Starweek Magazine

Revisiting Salcedo

- Lydia Castillo -

Because of distance and the rising cost of gasoline, we have not been to the Salcedo Saturday Market in a long time. We made the extra effort one weekend with a couple of close friends and immediately got hooked on a lot of items on sale, especially food. We were amazed at the extensive array of cooked viands, a selection that ranges from Filipino, Spanish, French and Mid-Eastern. Immediately we renewed friendship with Tita Cely, known for her native palayok buffet, dating back to the 70s in the Ermita area. She is still very much into it, at her stall called Tita Cely’s Sinigang Bar at iba pa. The quality of her offerings has not suffered and if it’s truly Filipino one needs, this is the place. Her mainstays are crabs (full of alige) in coconut oil with finger chilis, paksiw na bangus with thick tiyan, laing as only she can prepare, fried tilapia and yes, at iba pa. An order, each easily good for two, goes for P100 to 150.

We encountered another friend, Michelle, who used to work for our favorite airline, now cooking and managing her outfit called La Cuisine. Married to a Frenchman, it was obvious her culinary instincts were honed to this particular type of food. She injects the European taste and flavor to this market. She has a huge selection that varies from braised duck with pineapple (P370) to the omelet called crespeou, a recipe from Provence of three layers of green, black and yellow spices and herbs with tomato sauce. Check out her selection – among which are lamb navarin, tabouleh and rolled pork with anchovies and capers. She has expanded to making bottled sauces and even bakery products. By the time this column goes to print, La Cuisine should have opened a restaurant outlet inside the Lifestyle Store on the third floor of Greenbelt 5. Call Michelle at 893-2072.

There is so much more to discover in the Salcedo Saturday Market and one needs some restraint lest you leave with empty pockets. Hecti’s has callos, Nana Meng’s has chocolate, Z’s has sausages, and Mekeni has tamales. In the rear area, there’s Abby’s House, popular for the thin oatmeal cookies at P185. She is still selling them, but has added to her offerings apple walnut cake and bundt cake, in two sizes, for P100 and P300.

For Spanish chorizo, a visit to the Savor stall is recommended. They’ve got chistoria sausages at P325 a pack, chorizo Pamplona for P175 and bacalao at P200. They serve cooked Iberian dishes, among them paella.

Good meat like Wagyu, fresh and frozen seafood are available. The early catch includes good-sized prawns at P480 a kilo, mamali fish for P250, kanduli and the rare maliputo (weighing 2 kilos) at P960. Yvan’s is still there with a frozen selection of salmon heads at P180 a kilo, panga at P160.

Vegetables and fruits also abound and – unbelievable but true – mangosteen selling at P550 a kilo in supermarkets go for P200 in this weekend market. Big, firm salad tomatoes are tagged at P150 a kilo while onions are at P80 for the red and P100 for the white. They are from the DGM Organic Farm which also sells fresh sweet basil at P150 a kilo. Go visit this market one Saturday, but be sure to have enough money or you’ll end up frustrated.

We have been quite irritated at one of our Internet servers. For the last month, we were unable to connect and have not received any acceptable excuse from any of their customer service staff. They kept throwing the blame to some other aspects of the service – technical problem on their end and, lately, citing a ‘possible defect’ in our own system. Isn’t our system theirs? Promises of 24 -hour updates have not happened, leaving us frustrated and yes, helpless.

Cable teevee service is no less inefficient. Charges are a year in advance, but service is never constant. Signals suddenly disappear and when a call is made to their technical staff, they disown the area from where one is calling. Referrals are made, a voice would say ‘this number is not in service at the moment’, or the phone would ring forever without anyone picking it up. We hope that those responsible will take notice of these problems that we are sure many customers are facing.

E-mail comments and questions to: [email protected]


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