27 Mar2014


This stuff is only HALF of the haul from an hour’s visit to the on-going food fair sponsored by the DTI at Megamall’s Trade Halls, running through Sunday. I always try to visit these fairs that bring together producers from lots of different regions/provinces, hoping to find unusual ingredients, things to munch on, or things we might be able to use at the restaurants. With some 70+ stalls offering items, it’s hard to leave without purchasing a food item or two…


At this organic stall from Pampanga, a beautiful selection of capsicum, cherry tomatoes, and other organically grown vegetables. I wish these guys had a regular stall at a weekend market. Beautiful stuff. But capsicum and tomatoes not for sale. Bummer. I guess folks like me would have wiped out their stocks in the first hour and there would be nothing on display.


The produce offerings in Manila and surrounding provinces is really getting broader and more interesting.


Jams and preserves from Castillejos Farms (didn’t know they were in Zambales!)…


…I bought several forms of dried chilies from Mindanao, along with black rice and other organic products from small individual manufacturers or cooperatives of farmers.


I purchased two bottles of honey from this apiary. It looked spectacular, albeit quite runny, and frankly, I wasn’t convinced that the honey hadn’t been filtered or otherwise processed, as it was just way to clear and clean looking…


It was just a few minutes after ten when I got to the show, so everyone was still setting up (why they can’t be ready at 10 is truly beyond me) so I didn’t quite get as much information from vendors as I was hoping to… In fact, I got more “wala pa yung may-ari” (owner isn’t here yet) or “hindi ko alam yung presyo” (dont know any of the prices) or “walang barya” (I don’t have any change) or “calling card? wala po” (we don’t have calling cards/brochures) than you can imagine. So here’s some unsolicited advice for the wonderful folks who bother to take out a stall at a fair like this. 1. Man your stall with people knowledgeable about your products and who can answer perhaps the 50 most commonly asked questions 2. Always have a surfeit of calling cards/brochures so people can contact you to BUY your products 3. Have accurate and descriptive price lists handy (not small and large bagoong, but 200grams vs. say 400 grams) 4. Have change if you plan to sell goods 5. Be ready to deal with potential wholesale buyers, those are the guys who will probably do more for your long-term viability than a bunch of retail customers.


I bought a kilo of fresh miki from a pansi cabagan stall, but it smelled quite heavily of ammonia, or whatever chemical noodle manufacturers tend to use, and took a recipe for how to prepare it at home.


The recipe wasn’t quite thorough enough for a first timer, and it didn’t specify when to add the noodles, amongst other omissions, but we managed to make a nice tasting pandit an hour or so later…


I was searching high and low for nipa vinegar, which NONE of the 70+ stalls seemed to have, but they did have banana vinegar, duhat wine, etc. It really is beginning to upset me that classic delicious vinegars are disappearing from the market… in the same way that so few artisanal patis makers remain… so much of the bottled patis in the groceries are now being imported from Thailand!


Had to get a few pieces of bagnet to add to the pancit.


Did pick out several bottles of bagoong from JB, but the lady there didn’t have the prices, and we forgot to go back at the end of our visit…


And finally, we returned to Chino’s from Cagayan de Oro for some chorizos and beef bacon. One of the owners is a reader of the blog, and he kindly approached me while I was wandering around, so I thought I should try some of their products…


Their chili chorizos are delicious. A bit sweeter than I personally like my sausages, but the combination of sugar, abundant chili, a nice meat to fat ratio, a stint in the “smokehouse” to get some smokey flavor along with a proper pellicle or texture to the skin that is slightly dried out, was very appetizing. The crew devoured the chorizos with glee. I added them to some pancit, in addition to eating them with some vinegar and rice. We also got some beef bacon, but haven’t tried it yet. Chino’s prices are incredibly good as well.

Overall, a very worthwhile visit to the fair of Filipino food producers. You might want to drop by if you enjoy these kinds of events… Admission is free.



  1. AM says:

    MM, I can almost taste the chorizos. You take wonderfully tasty pictures. Wish I could be in the Philippines to see and buy some of the goodies.

    Mar 27, 2014 | 12:10 pm


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  3. Nessa says:

    MM, you can get nipa vinegar from Paombong, Bulacan. I’m not sure if it’s available in the metro as well. The sukang paombong in the grocery doesn’t seem “authentic” at all, it tastes weird.

    Mar 27, 2014 | 12:40 pm

  4. Rafael Hocson says:

    Paombong, yes. They have the suka in huge earthen jars. Sometimes may kasama pang kiti kiti. I use pangasinan or balayan bagoong instead of patis. Patis nowadays parang water with salt.

    Mar 27, 2014 | 12:58 pm

  5. Marketman says:

    Rafael and Nessa, yes, paombong one good source, though not readily available in Manila. There used to be nipa vinegar all over the Visayas as well, and I can’t find a steady supply of that either.

    Mar 27, 2014 | 1:06 pm

  6. michymichymoo says:

    I still have a few days more to explore this fair. Yay! Hope they have Cebu chorizo for my parents. :)

    Mar 27, 2014 | 3:01 pm

  7. millet says:

    nice! i’ve been looking for old-fashioned vinegar too. nothing beats sukang sasa (nipa) or paombong as dip for steamed shrimps, crabs, oysters..it just makes the seafood sweeter without losing its seafood flavor. i find that a lot of so-called sukang tuba (coconut vinegar) is mostly synthetic. i don’t even bother buying local patis brands because they all taste like water with salt. i haven’t found a really good local brand. there’s a delicious fish sauce in bicol that the locals call “patis bicol”, but it’s actually more of a thin guinamos or bagoong isda, much like bagoong balayan.

    Mar 27, 2014 | 4:40 pm

  8. Scott says:

    mm, off topic, saw you on TLC today with Chef Bobbie Chin, made me smile!

    Mar 27, 2014 | 5:30 pm

  9. GT says:

    Hi MM, were the dried chilis you bought the siling haba? So that they can be used for Malaysian curry or rempah? The aroma of the miki comes from the use of alkaline or lye I believe.

    Mar 27, 2014 | 5:47 pm

  10. cumin says:

    Hello, MM, so glad you wrote about this — I rushed to Megamall as soon as I read your post. Go back? The humongous capsicum from Benguet sold for 200 pesos/kg.

    GT, I think I may know where MM bought his dried chilies. There were two kinds I saw, siling labuyo/kulikut and the larger kind they called hybrid. Both kinds were sundried so you can use for cooking or plant the seeds. Brandname Pablo. The vendor from Mindanao came from one of the communities affected by supertyphoon Pablo in 2012 and said the government had encouraged them to plant chili because ready to harvest in three months.

    Mar 27, 2014 | 6:54 pm

  11. Marketman says:

    cumin, ARRGGH, you mean they sold the capsicum on the second day? Darn. GT, the dried chilies I got are larger than our typical labuyo but smaller than the ones usually used in Malaysia I think. But they are worth a try, so fresh and color so orange red still (they will get duller over the next few months). Scott, yipes, that is an old program! :) Millet, Rufina and a few small producers in Navotas still do patis, but it’s so hard to find relative to all the imported thai patis in the markets… and I use thai patis quite often now…

    Mar 27, 2014 | 6:59 pm

  12. diz says:

    MM, why did you buy the fresh miki if it smelled of ammonia? :)

    Mar 27, 2014 | 10:23 pm

  13. Khew says:

    Speaking of produce getting more interesting: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/390933/strawberry-thrives-even-in-camsur

    Mar 28, 2014 | 12:49 am

  14. Malou says:

    MM, I am interested in the black rice you bought. I have a bag of it from Thailand which I tried once before to cook like sweet guinataan but turned out to be a failure. Would appreciate a recipe for what you’ll make out of it. Maybe a suman? Thanks!

    Mar 28, 2014 | 2:14 am

  15. marixie says:

    To Malou: The black rice is not ideal for guinataan or suman as it is not glutinous. It has a more nutty taste to it than white rice and in the US, it is priced as an “exotic” rice. Nevertheless, there are glutinous black rice (black malagkit) and again, here in the US, they are readily available in any Asian grocery/supermarket. For the regular black rice I cook it like white rice and pair it with adobo and some green veggies such as guisadong kangkong or spinach, and basically any green veggie of your choice.

    Mar 28, 2014 | 3:31 am

  16. Lyn says:

    Wouldn’t it be great if there was a building like the ferry building in
    Sf that houses goodies from 7000+ Islands that we have. Tourist and
    Locals can enjoy our own products.

    Mar 28, 2014 | 8:13 am

  17. Anne says:

    You are doing them a big favor, writing this post. Free adverstising for them!

    Mar 28, 2014 | 6:39 pm

  18. Marketman says:

    Anne, I think bringing attention to 60 vendors who have agreed to participate in the fair, and schlep their goods from as far as Northern Luzon to the Southernmost regions of Mindanao, is the least I can do. I really like these fairs and always hope I will find something interesting or new…

    Mar 28, 2014 | 7:52 pm

  19. Marketman says:

    diz, a lot of noodles use a chemical, lye one mentions above, to help with the formation of the noodles, but you can get rid of much of smell with a quick blanching of the noodles in boiling water. I don’t get a chance to buy much fresh miki (and from a purveyor that has made it for decades apparently) so I thought the PHP60 for a kilo was worth the risk…

    Mar 28, 2014 | 7:54 pm

  20. Susan says:

    Did you have to take such a huge picture of the chorizo? I’m salivating here. Never seen such round small chorizos.

    Mar 29, 2014 | 7:49 am

  21. Jade says:

    Hopefully we get a good harvest of cashew this year so we can to participate in this food fair next year.

    Mar 29, 2014 | 10:24 am

  22. sonny sj says:

    A Paombong native here.
    The kiti-kiti Rafael Hocson referred to are actually naturally occuring bateria that helps in the fermentation process of the nipa vinegar. Microscopic in size, you can only “see” them when a bottle of Paombong vinegar is held against the light, then one can see these “kiti-kiti” swimming at the surface of the liquid.
    Many people throw out Paombong vinegar when it changes color thinking it got spoiled. Truth is, the changing color is an indication that the vinegar is continuously fermenting.
    Left untouched/ummoved, the Paombong vinegar will change from cloudy white to clear amberish color liquid.
    However, bottle of regularly used vinegar will start to change from cloudy white to murky-blackish liquid until it ends up in a clear violetish liquid.
    Now, please do not ask me the science behind these changing color. :-)
    If your Paombong vinegar produces some gel while in storage, something very similar to nata de coc, it means some water had mixed into the vinegar.

    Mar 29, 2014 | 12:49 pm

  23. Marketman says:

    sonny, I believe they are known as vinegar eels (turbatrix aceti)… harmless but give many the cooties. You can pasteurize or boil your vinegar then cool and filter (using coffee filter paper I would imagine) and rebottle it if you are squeamish about them… :)

    Mar 29, 2014 | 1:03 pm

  24. general says:

    the pork bacon is yummy, based on the sample i got, better than pf! it was P245 for 500g. so i bought that and passed on the chorizo. betcha the others asking about the chorizo (the guy said he had only one pack of it left) were also mm readers. hihi.

    Mar 29, 2014 | 10:15 pm

  25. Evelyn says:

    As a visitor from Canada the trade show provided an excellent source for pasalubong to take back to Canada. I couldn’t get enough of them! Next week there’s another similar trade show in the same venue exclusively for Visayas, particularly those hit by Yolanda, which gives me more reason to go back and buy some more! I follow your blog and would have been thrilled to have met you there.

    Mar 30, 2014 | 8:20 am

  26. Enzo says:

    The smoked chorizos as well as the ham were really good too bad it’s already sold out when I came back. I did a google search for Chino’s Deli and saw that they’re located at Cagayan De Oro, will definitely go to their shop once I go on a vacation to CDO.

    Mar 31, 2014 | 8:35 am

  27. Cris J. says:

    Sadly I cannot buy sukang sasa anymore since I left my job in 2010. I get it from my officemate who lives in Baliuag, Bulacan. Ang sarap pa naman… espcecially for inihaw na liempo and adobo dishes.

    For patis, I buy this “Ang Sarap” brand.. I don’t know if it’s imported but it tastes better than Lorin’s or Rufina…

    Apr 2, 2014 | 4:11 pm

  28. dizzy says:

    I also bought kamias ala prunes, it’s currently a favorite at home.

    Apr 3, 2014 | 6:15 pm

  29. shiko-chan says:

    oh dear i missed this one. can’t help wishing they’d advertise more. and that more of these people/places that really could use the improved business would pay attention to your suggestions, MM! :p

    Apr 4, 2014 | 10:19 am


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