The moment my sister stepped into the store and took a quick glance, she commented that the things are similar to those found at Sia Huat, a shop at Temple Street. They are the suppliers of all kitchen and food equipment.
I asked my sis to check out SH's pricing to see if it's any different from Tott's which is rather pricey!
Anyway, I bought a packet of vanilla beans at Toque, a store next to Tott that sells baking and cooking ingredients. On display are two packets of the same brand vanilla beans. One packet has Iran printed on it and the other Papua New Guinea. The vanilla pods from Iran are about 3cm shorter than those from PNG. Both packets weigh 250g each and they are vacuum-packed. I asked the sales rep about the difference between the two packets with regards to the countries, he told me that they are of the same quality. Okay, but I wasn't convinced because (1)they are different in length and (2)they smelled different.
I could smell the sweet aroma of vanilla from the PNG packet despite been vacuum-packed in quite thick plastic whereas the Iran packet (similar packaging) yielded a faint aroma. So how could the two packets be of the same type.
I know that there are a couple of varieties of vanilla beans and some give off better aroma than others. So guess which pack I bought?
Obviously I bought the one from PNG. After 10% discount, I paid $49.50 for 250g of vanilla beans. Now what needs to be done is to buy a bottle of vodka to make vanilla essence and maybe a bottle of rum to get vanilla rum! I have no regrets buying the PNG pack because my kitchen smells of vanilla essence even though I have not opened the pack!