Singapore: Retail therapy

The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands

Singapore’s retail industry is multifaceted with international and local brands offering everything from luxury fashion to budget home products. The city is a shopper’s haven for anyone looking to invest in quality rather than quantity. Its myriad offerings can keep you going for hours, and even days. Apart from fashion and household items, make sure to browse through food stores to take home items only found in Singapore.

Below is a list of malls, department stores and food stores you can’t leave Singapore without visiting.

BENGAWAN SOLO

When Tjendri Anastasia came to Singapore in the late 1900s, she conjured a fan following with delicacies from her native land — Indonesia. Word of mouth about her cakes and kueh spread and orders spiralled from a few hundred each month to over a hundred each day today. Thus, Bengawan Solo was founded in 1979. Presently, this bakery chain has 38 outlets island-wide with three alone on Orchard Road. Amongst the popular items such as prune lapis (puffy layered cake), pandan chiffon cake and ondeh (pandan and coconut cake), pandan cheese rolls top the list of favourites for many. bengawansolo.com.sg

CHARLES & KEITH 

This Singaporean fashion brand was founded in 1996 by brothers Charles and Keith Wong who started the brand’s journey by designing their own shoes. As it continued to grow from one to multiple outlets around the island, it became the first footwear retailer in Singapore to introduce an e-commerce platform. In 2005, Charles & Keith introduced Pedro, footwear for men, and two years later the brothers launched accessories for men and women. Today, the brand has a wide collection of sandals, loafers, heels, sneakers, clutches, wallets, satchels, wristlets, sunglasses and jewellery to list a few. Such is the popularity of this brand that Game of Thrones actress Maisie Williams had carried a Charles & Keith Prism Minaudiere clutch bag to the Emmys in 2016. charleskeith.com

ION ORCHARD

This mall has won Best Luxury Shopping Centre and Best Shopping Centre at AsiaOne People’s Choice Award 2016. An architectural wonder too, its 66,000 sqm is distributed between four levels above ground and four levels below ground. It has over 300 retail, F&B and entertainment outlets, thus making it easy to spend a leisurely day here. Just before sunset, make your way to ION SKY, 218 metres above Orchard Road, for a breathtaking, 360-degree view of the city (free entry). ionorchard.com

Louis Vuitton Island Maison

NAIISE

We were most tickled by its collection of beanbags in shapes of sleeping grizzly bear cubs, rolled dollar notes, a cake slice, shark’s jaws and potato chips. The other furniture is more sober in nature, but smart nonetheless. It gets quirky again in the department for lightings with unusual fittings. It’s just as easy to lose yourself in the collection of postcards, prints, stamps and notepads available here. There is enough to please the gizmo geek too with cameras, speakers, phones, laptops and tablet accessories. If it’s food products you’re looking to take home with you, this is where you will find an overwhelming collection of nuts, oils, spreads, juices, teas, coffees, confectionery and more. Naiise even has healthy treats and unprocessed food options. naiise.com

TANGS

Tangs opened in 1932 and was the first department store on Orchard Road. One can easily credit Tangs for setting the foundation for retail on this street. The mall is known for its collection of quality local and international brands (fashion, accessories, beauty, homeware, technology and food). Understanding how the weight of shopping bags can slow you down, the store has a hands-free shopping option available to shoppers. On selecting your items, collect your tags from their counters. Before exiting, present your tags to the Customer Service Centre and make the payment for everything together. Other services include free local delivery, overseas shipment, and booking a product online for collection four hours later at the store. tangs.com

THE SHOPPES AT MARINA BAY SANDS 

It has everything from gift items to travel essentials for a business traveller on the move, as well as watches and jewellery. Some of the more popular international and local brands are also available here, most of them being flagship stores: Sacoor Brothers — first flagship boutique in Asia; Louis Vuitton — first Island Mansion in the world; Bulgari — largest boutique in southeast Asia; and Versace — largest duplex store in southeast Asia. For those who are struggling with time, the Click and Collect feature allows you to browse and purchase items online, and collect from the store when convenient. Before visiting, one may even book a personal shopper. The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands not only has boutiques, but also has direct access to SkyPark‘s Observation Deck as well as a plethora of rooftop restaurants from Japanese to modern Asian, French and Indian cuisines. marinabaysands.com

TWG Tea

The luxury tea boutique has a global footprint that originated in Singapore in 2008. It’s a poetic experience that pays tribute to everything related to tea, with a range of over 800 tea varieties from all over the world. Apart from loose, packaged, and regular and iced bags of leaves, its display includes tea flavoured chocolates, tea scented candles, teapots, teaspoons, tea trays, and Chinese tea tins to complete the experience. They also have specially curated teas that include teas for him and her, the fashionista, traveller, collector, and connoisseur. Don’t leave without the Singapore Breakfast Tea to remember the city by. The tea leaves range from S$70/`3,333 per 50gms to upwards of S$700/₹33,333 per 50gms. twgtea.com

Ya Kun Kaya Toast

This is a Singaporean chain of cafes known for toast products, soft-boiled eggs and coffee. The label is a household name for locals, who trust the brand to start their day with kaya (pandan-coconut jam). For those in the know, a visit to here is definitely on the itinerary. Don’t leave without some Ya Kun Coffee Powder and a Ya Kun Kaya Jar. It’s like taking back a little bit of Singapore with you. To know what it’s all about, a first-timer has the option to try the Ya Kun Kaya toast and coffee here, before making a purchase. yakun.com


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