Tekka Market. Lamb shanks!!! :D

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    1. I am imagining the wonders you can make out of the gourmet food they sell!

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