Delivered right at your doorstep, as you like it, is not how seafood is bought. But it’s what Marvin Jason Tan of Marvs Boqueria wants to keep his grandmom Maria Castro’s seafood stall in Arranque Market relevant in the digital age.
The small stall that his Lola Maria set up in 1960 initially sold shrimps and expanded to other seafood.
Marvin’s mother Mira took over the stall and, in 2007, Marvin himself got interested in the business.
Moving forward, he toyed with the idea of selling seafood online. Many were skeptical, his wife Joni included. Seafood is about “seeing the food” to guarantee its freshness.
But there was no stopping Marvin. He felt it was the right time to open an online fresh seafood delivery business.
In a matter of hours, he created the logo. He called the store Marvs Boqueria—after his nickname and the famous La Boqueria market in Barcelona, Spain.
Looking at his Instagram page, I was intrigued and went on to place an order for prawns.
I also took a fancy to the female crabs oozing with loads of red-orange aligue—at least that’s what they looked like on his Instagram page.
I was very happy with the deliveries. But what impressed me most was how Marv takes customer care seriously.
Not only does he deliver quality seafood with no minimum orders required, but he prepares them according to the clients’ specifications.
He even allows cancellations should the products fail to meet customer’s standards.
With much excitement he enumerated the conveniences that Marv’s Boqueria provides:
“We clean, cut and prepare the seafood to your desired specifications at literally no added cost.
“We fillet fish, de-vein shrimps, name it …
“If you want the fish individually wrapped or packed in half-kilo bags; or your prawns ready for dipping into batter for tempura, we’d be more than happy to do it.
“If you want your order delivered in the early morning or in your office at night just before dinner—we can make that work for you … It will be done!”
Plus, the delivery is guaranteed fresh and properly handled, “all the time.”
Most of Marvs Boqueria’s offerings are caught in the open sea by partner fishermen the night before or in the early morning.
The tilapia and bangus, for instance, are sourced only from reputable suppliers. Its crabs are Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources-approved and of export-grade quality. Its wild-caught tiger prawns can be as long as 12 inches.
Here are Marv’s cooking suggestions for some of the seafood he offers. This is yet another way he aims to please customers.
Prawns may be grilled with just salt and pepper to taste, and a little lemon.
Wild-caught fish, like the original red sumo lapu-lapu, is best served steamed, even unseasoned, because it’s fresh. It’s also good for hot pot with tofu.
Lapu-lapu can be steamed with seafood soy sauce, clear soup with ginger and soft tofu, deep-fried with sweet and sour sauce.
Maya-maya is good for sinigang sa sampalok, with raddish and kangkong; or pesang maya-maya steamed with superior soy sauce. It can also be deep-fried with chili-garlic-onion soy sauce and grilled with lemon butter sauce.
White pampano can be grilled with lemon butter sauce; or steamed with ginger sauce for pinangat.
Bakoko can be steamed with black bean sauce, grilled, or baked. It can also be good for a pesa dish.
Salmon head can be grilled with lemon garlic butter sauce.
Mud crabs may be deep-fried with salt and pepper chilies.
Scallops can be steamed with garlic sotanghon and soy sauce, baked with garlic butter and cheese, or grilled with lemon and butter.