Sol Jose Vanzi: Weekend at the market
What can you find in these three weekend markets that you can’t find anywhere else? A lot. 

In ancient times, the agora (a Greek word for “market”) was in the center of town, around a wadi
(an Arabic term for “water well”) where traders came to buy and sell animals, slaves, clothing, and food supplies. It was also where tribes congregated to find husbands and wives for the young generation. The appeal of open air markets like those is universal. Every major city has one, two, or dozens on a daily or weekends-only basis. THAI FOOD In the Philippines, many flea markets became hallmarks of an era, like the PX markets of Cavite City, Angeles, and Olongapo that sold American canned goods from on-base stores, second-hand American magazines, and used appliances and cars.

The PX black market stalls also disposed of household items—pots and pans of departing sailors and officers, who lived with their families inside Sangley Point Naval Base, Clark Air Base, and Subic Naval Base. Filipinos flocked to buy goods that were “siguradong stateside.” Today, weekend markets have become a way of life for thousands of families in Metro Manila. Each one has distinct qualities and specialty products, personally supervised by friendly stall owners who are generous with professional advice. Space, or the lack of it, does not seem to faze market regulars, who see crowded layouts as part of a market’s charm. For this issue, I explored three markets—Greenfield Weekend Market in Mandaluyong, SIDCOR Sunday Market on EDSA QC, and AANI (Agri-Aqua Network International) Weekend Market at the FTI compound in Taguig—and sized each one up. * READ MORE...

A Comer!
Paella, callos, salchichon gran reserve, feast on everything Castilian at Manila Hotel’s Spanish buffet dinner every Thursday.

Aficionados of authentic Spanish cuisine are making a beeline at the Manila Hotel every Thursday evening, there to partake of regional Castilian specialties seldom available under one roof in this country. The Café Ilang Ilang plays host to “A Taste of Spain” buffet dinner every Thursday starting this month, under the strict supervision of executive chef Konrad Walter and chef Ainer Ebue, who ensure diners of fabulous feasts the likes of which are rarely seen here. We had our fill of the Manila Hotel’s fantastic Spanish offerings last week, in the company of veteran journalists from newspapers and food magazines. We each had preferences: the PDI’s Cathy Canares is a meat-eater and thus, enjoyed grilled lamb, prime roast, ribs, and loin medallions; Expat’s Carmen Acosta took a bite of everything; a foodie editor was bowled over by various paella variants: paella valenciana, paella negra, and fideua, an unusual dish that uses thin egg noodles instead of rice. And moi? I started with six fresh oysters perked up with green Tabasco and lemon juice, followed by steamed blue swimming crabs (alimasag) and a dozen kinds of tapas. Photographer Rudy Liwanag joined me in digging into several servings of rare, expensive anguillas (European baby eel) lightly scented with roasted garlic. We both felt like royalty. * READ MORE...


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Weekend at the market
What can you find in these three weekend markets that you can’t find anywhere else? A lot.



(Images on this article by Rudy Liwanag)

MANILA, JULY 21, 2014 (BULLETIN) by Sol Vanzi - In ancient times, the agora (a Greek word for “market”) was in the center of town, around a wadi (an Arabic term for “water well”) where traders came to buy and sell animals, slaves, clothing, and food supplies. It was also where tribes congregated to find husbands and wives for the young generation. The appeal of open air markets like those is universal. Every major city has one, two, or dozens on a daily or weekends-only basis.

THAI FOOD

In the Philippines, many flea markets became hallmarks of an era, like the PX markets of  Cavite City, Angeles, and Olongapo that sold American canned goods from on-base stores, second-hand American magazines, and used appliances and cars. The PX black market stalls also disposed of household items—pots and pans of departing sailors and officers, who lived with their families inside Sangley Point Naval Base, Clark Air Base, and Subic Naval Base. Filipinos flocked to buy goods that were “siguradong stateside.”

Today, weekend markets have become a way of life for thousands of families in Metro Manila.

Each one has distinct qualities and specialty products, personally supervised by friendly stall owners who are generous with professional advice. Space, or the lack of it, does not seem to faze market regulars, who see crowded layouts as part of a market’s charm.

For this issue, I explored three markets—Greenfield Weekend Market in Mandaluyong, SIDCOR Sunday Market on EDSA QC, and AANI (Agri-Aqua Network International) Weekend Market at the FTI compound in Taguig—and sized each one up.

Agri-Aqua Network International
Market with the Freshest Finds

BEYOND AQUATIC WONDERS The AANI market in Taguig brings the best of Filipino produce—from seafood to potted herbs and livestock—every weekend for discerning shoppers on the lookout for fresh items and more.

We started Saturday with lunch at the AANI market, close to the gated entrance of the FTI compound.

The market area, enclosed by a wire mesh fence, is roofed by thick flexible material interspersed with clear plastic for natural lighting.

The whole market—open on Saturdays and Sundays, 5 a.m. to 5 p.m.—has the look and feel of a provincial public market, complete with butchers and fishmongers. Sold at the market are live seafood, natural honey from Laguna and Palawan, live free-range chicken, mud crabs from Roxas City, potted herbs, and flowering orchids.

Its wet market section offers Norwegian pink salmon (pricier than supermarkets) alongside Taal tawilis and Mindanao tuna. On site, we munched on organic lechon, tinuktukang pagi (stingray) sinaing na tulingan, and gatang suso (long snails in coconut and chili).

Go if you’re: a gardener, aspiring chef, or foodie.

Best time to go: If you’re going for the live seafood, better be there at 5 a.m., or you won’t be able to buy anything.

Best finds: wild honey, live free- range chicken, specialties of different regions, herbs in pots, organic fertilizer from worms

What to get beside food: gardening advice from real farmers.

How to get there: Take the east service road of SLEX. Go straight until you see the entrance of FTI (Food Terminal Inc.) Complex. The market is inside.

Greenfield Weekend Market
The Rolls Royce of Sunday Markets

Late in the afternoon, we found ourselves in Mandaluyong at a grass-covered open space along Mayflower Street, Greenfield District.

The area used to be United Laboratories’ HQ. On Saturdays, from 4 p.m. to 4 a.m , it is the site for Greenfield Weekend Market, the Rolls Royce of Philippine weekend markets.

Why Rolls Royce?

Because it has space to spare, and does not scrimp on facilities. Occupying almost one hectare of prime real estate, it hosts about three dozen tables protected by brilliant white tents that surround a spacious manicured grass lawn shaded by giant white parachute tents that is perfect for al fresco dining.

Children run chasing huge soap bubbles, screaming with delight as they engage in group painting activities. Parents leisurely flit from stall to stall, ordering pot roast, Vigan empanadas, Japanese takoyaki, and beef shawarma, all cooked on the spot.

I feasted on tender, juicy rolled pork belly roast and bangus sisig, just the right pulutan for cans of cold San Mig Pale.

THE LUXURY OF SPACE The Greenfield Weekend Market has the trappings of a modern day leisure hub in the metro: great food, good music, and a bevy of family-friendly activities—all in a well-maintained, spacious setting.

After sundown, a four-piece ensemble began to play light jazz and other classics. A bartender started to set up shop under a giant tent.

Expats came in droves to chill on buckets of beer. Ladies ordered glasses of wine from bistros surrounding the market. Before we knew it, it was 3 a.m.

Go if you’re: a parent with toddlers, young gimik-seekers, or foodie.

Best time to go: 4 p.m. to shop and bond with kids; 8 p.m. onward to chill and relax with friends. Best finds: space—precious big ones, new friends, beef and pork roasts, and calamansi longanisa. What to get beside food: fun activities for kids, books, home décor, artisanal jewelry.

How to get there: From EDSA, turn to Shaw Blvd. It is just across Shangri-La Mall. You can also take the MRT and get off at Shaw Blvd. station.

Sidcor Sunday Market
More than a Food Market

GREENS AND MORE At the SIDCOR Sunday Market along EDSA, everyone can get their fix of gastronomic delights and take their pick among the best selections of plants and other everyday goods.

Before dawn Sunday, we headed to the SIDCOR market along EDSA for a very heavy breakfast.

The market, open every Sunday, from 4 a.m. to 2 p.m., caters to the unusual hours of serious joggers. Located at a large vacant lot beside the Centris Mall, there’s ample space for plant merchants to sell fruit trees, large ornamentals, giant pots as well as small flowering plants and collectible cacti.

Vendors from markets as far as Quiapo, Commonwealth, and Fairview come in droves to purchase wholesale dresses, shorts, and scrub suits for resale.

Under tarpaulins are large rectangular tables meant for Oktoberfest-style dining while trading shopping tips with total strangers. Cooked on the spot at the market’s dozens of food stalls are Hungarian sausages, Chinese and Thai noodles, and Ilocano native delights, which we gorged on.

Go if you’re: a jogger, landscaper, gardener, retail vendor, or foodie.

Best time to go: all morning, but if you want to get the best deals, make it early.

Best finds: ready-made play clothes, pots, and plants.

What to get beside food: shopping and cooking tips from stall owners; new shopping buddies.

How to get there: From EDSA, go to the direction of Cubao. Centris Mall is just after Cubao, right before reaching North EDSA. You can also take the MRT and get off at Quezon Avenue station. (Images by Rudy Liwanag)

A Comer! by Sol Vanzi July 17, 2014
Paella, callos, salchichon gran reserve, feast on everything Castilian at Manila Hotel’s Spanish buffet dinner every Thursday.

Spain's Finest: Pulpo de Gallega

Roasted Pepper with Tuna

Paella alla Valenciana Grilled Fresh Baby Sardines

Aficionados of authentic Spanish cuisine are making a beeline at the Manila Hotel every Thursday evening, there to partake of regional Castilian specialties seldom available under one roof in this country.

The Café Ilang Ilang plays host to “A Taste of Spain” buffet dinner every Thursday starting this month, under the strict supervision of executive chef Konrad Walter and chef Ainer Ebue, who ensure diners of fabulous feasts the likes of which are rarely seen here.

We had our fill of the Manila Hotel’s fantastic Spanish offerings last week, in the company of veteran journalists from newspapers and food magazines. We each had preferences: the PDI’s Cathy Canares is a meat-eater and thus, enjoyed grilled lamb, prime roast, ribs, and loin medallions; Expat’s Carmen Acosta took a bite of everything; a foodie editor was bowled over by various paella variants: paella valenciana, paella negra, and fideua, an unusual dish that uses thin egg noodles instead of rice.

And moi? I started with six fresh oysters perked up with green Tabasco and lemon juice, followed by steamed blue swimming crabs (alimasag) and a dozen kinds of tapas.

Photographer Rudy Liwanag joined me in digging into several servings of rare, expensive anguillas (European baby eel) lightly scented with roasted garlic. We both felt like royalty.

* Diners were lining up for freshly cut, paper-thin slices of jamon iberico ($200/kilo), which a few gourmets paired with crunchy melon from the dessert corner. A huge silver platter was filled with Spanish cold cuts: lomo iberico de cebo (cured pork loin) and salchichon gran reserve (Spanish salami).

And what would a Spanish buffet be without callos? The bowl we had contained tender chunks of imported tripe and beef parts, simmered to perfection with sausages, and spices, notably smoked paprika.

Another Spanish dish familiar to Filipinos is stuffed boneless chicken called galantine which was napped with a subtle mushroom gravy. The stuffing was smooth as pate, with no visible lumps except for dark bits of truffle.

What is great about the Manila Hotel Thursday Spanish dinner buffets is the fact that all the live cooking stations of the Café Ilang Ilang are open and continue to serve the best dishes from China, Japan, Thailand, the Middle East, and Korea. So it’s not just Spanish.

For dessert, executive pastry chef Rolando “Mac” Macatangay outdid himself with innovative meal enders incorporating surprising ingredients from Spain: olive oil chocolate ice cream, olive oil lemon cake, pastas de almendra (almond cake), crema catalanaa (crème brulee with orange and cinnamon), churros, and melocotones al vino (peaches poached in red wine).

SOL JOSE VANZI'S CORNER
LIFESTYLE COLUMNIST OF THE MANILA DAILY BULLETIN & PANORAMA
'TIMPLA'T TIKIM'


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Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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