Mention Mustafa Centre to any Singaporean (and even some non-Singaporeans), and it’s likely you’ll get an impassioned response; ranging from “It’s so huge, I can get anything I need” to “It’s so confusing, I can’t find anything”, and everything in between.
Indeed, the retailer in the heart of Little India is massive (a total of 37,000m2 spread over two buildings and six levels), it’s open 24 hours in case you need a shower head at 2am (true story), and its cavernous interior can be overwhelmingly confusing.
So here’s where SilverKris steps in to share our guide to some of the useful, and sometimes surprising things you can buy in Mustafa, beyond the Indian spices and electronics. Also take note of our survival tips if you want to shop productively, and leave with your sanity intact.
That is, if you ever want to leave.
What to buy, do and eat in Mustafa
Ethnic wear of all kinds: We spied not only Indian ethnic wear for both adults and children, but modern takes on traditional Chinese outfits as well.
Jewellery, real and fake: Tis’ the place to really bling it on with armfuls of bangles and flashy faux gold earrings. But there’s also a whole department dedicated to gold, if you’re after the real thing.
Pre-loved designer bags: In case you’re in the mood for a branded bag or wallet, Mustafa’s got the counter for you.
Exotic pickles and sauces: We think these would make great gifts for the folks back home (best to find out if you’re allowed to check in foodstuff at your airport though).
Family-sized everything: From gargantuan candy trays to chickpeas to feed an army, in Mustafa, you go big or go home!
Sweets and snacks from around the world: In one shelf alone, we found potato chips from the UK, date-filled cookies from the UAE, Spanish torta imperial (nougat) and Malaysian durian cake. No worries that you’ll burn too many calories wandering around Mustafa!
Hard hats and rubber boots: In case you’re a contractor and need these at the eleventh hour.
Textiles and tailoring services: Shop for materials to make your sari dreams come true, and if you’re a gentleman, you can get measured up for a suit as well.
Kebabs ‘n Curries restaurant and rooftop garden: All done with shopping? Reward yourself with a delicious authentic Indian meal at the Kebabs ’n Curries restaurant, located on the rooftop of the new wing (follow the signs on the floor if you’re having trouble locating it). Besides vegetarian and non-vegetarian North and South Indian dishes, there’re also some interesting Indo-Chinese dishes (hot garlic prawns and Manchurian chicken sound yummy). Afterwards, take a breather at the beautiful rooftop garden, which feels like a world away from bustling Little India.
Mustafa Shopping Survival Tips
- Don’t carry large bags into the store – you may be asked to check them at the door.
- The same product or type of product, like toothpaste for example, may be found in a few different places within the buildings. So don’t tell your companions to “meet by the toothpaste shelf” – it’s safer to use entrances/exits (above) as meeting points, as they are all numbered.
- All purchases will be placed inside plastic bags which are secured with a plastic cable tie (this is to prevent shoplifting), so if you want to use any of your purchases immediately, let the cashier know before he or she packs it.
- No fear, the next cashier is near! There are cashier counters every 10 paces (or what feels like it) throughout the store, so feel free to carry on browsing and shopping even after you’ve paid once, or even twice.
- The new and old buildings are joined by a bridge, but only on Level 2. You might not even know you’re “crossing over”, though – there are goods stacked in every available space so the bridge area feels like any other part of the building.
145 Syed Alwi Rd; open 24 hours, 7 days a week
– TEXT BY OLIVIA LIM