27 Jul2010


We ventured to the Salamanca residential district one morning, and had the taxi drop us off at Calle Ayala. The primary objective was to visit the Mercado de la Paz, a wonderful yet substantial neighborhood market that was clearly frequented by locals. Upscale, but real. A modest pasilyo or passageway from the street led the way to a flower shop, two jamon purveyors and the entrance to the market. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but as soon as we got inside, I had a big smile on my face…


We were there fairly early on a Saturday morning, so things were just beginning to stir. But there were enough vendors open to whet one’s appetite, and to realize, had we had access to a kitchen while in Madrid, we would have eaten even more wonderful food than we had already managed to stuff into ourselves over the past week!


The market was extremely well organized and the breadth of offerings from produce to seafood to charcuterie and cheese, etc. was just amazing. Gosh, I could live in this neighborhood, definitely.


The jamon stall out front was amazing, offering some 15+ types of hams, with the prized jamon iberico de bellota alone coming in 4 or 5 different qualities and from different manufacturers. The pate, sausages, etc. were incredible…


The seafood vendor had a better selection than the one at the Mercado de San Miguel, and you could make a seafood paella with a visit to just this one stall. Volume of turnover must be high on a daily basis, judging from the volume of goods on offer.


Many of the items on offer were still alive and seeing crabs still crawling or capable of crawling was an unusual site for these inner city markets in large cities in Europe…


The vegetable and produce sellers had a wonderful selection of greens and veggies on offer…


…olive oil, sherry vinegar, and other bottled goodies were so tempting, if not for restrictive baggage allowances.


Chilled display cases had everything from caviar to smoked fish, pate, pickles, etc.


The market was as clean and comfortable as a mall, but with authentic food vendors within.


One vendor only offered different types and qualities of hamburger patties, ready to cook (!?)


The mother lode of olives.


Capons and all manner of fowl.


Dressed rabbits, all ready for a stew or to be included in an authentic Valencian paella.


Customers were clearly regulars, with an occasional tourist snapping photos here and there. Mrs. MM and I were the only obvious tourists in the hour that we spent there, as opposed to the Mercado de San Miguel that is practically a tourist destination in the guidebooks!


Legumes and rice, here the arroz bomba for roughly Euro6 a kilo or PHP400 a kilo, not cheap! I found a cheaper quality of Spanish paella rice (not Bomba) at Terry’s the other day at PHP220 a kilo… :)


A price list of Jamon. The finest they had on offer, Euro 64 per kilo for a bone-in ham. If you purchased an 8 kilo leg, that would run roughly Euro500+ or PHP35,000!


Bacalao or salt cod in several forms.


And finally, figs and kumatos. Never heard of a kumato? Neither had we, read more about it here. In an ideal world, we would have a few hours at this market with an unlimited budget before being whisked off by car to the airport to return home to Manila with an unlimited baggage allotment on our airline. I would easily be able to fill several coolers with food to be leisurely enjoyed with friends and family back at home. :) You can daydream every once in a while, no?



  1. Franky says:

    rabbit isn’t much of a food item in the islands, is it? it has long been my opinion that the cuter the animal is, the tastier it will be. but that’s just me. but seriously, is rabbit meat widely accepted in the philippines?

    Jul 27, 2010 | 11:30 pm


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  3. zena says:

    I could live in this neighborhood too. =)

    Jul 27, 2010 | 11:32 pm

  4. Footloose says:

    Ditto here but indefinitely. Unusual name for a market, something I usually link with sombre less lively places. Kumato is a Market Manila scoop for me. Does it not make you rejoice to encounter a new variety or hybrid of fruit or vegetable? I think it brings more joy to people than discovering there is traces of water in Mars.

    Btw, don’t you like using orthographic symbols? I think they are neat and stylish. You know, tilde for your ñ if you use Mac is option n, cedilla for Niçoise is option c, accent aigu for paté is option e, etc. They are all here, in case you are interested: http://tlt.its.psu.edu/suggestions/international/accents/codemac.html I even use diaeresis now as in preëminent or coöperate just like The New Yorker.

    Jul 28, 2010 | 12:01 am

  5. natie says:

    that dream could have been a reality if you were a top govt official of the old administration..hehe..

    i love markets!!

    Jul 28, 2010 | 12:03 am

  6. Tricia says:

    nice one natie, but it’s true! they have no baggage allowance as they have the whole plane to themselves! :D

    Jul 28, 2010 | 1:44 am

  7. marilen says:

    Gone to food heaven!! Thank you, MM, we love ‘traveling’ along with you and family!!

    Jul 28, 2010 | 5:29 am

  8. millet says:

    again, if i came here, i’d tell my companions to leave me there and come back for me next week ;-)

    Jul 28, 2010 | 6:12 am

  9. Connie C says:

    Kumato: a kamatis tomato fusion? a genetically engineered product for sweetness and color? though Europeans generally frown on this practice. For all we know we may have been buying similar products engineered to withstand travel and packaging.

    What ‘ya tink BettyQ?

    Jul 28, 2010 | 6:34 am

  10. Marketman says:

    Connie, it is not genetically modified, according to their website. Rather interesting background, actually.

    Jul 28, 2010 | 9:43 am

  11. junb says:

    This is a paradise for a foodist :) …and that Jamon iberico it is still cheap compare to how much you’ll pay on it in Asia.

    Jul 28, 2010 | 9:45 am

  12. joyce says:

    the best part of this web site for me are the market tours :P mm maybe you mean “modest pasilyo” not “moest pasilyo”?

    Jul 28, 2010 | 10:03 am

  13. Marketman says:

    Joyce, yes thanks, edited. I love markets. franky, I don’t think there is any place that regularly sells dressed rabbit or should I say “undressed” rabbit in Manila.

    Jul 28, 2010 | 10:09 am

  14. Quillene says:

    Haaay! If only our local markets are this well kept, and sanitary!

    Jul 28, 2010 | 10:15 am

  15. jack says:

    that would be my sentiment too Quillene… how i wish to enter one of our local markets here in the Philippines to be that clean and well kept one day! to add: with dry tiled floors and no flies

    Jul 28, 2010 | 3:45 pm

  16. Connie C says:

    Quillene, Jack, while some of us may prefer the clean well kept markets and for good reasons, I like the vibrancy and less sterile organic and close to the earth feel of our wet markets.

    Jul 28, 2010 | 5:02 pm

  17. Footloose says:

    Yep I can live there too and indefinitely. Kumato is a Market Manila scoop for me. Does it not make you rejoice to encounter a new variety or hybrid of fruit or vegetable to try? It sure does me. I think it brings more joy to people than say discovering traces of water on the surface of Mars.

    Jul 28, 2010 | 6:37 pm

  18. Marketman says:

    Thanks John D, the reticent commenter and consistent lurker, for texting me to revise “motherload” to mother lode. I have never found the mother lode of gold or silver, hence the poor spelling skills…hahaha. Thanks JD. Footloose, it’s getting harder and harder to scoop produce for you and likeminded readers in search of the unusual… :)

    Jul 28, 2010 | 6:59 pm

  19. Lava Bien says:

    @ Franky. I don’t believe that “conejos” (rabbits) are served on Filipino households for dinner or lunch, maybe the street corner drinking sessions dude would enjoy it, not the typical family get together.

    I miss the Rabbit Stew, we use to have this almost every week back in Salamanca. Hang the meat in the basement where we keep our barrels of home made wines for about 3 days and yum, yum, yum.

    I think Filipinos would love calderatang rabbit!

    Jul 28, 2010 | 10:28 pm

  20. farida says:

    Thanks MM, great pictures. Yes, we went to a similar market in Barcelona and Toledo and was just awed at their offerings and the very clean malls. They even have a booth for chicken where they sliced the chicken on order. And the food arrangements are just wonderful. I could have spent hours just going through each booth. Would have gotten pictures too but run out of battery on my third day. Had to depend on my daughter’s camera and the disposable kodak, :) .

    Jul 28, 2010 | 11:39 pm

  21. Franky says:

    i’d serve samples of rabbit stew, call it “cuteness in a cup.” who knows, it might catch on.

    Jul 29, 2010 | 1:22 am

  22. kurzhaar says:

    mmm, rabbit! One of my favourite meats…and if you are going to eat meat at all, rabbit production is ecologically sound as you can raise rabbits on grass and vegetable trimmings and the feed-to-meat conversion rate is very high. And rabbits reproduce…like rabbits!

    I do a paella with rabbit and green beans (favas if in season) or perhaps artichokes. My paellas tend to be spare on the non-rice ingredients, but I use very good rice and saffron and cook over a wood or charcoal fire. The soccarat and slight smokiness is delicious.

    I will roast a young rabbit, or braise it in vermouth. Most people who claim they don’t like rabbit have never eaten it. I find it tastier than most chicken, and it’s certainly better for you than factory-raised grain-fed antibiotic-stuffed chicken.

    Jul 30, 2010 | 5:15 am

  23. Marketman says:

    kurzhaar, yes, I do like rabbit in paella. And the Teen has ordered whole roast rabbit and enjoyed it. :)

    Jul 30, 2010 | 7:08 am


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