Whenever we peruse a recipe of something we're considering making, we'll often find 1-2 ingredients that we've not yet seen in Singapore or are difficult to find. The day this picture was taken we were unsuccessful in trying to find tortillas. But then there are other ingredients that have variety you would not believe! There are entire isles in grocery stores here dedicated to countless varieties of soy sauce (really, I'm not kidding!)... and as you can see--there are a gazillion varieties of RICE! This pic doesn't even show yet another entire section behind those shown devoted completely to the world's most popular grain.
If you were to ask me as a child growing-up in rural Pennsylvania if there was more than one variety of rice, I would have responded with "sure--there are three: there is He-Man rice, chicken-flavored almond rice, and then there's plain rice that you eat with porcupine meatballs." It was not until my oldest sister married this guy that liked something called "rice pilaf" that I was introduced to an entirely new kind of rice. The next variety entered my life when I married a Hawaiian and was introduced to Calrose Short-Grain rice (and was also taught you need to wash rice!). From there I met a few more varieties along the way of life until now moving to Singapore and being completely blown away--seeing I'm pretty sure at least 10,000 of the 40,000 varieties that exist (according to Wikipedia) on my local shelves. Even the 7-11s here have 4-5 varieties.
Singapore has no natural resources. No oil, no amber waves of grain, not even harvestable lumber. Because of this everything is imported and everything is expensive! Even a sizable portion of the services are imported (e.g. electricity). And so we'll easily pay $18/gallon for milk or $23/lb for hamburger and you may need to sell an organ on the black market in China to buy a car or house--BUT you can get 40,000 varieties of rice for a nice price.