07 Oct2005

Regional or provincial trade fairs are almost always worth a visit, if fair1only for the food or other native delicacies. I missed this year’s Negros Fair (a rare disappointment, I am told due to the limited vendors participating) and I am not sure if I have missed the Bicol Fair as well, but I did make it to the Likha ng Central Luzon Fair at Megamall yesterday for just 20 minutes. I was rushing to another engagement but was determined to do a speed round through at least 40 vendors of native delicacies. The fair is on until Sunday, October 9, 2005 and it is worth a visit if you are in the area. First stop was the booth of fellow blogger Karen at Pilgrims Pots and Pans. Karen was testing the market with two offerings based on long-held family recipes for burong hipon (fermented shrimp and rice) and acharra na kangkong (pickled water spinach) and other vegetables. I tasted both and immediately bought two bottles of acharra. The burong hipon must be an acquired taste. Talk about intense! Apparently live shrimp are placed with rice and this ferments for several days until cooked up and bottled. It is not meant to be eaten alone as I did, but mixed with other food like fried fish, rice, etc.

Karen was kind enough to point me the direction of other booths with stuff worth tasting. kar1I had about 15 minutes to do the rest of the fair so I have to be honest and say this is a very cursory post. First up was some organically grown brown rice. I have visions of re-starting some sort of diet so I bought 3 kilos of the stuff… PHP105. Next booth diet thoughts were set aside as I tasted some superb banana chips…very thin slices fried up with a coating of sugar. Great snack food… I think they were PHP70 per plastic container. There were also greaseless peanuts at PHP80 or so a container… a brief attempt to figure out how they cooked them did not lead to a comprehensive answer… I presume they are roasted in a pan or oven without the addition of fat… but they weren’t terribly convincing…

I also met with the proprietor of Navarro’s talangka and ended up kar2 buying a small bottle of talangka (crab fat paste) and some ginisang bagoong (fried shrimp paste). Gosh, who mentioned a diet? Around the bend I tasted interesting drinkable yoghurt made by the Sta. Maria Dairy Farmers Cooperative. They had several flavors including strawberry, blueberry, mango, etc. I tasted a couple of them and liked them, though perhaps a bit too sweet for my tastebuds. But I am certain many would drink this down by the liter. Another favorite stall was a puto and cuchinta (rice cake) vendor from whom I bought 6 paper bags of the stuff at PHP20 a bag. Yum. She had white and red puto and cuchinta. Apparently the red puto is just the white version with the addition of brown sugar and slight variations to the cooking process. These were definitely puto from the province – they had flavor, density and heft. Delicious with the grated coconut provided.

Rushing out the door, I also got several kar3tinapa (smoked fish) from Bataan, where I am told they are the best as that is the actual source of the fish… I got baby banak tinapa and adolescent sized banak tinapa. There was also a sausage vendor selling longanissa, hamon recado and hamonado, etc. There hasn’t been time to taste test all of this but they all looked terrific. Damage to the wallet for 20 minutes of speed shopping, just over PHP1,000 but well worth it!



  1. dodi says:

    Thanks for that valuable info in your post MM! I will catch that fair. I was able to go to the Negros fair at the Gateway Mall in Cubao, and yes, it was a disappointment as there were only 6 or 7 vendors all selling the same stuff! But that’s probably because the Gateway exhibit space was quite limited. I did buy the usual piayas and also some mean chili sauce and some great TUYO ISPISYAL (tuyo bottled with olive oil & spices)- forgot my diet too!

    Oct 7, 2005 | 11:05 am


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  3. Bex says:

    Oh! Went to this trade fair two days in row! Bought sardines in oil made in Bataan and had a blast having free taste of almost everything… hahaha!

    Oct 7, 2005 | 11:09 am

  4. Butch says:

    Having origins from Pampanga but spending my entire life in Manila, a visit to the Central Luzon fair is like a pilgrimage. This is a chance for my wife (whose roots are from Bacolod) and my 9-year old daughter to sample the delicacies of the different provinces. Our favorites are araro and cornik from Bataan, pastillas from Magalang, among others. As for tinapa, the next time you drive up to Baguio, try stopping at any of the tinapa stalls in Capas, Tarlac. You should try the “tilapia tinapa”!

    Oct 7, 2005 | 11:21 am

  5. stef says:

    hi MM! i’m so excited you and karen got to meet!!! kinukulit ko na s’ya for more kuwento. and thanks for the recap of the many delectable offerings. sarap! i hope at least some of these products make it to our area of the globe.

    Oct 7, 2005 | 12:15 pm

  6. Gigi says:

    Good Heavens. Talk about Culinary Holocaust! The following statement conjured haunting imagery, Marketman! …

    “Apparently live shrimp are placed with rice and this ferments for several days until cooked up and bottled.”

    Good heavens. When I was a kid, my Dad would be so giddy with joy when he’d get his stash of radioactive purplish pink burong bangus naman from my Lola’s house. The smell was an olfactory assault and I imagined that the taste would be just as repugnant.

    Oct 7, 2005 | 2:11 pm

  7. ENYA says:

    Went to that trade fair with a couple of friends last Wednesday, Mr. MM.
    We had a blast sampling the different delicacies. I bought a big bag (800 grams) of banana chips for P30.00 (buy 4 bags and pay only P100).
    If you guys wanna know more about products (foods or otherwise) from different regions of the Philippines, grab a copy of (the Philippine edition) ENTREPRENEUR Magazine, October 2005 issue. Very interesting read.

    Oct 7, 2005 | 5:58 pm

  8. Marketman says:

    ENYA, thanks for that tip, will look for the magazine. Gigi, the smell was wicked foul, but that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate that others love burong hipon… Stef, lets see how observant Karen was… or you don’t get any details at all… Butch, someone told me the tinapa is best from Bataan daw because it is the source… maybe the roadside vendors in Tarlac import it from Bataan? Bex and dodi, I love tuyo in olive oil, do sardines taste very different?

    Oct 7, 2005 | 6:34 pm

  9. Karen says:

    You and Stef set me up! I’ll die from laughing. I was so disoriented how “Stef’s friend” was saying something about Marketman!

    The reactions I get from taste testing buro range from fear (of the unknown and/or the smell, hehehe) to the almost delirious joy of finding certain formulation after years of searching. When they ask me for the recipe, I point them to my blog post which has the history, scientific explanation and recipe.

    After I get enough sleep, go to the optometrist, check my sanity, I plan to write about the shortest EB in the history of food blogging, hahaha!

    Oct 8, 2005 | 1:22 am

  10. Marketman says:

    Karen, what is an EB?

    Oct 8, 2005 | 6:08 am

  11. Hchie says:

    If you missed the Negros Fair, maybe you can consider visiting Bacolod in the future. It would be a pleasure to bring you and your family to the foodie places especially Silay.

    Oct 8, 2005 | 1:26 pm

  12. Bubut says:

    if you happen to visit Romblon, try tasting their delicacy called “Sarsa” (what a unique name!). It was made of grated young coconut (but not buko) pounded while adding small shrimp. Wrapped in coconut leaf like suman and steamed for few minutes. It’s so delicious and i dont know how will I describe the taste but it doesnt smell bad like the burong hipon. It’s like an appetizer or served with fried fish and steamed talbos ng kamote. Yummy !

    Oct 8, 2005 | 2:40 pm

  13. Marketman says:

    Hchie and Bubut thanks for those tips… gosh, I would really like to do a Marketman hits the provinces series…maybe next year?!

    Oct 8, 2005 | 3:47 pm

  14. chrissy says:

    i live in ortigas center so i always get to check out the trade fairs in megamall, and i always end up with food! this time i got tinapa, yoghurt drinks and yummy cassava cake(!).

    the best i’ve been to this year would be the phil. national trade fair last march (organized by citem, if i’m not mistaken). lots of food! frozen pinangat, bottled tahong, home-made tsokolate, native delicacies… can’t wait for next year’s.

    EB is short for eyeball. tech speak for meeting online friends

    Oct 10, 2005 | 2:22 pm

  15. Marketman says:

    chrissy thanks for those tips on the trade fairs, will have to check out the phil. national trade fair next year. thanks for the definition of EB!

    Oct 10, 2005 | 4:58 pm

  16. cecil says:

    Yes! Tinapa from Bataan is also the best one for me also. I love the tinapang banak dipped in vinegar and little patis. yum! Sayang i weasn’t able to check fair. i was there pa naman last sunday oct 9

    Oct 12, 2005 | 5:12 pm

  17. julia says:

    Do you now any vintage markets here in Manila? I hear of a place Bambang of Bangbang(im not sure where it is)

    Oct 27, 2005 | 4:02 pm

  18. Marketman says:

    Sorry Julia, I am not knowledgeable about vintage markets in Manila…

    Dec 8, 2005 | 6:14 am

  19. Orlando L. Olano says:

    Do you know of any distributor for “burong hipon” here in Los Angeles? Or do you ever take on-line orders for shipping?

    Apr 16, 2006 | 2:27 am

  20. Marketman says:

    Orlando, sorry, I am not aware of a retailer or mail order source for burong hipon and I don’t sell anything, just write about it… thanks for visiting the website…

    Apr 17, 2006 | 1:48 pm

  21. russ says:

    hi do you have the contact # of Sta. maria dairy? they sell low fat yoghurt during the fair… i wanted to buy their product but i lost the contact # T_T thanx

    Aug 23, 2006 | 7:19 pm

  22. Marketman says:

    russ, sorry, I don’t have a contact number for Sta. Maria dairy…

    Aug 23, 2006 | 7:22 pm


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