01 Mar2007


I was at the Manila Seedling Bank in Quezon City this morning. I was looking at buying some tree seedlings and other ornamental plants to spruce up our garden/terrace. I have only been there a few times before but today was the first time I really walked through most chich3of the garden shops and stalls. Woah, ornamental plant prices were a bit steep, if you ask me!!! I think I will go to Los Banos next week instead to make sure I am not getting royally fleeced. But in some of the smaller shops at the Manila Seedling Bank, set up in old greenhouses, there were some really interesting finds…

In the edible plant/herb category, I was utterly stunned to find large ready to harvest fennel still in their pots at around PHP200 (pricey!), huge thyme plants raised in Antipolo for PHP600 (really pricey!!) and a very, very robust sage plant with hundreds of leaves at PHP800! The prices were steep, but the availability was an eye-opener. Also in these “lanes” were several very healthy looking kaffir lime plants at PHP1,500 each! Egads, I have been giving my cuttings away to friends and folks when I could have sold them for a small ransom! I also spied healthy siling mahaba and siling labuyo plants as well as say 15-20 other herbs such as basil, oregano, tarragon, rosemary, etc.

After purchasing some ornamentals, including a few at the incredibly overpriced Bulacan Gardens (apparently the entrepreneurs who started this company have 21 (twenty-one) kids!!!), chich2I decided to head back home but was incredibly thirsty and hungry so we passed by Cherry Foodorama on Shaw Boulevard (on the way to Galileo Enoteca where I wanted to get some farro of which they have run out). Inside the grocery, I found some canned cherries (whole, in syrup) for a small pie…I am curious if this will make a decent filling and some hot Ayam brand chilli sauce… Outside the check-out counters is where diet disaster struck. How could I resist? First three kinds of fried peanuts, at about PHP18 per small 100 gram supot (only PHP10 for the equivalent amount streetside in Cebu), including the smaller “native” variety, with skin and skinless versions. Nicely salted and, well, glistening with fat.

Now I don’t normally buy chicharon bituka et al, but for Marketmanila’s readers sake, especially those in far flung locales around the globe who want a reason to be a bit homesick, I bought four types of deep-fried innards for this post. First up at the left of chich4the platter is some chicharon bulaklak (baboy), next bituka (manok), balat (manok) and finally bituka (baboy). In other words, various pork and chicken innards and skin, deep fried and salted. Yum for some. Frankly, I just can’t get into them in a big way…I didn’t like them as a kid and I don’t see myself becoming a huge fan anytime soon. The deep fried chicken skin would have been fine except it had a serious amount of visible hair… At any rate, for PHP30 for 50 grams each, they were cheap and for many, a delicious nibble. All manner of snacks of this fat and salt variety at PERLAB Chichanuts Corner, fcherry Foodarama, Shaw Boulevard. To each their own. I just thought I would give you a little visual snack treat from home…



  1. Maria Clara says:

    I cannot turn my back on fried garlicky peanuts with or without the skin. Once I start digging in I will not stop until I finish them with a regular iced cold soda. The chicharon bulaklak is really a big teaser with a spicy garlicky onion rich vinegar it is a real treat. Chicharon either chicken or pork origins are hot stuff pulutan – “mag beer muna tayo!” Come to think of it now, the only thing being thrown away in dressed chicken now is the waste material itself. The whole chicken is literally edible in our culture now – the crispy IUD deep dried in barbecue stick and Adidas!

    Mar 1, 2007 | 1:56 pm


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  3. tulip says:

    Hmm, makes me crave for some chicken skin!

    Marketman,if you wish to purchase cheap ornamental plants here in Manila I can suggest you go around Sta. Mesa Heights QC near Sto. Domingo Church until St. Therese area. There are numerous side street ornamental plant vendors, some have their own planting plots in Bulacan and will supply what you need if you don’t find anything that interest you right away.Down south, Cavite has cheap and over-priced gardens too. Ponderosa Leisure Farm is quite a good source, I’m just not sure of the price and if non-residence can purchase.

    Mar 1, 2007 | 2:35 pm

  4. leroz says:

    I can never resist these two deliciously and truly filipino foods… but everytime I eat such foods, I would always regret eating much knowing what it can give to my body… fat and salt! the two really can even make me crave for more everytime i started nibbling… and of course to be consumed with iced cold softdrink… :-)

    Mar 1, 2007 | 2:59 pm

  5. ivyjelly says:

    you should try chicharitos’ chicken skin, not too oily and hairy hehe. :) They have a stall on the ground level of Market Market. That was last August so I’m not sure kung andoon pa sila.

    Mar 1, 2007 | 4:25 pm

  6. kaye says:

    cholesterol overload is what am thinking right now!! since i’ve had my gall bladder removed (which makes me a little less guilty eating these stuff!!) i’ve been scared out of hell from eating these teasers.. am much more afraid of getting stones blocking my ducts much more lodging in my pancreas… so lucky for those who can still savor these… haaay…

    Mar 1, 2007 | 4:31 pm

  7. honey says:

    The things you do for food research and educatioon, huh MM? hehehe

    Mar 1, 2007 | 6:03 pm

  8. Sandra says:

    Yummmmm MM — you are bringing back the year where I got pancreatitis for eating a lot of chicharon bituka. Ang sarap!

    Mar 1, 2007 | 6:35 pm

  9. ntgerald says:

    For plants, you may try the early morning Sunday offerings at the Lung Center tiangge.

    I go there very early (as in 5 AM) for the rare Philippine endemic orchids. For ornamentals, competetion for the rarest plants is not that keen, so 7 AM is a reasonable time to go.

    THe Philippine Orchid Society is having its mid year show right now at the atrium in front of the QC Hall. Aside from orchids, many vendors have ornamentals in stock as well.

    If you are dead serious in getting the rarer ornamentals, perhaps at better prices, I may give you some leads. I went on an 8-day joint Philippine Horticulture Society – Philippine Orchid Society tour of Chaing Mai and Bangkok last December, and I know quite a number of these vendors. Magsabi ka lang…

    Incidentally, my Philippine endemics are in http://www.flickr.com/photos/23166364@N00/

    Mar 1, 2007 | 9:00 pm

  10. Marketman says:

    ntgerald, thanks for the info…I think you are far too hard core for my backyard needs… I just went to your flickr site and your photos are utterly stupendous. WOW! Fantastic. Geez, and I NEVER knew we had such variety. What an absolute treat to see someone record this and share the photos. Anyone interested in orchids needs to see the site mentioned in the previous comment…stunning!

    I just need to fill terra cotta pots with reasonably priced stuff/greens…I have a black thumb generally speaking so I don’t do well with plants… as for orchids, I love them and my mom was an avid amateur collector (vandas, cattleyas, phaelaenopsis, dendrobiums, etc.), but ours today are limited to say 15-20 thriving phalaenopsis on our trees in the backyard…the storms late last year killed over 12 enormous spikes of flowers a few weeks before they bloomed…bummer. But I will take you up on the offer to identify suppliers if needed in future…many thanks!

    Mar 1, 2007 | 9:20 pm

  11. NYCMama says:

    As a child, we were lucky enough to live in between Unimart and Cherry Foodarama. If I had a food blog, each place warrants at least one post on the food you can buy apart from the groceries (meaning outside the groceries’ cash registers.) I left Manila 22 years ago — but way back then, Cherry was where we went for the best chicharon bulaklak. I can’t believe that they are still there (not sure that they are the very same vendors!) but this post sure brought me back! For that matter, I can’t believe Cherry is still there! Is it still pretty much the same size? It was always crowded way back, because they had really well priced groceries!

    Mar 1, 2007 | 10:45 pm

  12. MRJP says:

    When I was first introduced to bituka chicharon by my classmates in college, I was terrified just to look at it. I didnt grow up eating bituka of any animals because my family just didnt eat it. So I never had any until I went to college. But my classmates got me hooked to it and since then I always liked chicharon bituka. But my parents always discourage me from eating it because, they say, what if it was not cleaned thoroughly before it was cooked. I like it anyway. I probably cooked it myself if I knew how. Or maybe not, just the thought of cleaning the bituka makes me nauseous already.

    Mar 2, 2007 | 4:26 am

  13. mila says:

    Ivyjelly’s recommendation of the Chicharittos chicken skin chicharon is a good one. I also tried their fish skin (I think they use bangus) chicharon; reminded me of a Thai snack using salmon skin. Ivyjelly, the Chicharittos stand in Market!Market is there, at least as of last week.

    Mar 2, 2007 | 7:52 am

  14. joey says:

    How nice to hear of all those herbs growing here! You’re right of course, costs an arm and a leg, but just knowing we can grow them here…good sign…

    Oof! I love those little stalls that sell all manner of chicharon! I was really into bituka (baboy) for a while…deadly habit. Also chicken skin, which I like to refer to as “chicken chicha” :) If you can’t get into them in a big way, count yourself lucky. I dread to see what my insides look like (shudder)…but just can’t stop!

    Mar 2, 2007 | 10:58 am

  15. Betty Quon says:

    I am a novice gardener but I enjoy experimenting or growing out of the ordinary produce. Last year I experimented with growing square watermelons and I was successful! If you would like to plant herbs like basil thyme of even fennel bulb, I would be more than happy to send you seeds through my sister. She goes back home often. I also have seeds for the world’s largest and sweetest onion called Kelsae Giant. Let me know what other vegetables or herbs you are interested in planting.

    Mar 2, 2007 | 3:10 pm

  16. allen says:

    I like Susana peanuts sold pre-packed in microwaveable containers, sweet and salty with a hint of spice. Favorite chicharon is Lapid’s Freshly Popped. I’ve tried the chicken skin chicharon, tasty but quite hairy hehe. I remember my mom using chicharon bulaklak for dry dinuguan… really yummy!

    Mar 2, 2007 | 5:39 pm

  17. jules winnfield says:

    iligan’s chedeng peanuts are somehow yummy and tasteless at the same time. the thing is they don’t really taste like much to me, but dang! i can empty that little brown paper bag in nanoseconds, before i can even taste it! then i want to have some more… i don’t get it.

    my killer chicharon movie snack: i buy 100 grams each of chicharon bituka and bulaklak, and 50 grams chicken skin. i get the small pack of chicken skin and squeeze it tightly to grind them crispy babies into bits, like bacon bits. i combine the bituka and bulaklak in a bigger bag and pour in the skin-bits, add some iodized salt and a splash of vinegar (i would actually mist-spray the vinegar if i could). i close the bag and shake it like a polaroid picture(ü). now, the chicharon cart doesn’t have calamansi, so i go to the foodcourt where they give it out. i squeeze half a clamansi into the bag and shake that bag some more. to go with this, i have a hot tazo tea (from the nearest ‘where else’ coffeeshop) where i squeeze in the remaining half of the calamansi. i say a quick prayer, then walk in the dark moviehouse…

    instead of ‘chicken hair’, can’t we just think of them as ‘fried down feathers’… yummmmm….

    Mar 3, 2007 | 2:48 pm

  18. Marketman says:

    NYCMama, yup Cherry is STILL there and so are the Majestic Ham, Siopao and chicharon bulaklak vendors! Yikes, we are showing our AGE!!! Mila et al, I love chicharritos… Betty Quon, how kind of you to offer…thanks! Jules, you MUST MUST patent that chain of events for your snacking extravaganza…omigosh, that is OUTRAGEOUS!

    Mar 3, 2007 | 3:32 pm

  19. teny says:

    I just love this article. It started with ornamental plants and ended with chicharon bulaklak… :)

    Mar 9, 2007 | 12:25 pm

  20. JOEY says:

    You should try our chicharon bituka. Ours is grease & oil free.One will not get that sensation of oil ozzing all over your mouth when you bite on it.Upon looking at the container you will notice that there is no oil at the bottom.It has been inverted and brushed clean 3X over leaving you clean tasting chicharon bituka ( without the guilt !!!). You can get ours at the Salcedo saturday market & legaspi sunday market both in Makati

    Jul 14, 2007 | 3:09 pm


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