5 smarter ways to shop at a local supermarket: Learn it from cooking classes for tourists in Singapore


What principle guides your grocery shopping decision? Is it healthy eating? Is it stretching the family’s budget, especially as inflation eats away at the dollar in our pockets? Or is it simply finding something that sparks joy to add to your shopping cart?

One of the most important lessons you could learn from Palate Sensations Culinary School begins even before you fire up the stove. At our tourist class, which features cooking classes for tourists in Singapore, we bring you on a local market tour, where our chef will teach you how to make smart decisions on the produce to choose, what kind, at what quantity, and from which stall. In short, we will teach you how to go about your local market purchase the way your grandmothers did (and they are the best at this job!)


Smart tip #1: Prepare a meal plan.


Why do you need a meal plan? Imagine yourself being on a treasure hunt. You won’t know where to find the treasure if you don’t have a map, right? A meal plan maps out what you would buy in the local market. For instance, if you’re going for French bourguignon for Monday’s dinner, then you know that you’ll need to buy carrots, potatoes, and bell peppers from the vegetable stall. But it doesn’t end there. In these times when our penny-pinching abilities are put to test, you can also think about making another dish with the same ingredients. In this case, you can make pork rib soup for Thursday night and toss in the extra potatoes and carrots you bought for your bourguignon. Our cooking classes for tourists in Singapore teach you that doing it this way will also save you time because you buy everything that you need for the week at one go.


Smart tip #2: Choose the size of the produce purposefully.


You probably didn’t imagine a tourist class teaching you this level of detail, but yes, our chef-guided local market tour will teach you hacks that make you a better cook. For example, buy the smaller size of the vegetable if you are including this in soups. The smaller sweet potato, carrot, or celery stalk tends to be more tender and cooks faster, which is best for making soups. Bigger versions of these vegetables may be best for frying or boiling whole, and choosing the size of the vegetable purposefully not only will result in better tasting and better-looking dishes, they will also save you precious preparation time.


Smart tip #3: When buying fish, gently press on the skin to determine freshness.


Fish reveal their freshness in three ways: The colour of their gills, the firmness of their skin or flesh, and their smell. Inspect the gills – red or pinkish ones tell you that the fish is fresh. Wrap your finger in a glove or plastic bag and gently press on the skin of the fish. When it bounces back to its original form, then you know that the flesh is firm, a sign that the fish is still fresh. Of course, if the fish starts to stink, then that is a sure sign that it has been sitting on the tray for some time now, and that it’s best not to buy it.


Smart tip #4: Buy different produce from the same stall as much as possible.


Palate Sensations chef will teach participants of cooking classes for tourists in Singapore that one of the advantages of buying a variety of produce from the same stall is that you get better bargaining power, compared to buying only one item. It also saves you the time from having to hop from one stall to the next. Just remember to not compromise on the quality of your purchase. For greens, choose ones that have firm stems. For fruits, bright coloured ones usually taste sweeter, especially in the case of apples and oranges (although oranges are always tricky).


Smart tip #5: Learn the subtle art of haggling.


Local supermarkets are places to hone your negotiation skills. Unlike grocery shops where the price of commodities are already fixed, you can try to talk yourself into buying from a local market at the price you like. Be friendly, say it with a smile, prepare for rejection, and celebrate your small wins with a thank you!