Despite the usual “it’s best to go to the market in the morning” idea, I decided to head out to farmer’s market in cubao, a little after lunch. Farmers market is the ultimate wet market destination in Manila.
From meats, seafood, veggies, fruits, dried and items and even herbs and spices, it’s a one stop shop for everything you can cook and eat. Today we concentrated on the seafood section since mig and I planned an all seafood dinner. Despite our afternoon arrival, the market was still bustling with people and vendors selling their products. We just had to keep an extra eye out for the freshest stuff.
You can find all sorts of seafood in varying sizes, species, colors and cuts. It pays to have an idea on what you want to eat or cook so you don’t have to keep going around thinking of what to get.
I’ve been in farmers so early in the morning and the only difference with the morning to the evening is that there are more stores open in the morning, and there are a 50% more live stuff (like shrimps etc), hence better chances of fresher stuff of course, when you’re there early.
My top 9 to get ready to go to a wet market:
1) Wear waterproof shoes or shoes that don’t soak up water. This was my mistake, since this was an impromptu visit, I was in a pair of denim ballet flats…which soaked up all the fish blood and stuff in the water, I had to have my shoes laundered when I got home.
2) bring a cooler. Another thing that we forgot. This wouldve lessened the watery muck spilling in my trunk. You can leave this in the trunk.
3) bring lots of newspapers. To line your cars interior and trunk. 4) bring a shopping bag holder or a big food friendly shopping bag. This is why Filipinos make use of the good old bayong.
5) beware of oddities being sold at low prices. We came across a weird looking shellfish that we both wanted to try, it’s a good thing we only went for half kilo as we soon found out when we got home, it was totally inedible. So u can be adventurous, just prevent yourself from buying a ton of something unknown and go for just a bit.
6) haggle! One shop will actually give a lower price compared to the next so be sure you’ve looked around for A good deal prior to buying
7) know your fresh food. This is a must, you have to know what fresh food (in this case fish and seafood) looks like. Be acquainted with the “I’ve been on ice for days vs the just been delivered look of food, know the sight, smell and touch signals of fresh fish and seafood.Even vegetables, meats and fruits!
8) be adventurous! Just because the shellfish didn’t work out doesn’t mean we didn’t get other stuff. We also came across a shop selling pako or edible fern in the afternoon when all the stalls told us that we couldn’t find them at the time we were there!
9) keep your bills small. Since the markets have the usual quick transactions, make sure your buying goes smoothly with smaller bills rather than big bills. 10) go home! When you’re done with your buying, I really suggest you head home to ensure the freshness of your food, unless your cooler has tons of ice in it, it’s best to keep the bacterial action low.
The stuff we bought and what we cooked will be up soon.