Whether you’re shopping for a designer watch, durian cookies, football cleats or the latest smartphone you can find it in Singapore – and all under one roof at the 24-hour shopping mecca of Mustafa Centre.
Mustafa Centre is more than just a department store: it’s one of Little India’s biggest attractions. Its four levels are stacked to the ceiling with every kind of product imaginable (the official website estimates they stock 75,000 different items) plus it has its own restaurant, travel agency, currency exchange, and post office. If you can’t find it at Mustafa Centre, it may not exist.
Narrow aisles, big crowds, and endless selection make Mustafa Centre a very fun — or very frustrating — place to shop. Avoid weekends when it's been fined by the government for exceeding maximum capacity.
Mustafa Centre started out in 1971 as a garment store, and still sells traditional Indian clothing like saris and kurtas plus beautiful textiles by the metre.
Of course, they've since expanded into Western clothing and you'll find the shelves stacked with sportswear, jeans, shoes, T-shirts, bathing suits, and jackets for men, women and children.
You'll still need to hit up Orchard Road for the latest Louis Vuitton, but Mustafa's stock of handbags should have something to match any outfit. Around the accessories department you'll also find luggage, costume jewellery, hair accessories, and cosmetics (international brands and ones imported from India).
Mustafa's prices on electronics are generally better than Sim Lim Square and you won't have to bargain. You can also pick up a new camera, mobile phone, stereo, TV, computer, rice cooker, fan, or anything else with a power cord.
Don't miss the souvenir section for the lowest prices on tacky “Singapore is a Fine City” T-shirts, fridge magnets, shot glasses, tropical fruit-flavoured cookies, and Merlion statuettes.
The third floor of Mustafa Centre contains Singapore's largest Indian specialty supermarket with exotic spices, bottled chutneys, dozens of varieties of rice, traditional sweets, and microwaveable Indian vegetarian meals.
Mustafa also sells fresh fruit and veggies, frozen meat, canned goods, ingredients for Middle Eastern cooking, and a huge selection of imported chocolates and candies. If you're hungry now, there's a sidewalk cafe and a rooftop restaurant called Kebabs ‘N Curries.
For true one-stop-shopping, Mustafa Centre has its own travel agency. If you need a tourist visa to India or a cheap flight to Bangalore, they can help you out. Mustafa’s currency exchange counters (located on the ground level and in the basement) deal in all major world currencies and their rates are hard to beat.
By Tanya Procyshyn
Last updated on 15th November, 2014.