Pasir Panjang Wholesale Centre is located on the western part of Singapore. Well-known for its buzzing morning activities, the centre is the main distribution point for imported fruits and vegetables in Singapore. With a wide variety of exotic & fresh fruits and vegetables selling at wholesale prices, the centre is also a hot shopping spot for consumers and tourists.
Drawing its core crowd of wet market hawkers and restaurant owners, the wholesale centre is operational 24 hours a day, closing only on the first day of Chinese New Year. In the day, people arrive to buy and sell fruits in bulk. Night market vendors arrive to set up their stalls from 7pm onwards, but the busiest window is from 2am to 4am.
Here are a couple of images to give you a glimpse of what goes on inside the market area:-
A first time visitor to the market may feel intimidated by the rush of wholesaler and retailer arguing, uploading of vegetables to lorries or even the shouting among various interest groups. A lot of passer-bys / tourists (including me) are scared that the "small flies" like us will be scorned at. Well, if you are scared, nothing can be accomplished. Be daring! Go up to them and demand your purchase, as long as you can pay sooner or later you will get the freshest vegtable you will ever get baring those from the farms!
Fork lifts chug past me politely, bearing fresh produce. Stall-owners stand proudly behind their wares, like lecturers behind their lecterns. And buyers get solemnly down to the task of selecting and loading their greens onto nearby trucks with idling engines.
The displayed stock range from the common place (bestsellers are kai lan, kang kong, chye sim and chili), to the weird (a peony-like green bloom called fugui cai or carpet vegetable).
These are the new forms of packaging that goods get shipped around in. Sacks and baskets have been replaced by neatly stacked, printed cardboard boxes; delicate vegetables are individually wrapped in plastic, styroform sleeves or blister packs.
When we hear the words “farmers’ market”, we normally think of the Western kind, but the truth is that we here in Singapore have been shopping the “farmers’ market” way all this while. Our wet markets are the first real farmers’ market. Which makes us luckier than our European counterparts since we have them every single day and not just on Saturday! In fact, it is the places that only have supermarkets and no more local butcher, grocer or wet market that require a “farmers’ market”, because after going one full circle, people eventually yearn for what they grew up with!
I have to admit, it was totally fun going to the Pasir Panjang Wholesale market, though i wasn't there to buy any dry food or vegetables! The number of hours in the morning that i spent at this wholesale centre was totally worth it !! :-)