Cebuanos or regular visitors to Cebu know about Metro Gaisano Grocery Stores. The Metro at the Ayala Mall in Cebu is enormous and packed to the gills with goods. I love it and always make it a point to shop there for pasalubongs, unusual imported goods not found elsewhere, or just to see what is on offer. Their prices are generally low and the selection downright impressive. I always wondered who did their purchasing or merchandising because they have some really unusual things, often items not otherwise distributed in the Philippines. The imported selection of cookies, munchies, teas, olive oils, etc. are sometimes even much better than the swankiest groceries in Manila. Well, if you didnâ€™t already know, Metro is now in Manila, at the Market!Market! Mall of Ayala in Fort Bonifacio.
Frankly, it doesnâ€™t have anywhere near the traffic of the Cebu store yet so the selection of fresh fruits and vegetables, fish and meats leaves something to be desired. But what it does have is that quirky mix of dried and bottled goods that I like so much. I hit this grocery about once a month to stock up on things I donâ€™t easily find anywhere else. On a recent visit, I marveled at the selection of instant noodlesâ€¦ I know, I know, how often do I eat instant anything but it was impressive nonetheless! I also found Frankâ€™s Hot Sauce, the original concoction used for proper Buffalo Chicken Wings (Tabasco is a substitute only when Frankâ€™s is not available), bottled artichokes that didnâ€™t give you a nosebleed because of the price, nice dried peppers, Vlasic pickles, V8 juices in at least 4 different sizes and package types (for all you South Beach devotees), lots of Twinnings tea flavors, Chinese, Japanese and Korean condiments and sauces, great cereal choices, canned nuts in flavors I have never heard of and a whole other smattering of â€œstuff.â€
I couldnâ€™t do my near daily grocery run there because the fruit, vegetable and meat section just isnâ€™t up to snuff yet. But if the volume of shoppers builds up, things will probably improve. For now, itâ€™s the unusual chocolate bar, vinegar or hot sauce that is going to keep me coming backâ€¦