I’ve been to the Mercato Centrale food market a couple of times but I’ve only been to the day market once. I think this is because I am a night owl but I’ve come to learn that the selection earlier in the day really is quite different. To start with, Mercato by day really is kind of empty. I can’t compare the amount of people to the heaps and heaps that come around by midnight or the flocks that head weekly to the Salcedo market (but those are other entries altogether). The midnight market also seems to have a lot more food booths, ready to eat snack stuff while the day market, has well, produce and such. There is one gem though I’ve found in the day market that crawls back into its cave when night falls and that is JAM Foods’ Angus Tapa.
At just P120, this hearty meal comes with an sunny side egg, fried to perfection with the yolk all wet enough to mix with a generous serving of garlic rice. I, myself am not such an egg person but this, I simply can’t resist. Jam Foods Angus Tapa comes in three variations all in the same bacon cut, Angus goodness. There’s the regular sort, the spicy sort and the Korean variation. The first time I tried it, I decided to go with the regular marinade which is just the right combination of salty and sweet; a great fit to the Filipino palate. They sell uncooked marinated tapa in 1KG denominations just for P550 which is a steal in my opinion. My mom didn’t hesitate and bought their Spicy tapa which we happily enjoyed at home. Because the internet is awesome, if it’s too inconvenient for you to drop by Mercato, they actually deliver so you can get your fix right at home.
Another interesting find was, Merry Moo Artisan Ice Cream and they are there ALL the time. Whether you’re up early enough in the day time to visit Mercato or late at night, they will be there and they will serve you ice cream. I learned recently the difference between gelato and ice cream is that ice cream is loaded with more cream, air and fat.
What drew me in was their rather unusual flavors. So far, I’ve tried Strawberry Basil, Honeycomb, Sea Salt and Caramel, and my absolute favorite, Earl Grey! They’re also very generous with samples so go and taste before you order. Candied Bacon was interesting to me but when I tasted a sample, the bacon was rubbery, not crispy the way I liked it. I felt like a dog with a chew toy.
Their Strawberry Basil flavor really hits the right notes and is ingenious cause both flavors really mesh well together. With just the right sweetness of strawberry and the clean, peppery basil hints, it’s an absolute delight. I’m a big tea fiend though so when I saw that they had Earl Grey on my third visit, I went right for it. I later found that this precise flavor is their best seller. I don’t need to further explain how good this is so whether you like tea or not, try it.
Deep fried and coated in a whole lot of batter, Manang’s Fried Chicken (P120 for 6 wings) was concocted to rival the Korean Bonchon Chicken. Unfortunately, I cannot even compare them. Manang’s is fried well, crispy and has the right amount of flavor but I find that the batter is just much too thick. It’s more flour than chicken in my opinion and that is why Bonchon wins in the double fried arena. Like Merry Moo, Manang’s is there all the time so head to Mercato to try it.
34th street and 8th avenue (across MC Home Depot),
Fort Bonifacio, Taguig, Philippines
Saturdays and Sundays 7:00am – 2:00pm