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Retail Therapy in the Lion City What to Buy in Singapore

Retail Therapy in the Lion City: What to Buy in Singapore

About to head home and wondering what to buy in Singapore for your friends and family? Fret not. We’ve got just the guide for you. 

If you want to take back something that truly represents “made in Singapore,” rather than typical souvenirs like postcards or fridge magnets, we’ve compiled a list of the most enticing and unique gifts that will surely make you want to grab a few extras.


Laksa Paste 

Laksa is a quintessential noodle dish that every tourist must try when they first visit a hawker centre or restaurant in Singapore. Even better, you can try to replicate the creamy, spicy, and flavourful broth at home thanks to laksa pastes you can buy in stores! 

You can find many versions of laksa on the island, but Katong laksa may be the most uniquely Singaporean of them all. 

Many supermarkets around Singapore sell different kinds of laksa paste flavours, but if you manage to get your hands on Katong laksa paste, then we highly recommend stocking up with that! 

Where to Shop: 328 Katong Laksa, 51 E Coast Rd, Singapore 428770Janggut Laksa, 133 New Bridge Rd, B1-49A Chinatown Point, Singapore 059413
Average Price: $6 to $12 per jar 


Bakkwa, also known as “barbecued meat” or “Chinese jerky,” is a popular snack in Singapore. It’s typically prepared by marinating and grilling meat, often pork, which is then dried and thinly sliced. 

Bakkwa is famous for its sweet and savoury flavours and its chewy texture. It also comes in spicy, garlic, and black pepper flavours. 

It’s frequently exchanged as a gift and used as an offering during social visits, symbolising good luck and prosperity.

While traditionally associated with festive occasions like Chinese New Year, bakwa has now become a year-round snack enjoyed by both locals and visitors. 

Where to Shop: Bee Cheng Hiang, multiple locations islandwideLim Chee Guan, 1359 Serangoon Rd, Singapore 328241
Average Price: $55 to $60 per kilogramme

Kaya (Coconut Jam Spread)

The traditional breakfast in Singapore typically includes a combination of kaya toast and soft-boiled eggs. This morning meal is widely enjoyed by locals who gather at kopitiams (Singaporean cafes) for an early morning meetup or midday snack. 

Kaya, a jam prepared from coconut milk, eggs, sugar, and pandan leaves, serves as the highlight. Its exquisite flavour makes it a favoured topping for various desserts and cakes. 

You can find kaya jam in almost every supermarket in Singapore, but we highly recommend trying it at a kopitiam first before buying yourself a jar (or more!).

Where to Shop: Ya Kun Kaya Toast, 18 China St, #01-01, Singapore 049560Toast Box, 176 Orchard Rd, #B1-08 The Centrepoint, Singapore 238843
Average Price: $5 to $11 per jar

Salted Egg Chips or Fish Skin

Singaporeans love salted eggs, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that salted egg-flavoured snacks are a must-buy for tourists bringing home a piece of Singapore. 

Salted egg chips or fish skin is probably the most popular Singaporean snack, and the blend of flavours is quite addictive!

It’s not just fish skin and chips that are best paired with salted egg though. Many restaurants in Singapore serve salted egg-flavoured dishes, so you can try the various ways this Singaporean flavour is celebrated on the island. 

Where to Shop: IRVINS, 277 Orchard Road Orchard Gateway #L1-K3, Singapore 238858Crusty’s Singapore, 15 Senoko Dr, #07-10, Singapore 758202
Average Price: $9 to $18 per bag 

Curry Puffs

Resembling the Cornish pasty in appearance, a curry puff is a petite pastry containing a savoury filling of chicken, curried potatoes, egg, aromatic herbs, and spices, making it a delightful choice for a midday snack.

In Singapore, curry puffs are a testament to the island’s diverse culinary tapestry. The snack features little bits of the epok epok (flaky stuffed pastry) of the Malays, the karipap (deep-fried puffs) of the Indians, and the pastry puffs of the Chinese. 

Aside from the classic egg and potato fillings, other shops have expanded their flavours to chilli crab, durian, and yam. 

Where to Shop: Tanglin Crispy Curry Puff Original, BLK 531A Upper Cross St, #02-36 Hong Lim Market & Food Centre, Singapore 051531Soon Soon Huat Curry Puff, 220 E Coast Rd, Singapore 428917
Average Price: $1 to $2.50 per curry puff


Even though coffee is more popular in Singapore, tea is still largely consumed among locals, especially in the Chinese community. Tea ceremonies are still held, especially during special occasions or meetings. 

Singapore has crafted its version of British afternoon tea, commonly known as high tea. People come together at upscale hotels to savour tea accompanied by an assortment of both sweet and savoury treats.

Some popular brews include teh tarik (pulled black tea with milk), teh halia (a type of ginger tea), and teh-O (plain tea without milk).

Where to Shop: TWG Tea, 2 Bayfront Avenue B1-122/125 The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore 018972Wang San Yang Tea Merchant, 531 Upper Cross St, #01-61, Singapore 050531
Average Price: $1.50 per cup or $14 to $25 per box of 20 to 30 tea packets

Sambal Belacan 

It’s no secret that Singaporeans love spicy food, and if you’re trying to replicate many local spicy dishes at home, consider buying packets of sambal belacan. Belacan means shrimp paste in Malay and is a popular condiment in Singapore. 

This pungent, garlic-infused, and seafood-based sauce also serves as an excellent condiment. Pair it with rice, congee, nasi lemak (coconut rice), or nasi goreng (fried rice) for an extra kick of heat and flavour.

One of the most enjoyable ways to incorporate sambal belacan is in a vegetable stir-fry. In Singapore, water spinach with sambal belacan is particularly beloved and widely enjoyed.

Where to Shop: 
• Taho Blachan Chilli, supermarkets islandwide
• Singalong Sambal Belacan, supermarkets islandwide
Average Price: $2.50 to $4 per jar

Tanglin Gin

If you love the party scene in Singapore, take a piece of the nightlife with you by getting a bottle of Tanglin Gin. 

Crafted by the local distillery Tanglin Gin, this acclaimed spirit combines a fusion of tastes from traditional Asian elements, including kaffir lime leaves, ginger, dried chilli seeds, mandarin peel, and cassia. 

You can also explore Orchid Gin, a first of its kind in Singapore, featuring unique flavours derived from amchoor (green mango powder), Java pepper, and vanilla.

Where to Shop: Tanglin Gin Distillery, 26A Dempsey Rd, Singapore 247692
Average Price: $118 to $250 per bottle

Singapore Sling Mixer

Another boozy souvenir you can bring home is a Singapore Sling mixer. The Singapore Sling is famous as Singapore’s official drink, but you don’t have to wait for your next trip to the Long Bar at Raffles Hotel just to try it again. 

The original Singapore Sling recipe included ingredients like gin, cherry brandy, orange juice, lime juice, and pineapple juice. However, today, there are numerous versions of this renowned cocktail to explore.

Bottled renditions of the Singapore Sling serve as wonderful presents for your friends and family. Many stores and bars sell their own mixers, so choose which ones you like best and make your own cocktails at home!

Where to Shop: Raffles Hotel, 03-26 North Bridge Rd, Singapore 189768True Heritage Brew, 8B Admiralty St, #04-13, Singapore 757440
Average Price: Starts at $43 

Pandan Cake

Have you ever come across locals enjoying a vibrant green delicacy? That’s none other than Singapore’s beloved classic, the pandan cake! They’re known for their moist texture, and a mere whiff of this cake can transport you back to Singaporean cafes.

These fragrant pandan cakes, often dubbed the Southeast Asian counterpart to the traditional chiffon cake, are the result of a meticulous infusion of pandan extract and luscious coconut milk. 

Recognised by CNN as the quintessential cake of Singapore, this delectable treat is an essential purchase when exploring the island. Numerous local bakeries offer these sweet confections throughout the day, and you can even buy them in bulk!

Where to Shop: Bengawan Solo, 30 Sembawang Dr, B1-15/16 Sun Plaza, Singapore 757713Pure Pandan, 264 South Bridge Rd, Singapore 058813
Average Price: Starts at $2.20 per slice and $13 for a whole cake  


Merlion Merchandise

Singapore’s renowned mascot, the Merlion-fish hybrid, stands as an iconic symbol of the nation and a significant draw for tourists. It’s only natural that the merlion is featured in a wide range of souvenirs, spanning from keychains and magnets to bottle openers. 

These merlion-inspired keepsakes can be found all over the place. Nevertheless, the most ideal location to acquire one remains in Chinatown, though you can also explore Peninsula Plaza or Mustafa Centre if you’re feeling lucky. 

With the diverse array of merlion-themed souvenirs available throughout Singapore, there’s undoubtedly one that will match your preferences!

Where to Shop: Peninsula Plaza, 111 North Bridge Rd, Singapore 179098Mustafa Centre, 145 Syed Alwi Rd, Mustafa Centre, Singapore 207704
Average Price: $3 to $25 per item, depending on size and type of merchandise


In Singapore, fragrances and perfumes hold distinct cultural significance, with various cultures attributing healing properties to natural oils. Furthermore, specific perfumes are crafted for particular occasions. 

The skilful blending of perfume oils is an ancient art passed down through generations within each culture. These unique scents are readily available in Singapore, often at affordable prices that vary depending on the chosen fragrance type.

A few popular perfume scents are inspired by orchids, the national flower of Singapore, and jasmine. Some stores even allow you to create your own signature scent with the expert guidance of local perfumers! 

Where to Shop: Singapore Memories, 36 Siloso Beach Walk, unit 01-05, Singapore 099007Jamal Kazura Aromatics, 21 Bussorah St, Singapore 199445
Average Price: $25 to $55 per bottle

Pressed Pennies

When returning from Singapore and looking for gifts or souvenirs, consider pressed pennies. These elongated coins feature engraved designs and are available at tourist attractions through penny-flattening machines.

Each machine produces around three to four different designs, usually featuring Singaporean landmarks. All you have to do is select the design you want, insert $2 in the money slot, and an elongated copper coin will drop. 

You can get as many pressed pennies as you want, so long as you have spare change with you. This is a cost-effective way to bring home some souvenirs if you need to let go of the extra money you have left during your travels! 

Where to Shop: Universal Studios Singapore, 8 Sentosa Gateway, Singapore 098269Gardens by the Bay Gift Shop, 18 Marina S Dr, Singapore
Average Price: $2

Gold Orchid Jewellery 

You’ll have to shell out a bit more cash for this type of souvenir in Singapore. The gold orchid pieces of jewellery you can find at RISIS are among the most popular Singaporean gifts you can find on the island––and they’re made with real orchids! 

RISIS plates real orchids with 24-karat gold, and the result is a shiny and golden piece of Singapore that you can wear as a necklace, bracelet, or ring. 

If you’re planning to gift this uniquely Singaporean souvenir to your workmates, consider getting a gold-plated orchid car holder, pen holder, or picture frame. 

Where to Shop: RISIS, 2 Orchard Turn, #B1-13 ION Orchard, S238801
Average Price: $150 to $400 

Peranakan Beadwork 

The demand for materials used in this beadwork is significant across the diverse ethnic cultures of Singapore, including the Peranakans, who are renowned for their beadwork and their dedication to preserving their cultural heritage in the country. 

Thanks to their efforts, traditional beadwork items and the materials needed to create them are accessible at select locations like Rumah Bebe, which not only offers custom-made Peranakan items but also provides beading classes.

A few popular designs are made into earrings, necklaces, room ornaments, and even brooches you can attach to clothing. Some even replicate museum artefacts as an ode to the Peranakan influence on art and culture in Singapore.

Where to Shop: Rumah Bebe, 113 E Coast Rd, Singapore 428803
Average Price: Prices are only available via consultation with the curator at Rumah Bebe 

Scarves and Pashminas 

The high humidity in Singapore can be tough to beat, but that shouldn’t stop you from sporting a brightly coloured scarf or pashmina to complete your travel outfit! 

Scarves or pashminas in Singapore are actually pretty useful accessories that protect you from the rays of the sun or keep you warm while strolling around indoor attractions. 

Many stores sell them in bright colours and designs, often depicting scenes and attractions in Singapore. They’re also pretty accessible around the island, as you can get them at gift shops inside attractions or at local shops along Haji Lane and Orchard. 

Where to Shop: Binary Style, Middle Road, 111, #03-07, Singapore 188969 Shop At Forest, 290 Orchard Rd, #03-48 Paragon Shopping Centre, Singapore 238859 
Average Price: $180 to $250 

Singapore Pins 

If you’re looking for small yet unique souvenirs for your friends back home, consider getting pins designed with local references and quirky allusions like ice gem or chilli crab pins. 

These Singapore-themed knick knacks are a fun souvenir choice that won’t take up too much space in your luggage. You can use them to decorate your clothes, bags, and even shoelaces! 

Where to Shop: The Little Drom Store
Average Price: $12 to $16 

Peranakan Nyonya Sarong Kebaya

Remember those iconic uniforms of Singapore Airlines flight attendants? If you like them so much, you can own your very own kebaya as a souvenir from the Lion City!

Plus, owning your own custom kebaya is one way you can honour the culture of Singapore. We highly recommend getting the Peranakan kebaya for starters, as it is known for its incorporation of Chinese silk and hand-beaded footwear. 

This unique adaptation of the kebaya eloquently reflects the fusion of Chinese and Malay heritage at the core of the Peranakan culture. It’s best to get a kebaya from the many renowned local boutiques along Arab Street and the East Coast!

Where to Shop: Little Nyonya Batik, 1 Coleman Street The Adelphi #02-01, Singapore 179803Toko Aljunied, 91 Arab St, Singapore 199787
Average Price: Starts at $60 

An English to Singlish book 

If you aim to acquire some key Singlish phrases to blend in like a local, this Singapore souvenir is a must-have! For those unfamiliar, Singlish is a colloquial language that heavily intertwines elements from Malay-Chinese languages with English.

The Singlish VS English books by Independent Market comprise over 200 vibrant pages that juxtapose numerous Singlish expressions with their English counterparts. They also sell other Singlish guides and how-to books dedicated to Singaporean communication.

With any of these books in two, we are confident that you’ll quickly sound like an authentic Singaporean on your next trip to the Lion City! 

Where to Shop: Independent Market, 211 Holland Avenue, Holland Rd, #03-01 Shopping Centre, Singapore 278967
Average Price: Starts at $15 

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