Tekka Centre

2.4 / 5 0 votes


Weather:

Time Required: 2-3 hours

Timings:

Wet Market (1st floor): Stalls open from about 6:30 AM onwards.
Food Centre (1st floor): Stalls open from morning to evening, however, each stall has different opening hours.
Shopping Centre (2nd floor): Shops open around 10:30 AM and shut early evening.
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Tekka Centre, Singapore Overview

Tekka Centre is a bustling hawker centre, located in Singapore's colourful neighbourhood of Little India. Housing the biggest 'wet' market of Singapore, this brightly painted building also stores a wide array of products from vibrant Indian clothing to biryani! Built in 1982, the Tekka Centre closed down for a significant renovation project in 2008. Once it reopened in 2009, the new revamped Tekka Centre became a cleaner and more-organised place to shop in. Colours are not the only sector where this market is rich in, but also in culture. People of several ethnic backgrounds visit and run this place- from the locals to Indians to the Malays. As a result, Tekka centre is a learning ground for the culture of Singapore.

With over 284 stalls in its wet market, the range of items available is excellent, and ingredients which are rarely found elsewhere, are found here in abundance, like Shark fins. However, Tekka Centre isn't the only feature of this multi-complex market. It is also home to a dry-market, a food court and a shopping area.

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Raw meats and fish, vegetables and fruits are found here in abundance. The place is heaven for fruit lovers, and all kinds of tropical fruits like pineapples, bananas, mangoes, jackfruits, rambutans, guavas, starfruit, longans, mangosteens, and durians are found here. Among fishes and other seafood, huge Sri Lanka crabs, prawns of all sizes, squid, tuna, salmon, mackerel, sea bass and a wide variety of crustaceans are available. The raw foods do not compromise on the quality, as evident by the number of satisfied customers.

Most of the vendors are very friendly, knowledgeable and happy to answer any questions about where the materials are from, or what kind of food preparation they can be used in. The price of the products here are relatively low, and most stalls have clear lists stating the prices. The other products found here are fresh tofu and soybean products, and dry goods such as organic rice, nuts and dry fruits, cooking oils and sauces are common as well, along with fresh flowers. It is a hub of Indian, Chinese, Thai, and Malaysian spices as well.

Located on the same floor as the wet market, the food centre opens at around 10:00 AM, and serves a wide variety of food, from lip-smacking Dosas, South India to Noddle Bowls from China. The stalls include the Chinese, Western, Indian and Muslim food, out of which the Indian stalls are the main highlight. The Chicken Biryani and Fish Biryani are highly recommended, being the hottest selling food item here. Do try the spicy Biryani from Yakader Nasi Biryani. Other must-try dishes include tandoori chicken, Rava Dosa, roti prata (round pancakes) and teh tarik (pulled tea in Malay) and Teochew dumplings and cakes.

A few of the top restaurants in this food court are- SR62 Deen's Food Stall, Appam Specialist Al-Madina Food Corner, Allauddin's Briyani Pte Ltd, Grandma mee slam, Tower toast, Anna dosai stall, Yakader muslim food, Pak kashmiri delights, Shan e Punjab, S.j. tandoori, Sky lab cooked food, Sri tiffin stall, and Kamala restaurant.

The dry market is located on the higher floor, and items starting from Bollywood music to a fashionable silk saree can be found here. Indian dresses like sarees, salwar, kurtas, Indian shoes are sold here (under 100 SGD), even ones with Bollywood-style fashion. Several jewellery shops selling glistening jewellery are also present. The quality is moderate, but the price is low. Other than readymade clothes, a wide array of tailors are also available. They can quickly alter or sew something customized for you. There are also shops with colourful handkerchiefs and hand embroidered clothes, which make great souvenirs. A couple of gifts and antique shops are also available here.

In Chinese Hokkien dialect, "Tek ka" means "foot of bamboo". It was called so because of the groves of bamboo growing in the area many years ago. The area has long been known by this Hokkien name. When the centre was built in 1981/82, it was christened using the Mandarin version of "Tek ka", which in Chinese-English phonetics (pinyin) is "Zhu jiao". However, the name Zhujiao Centre wasn't as easy to pronounce for many, and people struggled with the complex consonants. So, In 2000 the authorities relented and changed the centre's name to Tekka Centre.

The best time to visit would be in the mornings, at around 9:30 AM. Freshest food is generally available on Tuesday or Friday mornings.

  • Only cash is accepted. No cards!
  • Flip-flops may cause problems in the wet market.
  • Moderate bargaining is a necessity.
  • The food-court is self-service.
  • The smells from the butchers and fishmongers can be overwhelming.
  • Best avoided on weekends and public holidays because Little India gets crowded.
  • Those who are easily disgusted by toilets, avoid taking the one in Tekka Centre. You can use the one in the MRT Station, instead.

The closest MRT is Little India MRT (Mass Rapid transit). One can't miss it when they exit the station.

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