22 Jun2005

I visited the FTI AANI Market at Taguig on Saturday and was terribly abag1dismayed by the quality of produce on offer. Like I said in my post for the Salcedo market, this is close to the worst month for greens… the end of an extremely hot summer that has wilted just about everything, the start of the rainy season that rots everything and those factors combined with school starting (so everyone’s pocketbooks are strained and are buying less at the markets) makes for a very depressing market landscape. I was going to write on the FTI AANI Weekend market but decided to put it off for another day when it has better stuff…wouldn’t want to get you all so excited and you make a visit only to find mediocre offerings. At any rate, in a fit of Marketman madness, we decided on short order to jump into the car and drive up to Baguio for a dose of cooler weather and to see if there really was a dearth of veggies on offer from the bountiful North. So, here goes… a spell of Marketmanila in Baguio for the next couple of days. First The Good: the Baguio market is as good as ever with wonderful produce, fruit and even rice and legume selections. There was a noticeable reduction in choices due to the end of the tourist season and weather related farm output but most of the stuff on offer still looked very fresh. I spied great looking watercress, zucchinis, avocados, peppers, etc. Prices were way below astronomical Manila levels but you do have to bargain as some of the locals try to take you for a ride.

Next, The Bad: we had a very disappointing meal at Cafe by the Ruins. abag2We went back there (as we have on all previous trips) to get a nice dose of Pinikpikan which was just not right this time around. The soup (in photo) felt all jumbled up without the clarity and verve of all previous visits. The combination of abused free range chickens that are first grilled before being added to the soup pot combined with salt pork, watercress, ginger, celery, blueberries?, and other greens is usually very good but this was definitely not – it almost tasted muddy in a way. We also ordered longanissang hubad (“naked” sausage that should have put its clothes back on), spicy bangus that looked like it had been on a South Beach diet and made my tongue itchy to boot, mechado that didn’t look like mechado and a lumpia that did not thrill. Worse, the prices seemed to have escalated so we ended up with a highly unsatisfying meal at a relatively high cost. Surly waitstaff to exacerbate the unpleasant experience and an appalling toilet that has sunk further into the “I don’t think so category”. That’s the last time I am going there until a trusted source tells me it has returned to its old glory.

The Ugly: day old chicks that are skewered by threes, abag3slathered with orange food coloring and barbecued and eaten in their entirety were a new discovery when walking around Burnham Park after the horrible meal at Cafe by the Ruins. I am told that I must be a street food novice as this “delicacy” is on offer across the archipelago. I was not thrilled with the thought of munching on the young brains of these poor chicks. Frankly, I refused to taste them. I am not that adventurous. But yes, I do eat frogs legs, have tasted alligator, enjoy fish roe and seriously fermented cabbage with chili (kimchi)! Different strokes for different folks, but for me these “day olds” were wickedly ugly!



  1. suzette says:

    just a thought marketman… because you are very well versed with about everything about food, do you have plans of opening up a restaurant or a cafe’ where people could experience your “expertise” (or do you already have one
    i am unaware of)? i would be the very first customer to
    line up :)

    Jun 22, 2005 | 4:25 pm


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  3. virgilio p. castillo says:

    Grilled day-old chicks? Do people really eat them? Definitely this is for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Movement. Oh, how could the Pinoys be so insensitive? My friends here puke everytime I talk about balut and fish eyes so do you think they would still talk to me should I tell them about barbecued day-old chicks in a skewer?

    Jun 22, 2005 | 4:47 pm

  4. Marketman says:

    Suzette so far I am just an amateur cook. It’s easier to talk about food than it is to put it on the the table meal after meal after meal each day (say 300 times for a good restaurant!)I also find I am amused by unusual things that most of the public may not be willing to pay for, therefor I will lose my hat! Thanks for the kind comments, though. Virgilio, you got it, they stand on the sidewalk and munch on the the whole chicks! I guess it’s what you’re used to but I certainly wasn’t willing to give it a go!

    Jun 24, 2005 | 5:34 am

  5. stef says:

    still LOL over your longganiza remark. as for the chicks, i don’t know — at least they were allowed to be born right? not like the “aborted” balut, put to death while sleeping in their cozy little shells? but virgilio’s right, this won’t sit well with the APSCA at all.

    Jun 24, 2005 | 7:03 pm

  6. Lori says:

    I’ve been to Baguio twice in the past three years.
    On both occasions, I’ve asked my husband to bring me to Cafe by the Ruins. We never did because of traffic and its location. People have said that it’s deteriorated. After reading your post, I think I finally believe what everyone has said. You pictures pretty much said it all.

    Jul 3, 2005 | 5:17 am

  7. Marketman says:

    Lori I would steer clear of the restaurant until others start to rave about it again (if that ever happens). Never quite understood their set-up before but at least the food was worth the trouble in the past. Now it’s just tired, food mediocre and overall quite expensive.

    Jul 3, 2005 | 8:27 pm

  8. rina hubilla says:

    marketman, with Cafe by the Ruins on a downtrend, Bistro Salud and Eve’s Garden provide alternative Baguio dining options

    Jul 7, 2005 | 8:55 pm

  9. Marketman says:

    Rina, seems Bistro Salud has closed shop in Baguio since they opened one in Laguna? or down South Expressway somewhere. Where is Eve’s garden?

    Jul 8, 2005 | 2:35 pm

  10. Trisha says:

    I think Salud just transferred from its old Lourdes Grotto location to Session Road.

    Aug 4, 2005 | 12:20 pm

  11. chef paul poblador says:

    hello marketman,

    salud bistro in baguio has been closed since may 2005. we shall be reoping it in wilson st. in san juan by mid 2006. meanwhile my crew and i are in san pablo laguna. The restaurant here is called Kusina Salud! where we serve updated pinoy classics like kare-kareng dagat and binagoongang baboy with eggplant tempura. Just doing our little part in uplifting our pinoy food to a more sophisticated and mature audience. please feel free to visit us… and we do hope you’ll like our fare. best of luck on your wonderful articles. cheers!

    Nov 24, 2005 | 11:37 pm

  12. Chef Chris Locher says:

    Hi Paul, please contact me at the soonest, had plans to drive up to Baguio with all my staff, early next week for a visit at your resto…!?!?, well so much about a good reason to visit Baguio, cheers and happy new year

    Jan 3, 2006 | 4:46 pm

  13. sekweeto says:

    try niyo nalang sa Volante sa may Session Road.. masarap ang Pesto Pasta.. best ever.. at healthy pa.. kung kape naman usapan.. punta nalang kayo sa black market or sa nardas.. meron silang ibat’t ibang klaseng kape dun.. best sa palengke pa rin kxe indi commercialized. :)

    nakatulong ba?

    Aug 29, 2007 | 1:42 pm

  14. Kunyap says:

    Go back to Cafe, the food has transformed! The hand of the founding chef is back on the tiller. There is no comparison, the food is inspired again.

    Oct 17, 2007 | 9:21 am

  15. sassymoon says:

    this post was a little ironic, since you like pinikpikan and eat it regularly, while you cringe at the skewered and grilled day old chicks. at least the chicks didn’t get beaten to death, before being killed…as compared to the pinikpikan where the chicken got ‘tortured’ first before being cooked. this is why, when we went to cafe by the ruins years ago, i didn’t order their pinikpikan…everytime i think about how this dish is made, it seems absolutely cruel and mean.

    Jul 15, 2008 | 1:59 pm

  16. Marketman says:

    sassymoon, actually, I have only had real pinikpikan twice, and though I now know how a real one is made, I devised a soup that approximates the pinikpikan but uses roasted chicken and it works really well, so I ate much more of the latter, I will find a link and put it here. As for the day old chicks, I have no problem with others eating them, I just didn’t find it personally appealing, whether because of their looks, age or the atrocious food coloring. But I am not opposed to anyone else enjoying them, particularly since they might likewise enjoy balut… I also am not a huge fan of fried crickets for the sole reason that I cannot get over their resemblance to roaches… :)

    Jul 15, 2008 | 2:52 pm

  17. Jenny says:

    eve’s garden is in la trinidad, benguet – about 20 minutes away from baguio cbd along naguilian road. we had lunch there on holy thursday 2009 and were badly disappointed. i will stick with sonya’s. check out link for photos and menu description.

    Apr 15, 2009 | 9:34 am


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