Discover Hidden Gems At These Old-school Shopping Centres in Singapore

Only true blue Singaporeans will know about the treasures to uncover at these malls.

By Diana Najm        25 August 2022

Beyond trendy, popular malls like Ion Orchard and Funan, there are some places that have stood the test of time. They may look unassuming and rundown from the outside, but step inside and there’s a whole other world for you to discover – with shops that are hidden gems for loot such as electronics, sports equipment, and even thrift stores. 

For rare sneakers – Queensway Shopping Centre

Most Singaporeans know Queensway Shopping Centre to be the go-to place for sports clothing and accessories, whether you play tennis on the weekends or you are picking up boxing as a sport. There are tried-and-tested stores such as Sports Finesse for squash rackets and accessories, or Sports World for everything else. Not to mention the many alteration shops if you need some quick fixes done to your clothes within the hour. 

What some sneakerheads may not know, though, is that you can find some pretty cool buys at outlet stores like Converse and shops like Limited Edt for rare shoe collaborations. 

Queensway Shopping Mall is also now home to a new breed of vintage stores set up by Gen Zs. Don’t worry, we know shopping for guys can be difficult enough, let alone thrift shopping. At honsieponsie, you can find everything from vintage Nike sweaters to Carhartt pocket tees. 

1 Queensway, Singapore 149053

Got your sports gear? Now you’re ready for some basketball or football at a SAFRA sport facility. SAFRA Mount Faber is just minutes away from Queensway Shopping Centre.

For wholesale fashion – City Plaza

City Plaza may look rundown from the outside, but it is a treasure trove for affordable clothes. In fact, many online businesses purchase from wholesale fashion stores here. The best part is that it’s located just a 10-minute walk from Paya Lebar MRT station, so it’s really accessible. 

With five whole floors of shopping, there’s something for every type of shopper here – whether it’s fashion items, salons offering various hair extensions, or electronics. Check out Kiyo or De Zone Collection for clothes at discounted prices. 

But before you leave, don’t forget the ultimate holy grail of City Plaza: Arnold’s Fried Chicken. Arguably one of the best fried chicken places in town, order up the spring chicken meal with a side of fried buns and mashed potato. 

810 Geylang Rd, Singapore 409286

For electronic bargains – Sim Lim Square 

Tech gadgets can get expensive – but many Singaporeans know one not-so-secret place where you can get good lobangs for cheaper than retail price. Enter Sim Lim Square, a tech haven for everything from accessories such as speakers to whole monitor setups for both pro gamers and the casual WFH-er. 

Check out a range of monitors at Infinity Computer or head to DynoCore, where you can find literally everything from DIY components to gaming desktops at affordable prices. You can even try your hand at bargaining – who knows, you might get to build your desktop set up for cheap. 

Sim Lim Square is also the go-to place if you need electronics such as your iPhones or Macbooks repaired at a lower price than if you were to go directly to the Apple store – but be aware that doing so voids the warranty. Some retailers here were also known for unsavoury business practices over the years, although this problem has been largely resolved and price lists are now available online.

1 Rochor Canal Rd, Singapore 188504

If you still prefer getting your gadgets at your usual mall, be sure to use promos like this NS55 deal from Best Denki to get an edge.

Shopping for your tech online? Don’t miss these promos for SAFRA members from Philips Singapore and AOC Monitors.

For food and fashion – Far East Plaza

90s kids will know that Far East Plaza was the coolest hangout spot back in the day. After all, it is where the first few blog shops of that time set up shop. Today, Far East Plaza is filled with a new breed of fashion outlets, tattoo parlours, tailoring services, and plenty of food options. 

Those looking to get fresh new ink from tattoo artists who know their stuff should head to Rise Above Tattoo & Piercing and Primitive Art Piercing & Tattoo. They even do body modifications such as ear and nose piercings if you want something less permanent. 

When at Far East Plaza, don’t forget to stop for food too. Level 5 has all the local treasures, with stalls such as Hainanese Delicacy with its famous chicken rice, and New Station Snack Bar, an old-school zi char place which serves up delicious salted egg pork ribs. Caffeine aficionados can then head down to the basement to find The Community Coffee, a “hidden” secret cafe with specialty beans sourced from around the globe. 

14 Scotts Rd, Singapore 228213

For Burmese goods – Peninsula Plaza 

Dubbed “Little Myanmar,” Peninsula Plaza is a haven for Burmese food and shopping. It’s not to be confused with neighbouring Peninsula Shopping Centre, of which most of us probably have fond memories of shopping for band t-shirts, skinny jeans, musical instruments, and cameras back in the day.

Over at Peninsula Plaza, shops selling traditional clothes such as the longyi coexist alongside authentic Burmese restaurants such as Mandalay Style and Inle Myanmar Restaurant. 

But another secret here that not many people know is that it’s one of the best spots to exchange foreign currency, with much lower rates than other places in Singapore.

111 North Bridge Rd, Singapore 179098

For Filipino snacks – Lucky Plaza

Finally, a round-up of shopping gems in Singapore isn’t complete without mention of Lucky Plaza. This shopping mall is a second home to the Filipino community in Singapore with travel agencies, Filipino minimarts, and a whole top floor filled with vintage stores. 

Stock up on groceries and snacks you wouldn’t be able to find elsewhere in Singapore at Kate’s Mart, and get your fill of Filipino branded snacks and crackers such as Ni Mang Juan and Marty’s Crackling. You can also pop by the many gift stores there for souvenirs so you can pretend you’ve been travelling through the Philippines. 

Beyond snacks, Jollibee, and gift stores, Lucky Plaza is the go-to spot for thrift veterans. Hidden on level 6 of the mall are Lucky Plaza Bazaar and Thrifting SG, where both ladies and gents can find thrifted clothes that are almost as good as new. Prices start from $4. 

Orchard Rd, Lucky Plaza, Singapore 238863

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Photos: SPH Media Trust