An online seafood auction straight out of Geylang Serai wet market

Nurul Azliah
Senior Lifestyle Reporter
Singaporean Christina Tan conducts online seafood auctions on Facebook live from her parents’ stall at Geylang Serai market. (Photo: Nurul Azliah/Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore)

It’s safe to say that the Geylang Serai wet market has been the go-to place for many in the east who are looking for the freshest vegetables, seafood and meat.

However, travelling to the market can be nearly impossible for some working professionals, mothers undergoing confinement, or those with nobody to look after their kids while they’re out.

But 28-year-old Christina Tan hopes to provide a solution to that problem by conducting live seafood auctions straight from her parents’ fish stall at the Geylang Serai market every week, during the mornings of Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday, from 8am to 12pm. The bidding for each item lasts two minutes and customers can participate via the “firstonlineseafoodbidding” Facebook page.

Recently, Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore took a trip down to catch Tan – also known as Jecc – in action.

After passing several seafood stalls, you’ll find one situated closer to the multi-storey carpark and spot a bubbly lady standing before the day’s catch of jumbo prawns, squids and crabs, and looking intently at a smartphone perched on a stand in front of her.

Christina Tan, 28, has been helping her father sell fresh seafood since she was 18. (Photo: Nurul Azliah/Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore)

She was smiling and joking with her bidders while counting down or announcing prices during the bidding. The time was a little after 9am and Tan had already garnered 10 orders, which would be delivered to buyers the same day.

While busy Singaporeans can easily log on to online supermarket sites such as RedMart and honestbee to purchase fresh seafood, Tan said that the fish available on those sites are normally farm-raised and don’t taste as good as those fished from the sea – also known as wild-caught.

“I’m not sure how to describe it, but the [supermarket-bought] fish have a ‘muddy’ taste to them. You don’t get that taste from wild-caught fish,” said Tan during an interview, held a few days earlier. Her father, who has been selling fish for 14 years, gets his supply of wild-caught seafood from places such as Malaysia and Indonesia and collects them every morning at the Jurong and Senoko fishery ports.

A 3kg Wawa fish being auctioned at the Geylang Serai wet market. (Photo: Nurul Azliah/Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore)

“I tried the leather jacket last night, very nice,” Tan read aloud a positive comment during her live auction. She made sure that she interacted with her customers as the bidding went on.

Other options available when we were there included cod fish, a 3kg Wawa fish and a 2kg red grouper.

While the partial digitalisation of the business hasn’t had much impact on business revenue, her father, Tan Kay Soon, 57, is happy to see his daughter occupying her time in a positive way while moving on from an unfortunate incident that had happened recently.

Christina Tan’s father, Tan Kay Soon, has been running his business for 14 years. (Photo: Nurul Azliah/Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore)

Back in 2017, Christina was expecting her first child after three years of marriage, but suffered a miscarriage in September. So, for comfort and advice, she turned to a local mothers’ network on Facebook.

Little did she expect that the network would be the source of a business inspiration after discovering the gripes that many mothers had about not being able to leave the house. Two months later, she began her live auctions, and has gone from delivering the orders herself to outsourcing her delivery service to third-party deliverers.

She charges a delivery fee of between $10 and $15 depending on the location, and popular locations include Punggol, Jurong, Yishun and Ang Mo Kio. If you prefer your orders cleaned and vacuum packed, that’s available, too.

So, if you’re looking for some of the freshest seafood in town, you know where to go – online.

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