To beat inflation, some Singaporeans cross the causeway into Johor Bahru (JB) to do grocery shopping. It has always perplexed me as to how much one can save from doing grocery shopping in JB. My initial thoughts were that going to supermarkets in shopping malls in JB did not yield much savings. However, some friends commented that there are far cheaper options in JB when it comes to groceries. Cue the research and the trip up to substantiate my research. My first port of call… NSK Trade City Pandan Johor Bahru.
For the uninitiated, NSK stands for New Seng Kee. It started out as a family business with a small kiosk selling groceries and household goods in the 1980s. Almost 4 decades on, it has developed into a chain of hypermarts across Malaysia. NSK Trade City Pandan Johor Bahru Hypermart is one of such outlets and it is located in JB.
This is the entrance of NSK Trade City from the car park. The parking is free and when I visited on a weekday afternoon, there were ample parking lots in the sheltered parking area.
This is the hypermart. It is on the second level of the building. There is no sign that states that this is the hypermart. The entrance of the hypermart leads to the fresh market section.
The selection here is huge! Another point to note is that not only is there a wide assortment of options, the place is very clean. The building may be very old but if you do not mind a place with little to no frills, then this is a very viable option. Everything is very well-kept, the ground is dry and clean, and the items on the shelves are very presentable. In fact, I saw a staff repackaging grapes. He was removing damaged grapes from the prepacked boxes and replacing them with undamaged ones. He was unloading these prepacked boxes out from boxed cartons.
I am genuinely impressed by the variety of fruits that were on offer. There were 12 varieties of apples alone. I lost count of the number of varieties of oranges that were on offer.
8 oranges cost RM$10. That is very affordable.
Drinks anyone? If you are going to hold a large party, here is a possible option for you to stock up on drinks. Prices range from about RM$20+ for a carton of 24 cans.
This looks cheaper than what the supermarkets in Singapore sell them for.
The shelves look like what you would see at a typical FairPrice or Sheng Song. However, the prices do look cheaper when converting them back to Singapore Dollars.
However, for some items like Vitagen, the savings were not as significant. With discounts, prices in Singapore are only slightly more expensive than Vitagen in Malaysia.
Somehow stacking rice on shelves gives the impression that it is much cheaper than usual. For this, I am not sure whether it is indeed cheaper. All I can say is that the variety at this hypermart is truly off the charts in quite a number of items.
They stock a wide variety of body wash and shampoo options.
From what I observed, I believe that they have almost all the available brands which most Singapore supermarkets carry.
It is the same story with the shampoo options. I am genuinely unsure whether this is cheaper than what supermarkets in Singapore charge. My colleague Wilber is going to do a price comparison article which lists the prices of various items being sold in Singapore and Johor Bahru so look out for that article!
There were many options when it came to toothbrushes and toothpaste. Choice is never a good thing for a fickle man. Hence Kevin took a long time to decide on a single toothbrush…
I think this should be similarly priced when compared to Singapore prices.
Here are the pasta and pasta sauces section. Generally well stocked and neatly displayed.
The defacto drink of Singaporeans and Malaysians…
I have no idea why we have an obsession with Milo.
Julie’s biscuits are another crowd-pleaser. I got some for my office.
This is something which a lot of Singaporeans purchase in JB. Diapers! And there were a lot of options. I believe Petpet, Huggies and Drypers are the more popular brands.
If things remain the same, this should be cheaper. I used to buy diapers whenever I was in JB for my daughter. I did the comparison many years ago and prices in JB were cheaper. Enough to warrant me buying multiple packs. Once again, we wait for Wilber’s price comparison article.
Without going into detailed price comparisons, from looking at the fruits and vegetable sections alone, the prices at NSK Trade City Pandan Johor Bahru Hypermart do seem cheaper. When it comes to fruits, it is a lot cheaper. The fruits are fresh and the condition of the fruits in most cases is better than what I see from supermarkets in Singapore. The overall outlook of this hypermart is old but this place is very well kept, clean and organised.
NSK Trade City Pandan Johor Bahru Hypermart
Address: Jalan Waja 9, Kawasan Perindustrian Pandan, 81100 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
Opening hours: Monday to Sunday, 7 am to 11 pm