Weekend markets are the place to be for foodies and others who pretend they’re on a diet.
After a hard game of badminton in the country club on Saturdays, I head off to the Salcedo Market in Makati, straight to the Chinese fresh lumpia stall, order a lumpiang hubad, turn around and cross to Kasmir, and order a spicy chicken shawarma. And just I start to sweat, I head off to my air-conditioned car and eat there.
Salcedo has become a weekend fixture that our restaurant, Casa Daza, has set up a stall there that sells our empanadang kaliskis in three variants: original (beef and pork), chicken, and chicken curry. We also offer our midnight pancit.
Malene Fernandez Lorayes and her group at Salcedo screen the applicants and sample their goods. That, to me, is a dream job. Every time I pass the market organizers’ table, I ask myself, I wonder what they’re tasting this time.
My new discoveries are Tita Ope’s ensaymada and tortita. These are soft, moist, buttery, cheesy buns that are so good and irresistible, you feel these babies swim straight to your love handles. So worth it, though.
I now also go to the Moroccan stall to have its Bastilla, a savory and sweet pie with chicken, cinnamon, spices and almonds. I likewise enjoy the shawarma.
I go to La Reyna for chicken chorizo de Bilbao—less guilt, same great taste.
I love the P100 bottle of buko juice right across my stall. It’s perfect on a warm day.
Right beside our stall are items for the health-conscious, such as sugar-free desserts. I also saw what I thought were out-of-place packs of chicharon with laman.
One stall offers nilagang mani, good-quality peanuts. I also go to a stall that sells large tinapang bangus from Pangasinan.
Right behind our stall is Everybody’s Café of Pampanga that has super morcon, kare-kare, longaniza, and the most unhealthy but delicious chicharon bulaklak.
I recently checked out the renovated Centris market on Edsa and Quezon Boulevard. Wow, what a change!
I remember that I used to bend to walk along the low-ceiling old stalls in this Sunday market. The new market is bigger and has more items to select from. I’m hoping we can get space to offer my empanada and other items.
On my first visit after a long time, I zeroed in on a Turkish stall with delicious shawarma and a crusty bread with cheese and spinach. Masarap.
I have to go back to scout the other stalls, but I’ll drive a car instead of a scooter.
Centris also sells puppies, plants, cell-phone accessories and what have you. What an interesting Sunday place to visit.
Japan Food Tour: Fukuoka/Hiroshima/Osaka on May 26-31; e-mail [email protected]