If you're in Manila and looking for a culinary experience with a community feel, Salcedo Market is hard to beat. This lively event takes place on Saturdays between 7 a.m. and 2 p.m., and features food from the city's best kitchens, all in one neat, bustling, deliciously tasty location.
Established in 2004 with just 11 stalls, the market, located in the leafy Jaime C. Velasquez Park in the heart of the upscale Bel-Air district, has since developed into a vibrant gourmet gathering of over 140 vendors, all carefully vetted for quality and variety of product. With the exception of cooked-food vendors, everyone is required to offer something unique: for instance, there can only be one wine stall, one florist and one frozen-yoghurt stand. (See 10 things to do in Seoul.)
The fare reflects Manila's cosmopolitan tastes. Authentic renditions of foreign staples include French crepes, German sausages, Malaysian laksa and Indonesian rendang, and people travel from across the metropolis to enjoy them. But they also visit to try Philippine flavors usually found locked inside the country's homes or tucked away in far-flung provinces. Look out for crispy-skinned lechon, or roast suckling pig, from Cebu (Filipinos make an art out of roasting whole animals on spits). Try the rich, fiery-hot Bicol Express from southern Luzon (a pork and vegetable dish with coconut and chili). And don't miss the Filipino-fusion creations, such as pasta sauces in flavors such as mussel adobo and creamy shiitake pesto. If you can manage it, wash it all down with thick, creamy tsokolate, a Spanish-style hot chocolate blended with peanuts and whipped to a heady froth. But be prepared to swap those afternoon sightseeing plans for another great Spanish import: a siesta.
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