For a country that is smack in the middle of a sea of tea drinkers (China, Japan, Indonesia, etc.), itâ€™s a bit odd that we are so coffee-centric. Or is it? Nearly 400 years of the Spanish with their hot chocolate and coffee, and 50 years of the Americans with their brilliant addition to our hot beverage selection in the form of Nescafe instant coffee, have left an indelible mark on our national caffeine psyche. If you ever get a chance to see the spectacular tea plantations in the hills of Bogor, Java and watch the harvesters go down rows of waist high bushes picking only the youngest and choicest light green leaves, you might reconsider tea as your caffeine beverage of choice. Well, that was a roundabout introduction to Pascaleâ€™s Iced Teas at the Salcedo Saturday Market!
If readers are wondering why I am featuring so many vendors from this one market, I recently did a review of that market and interviewed several of the purveyors or entrepreneurs over several visits. Bear with me, I will be moving on to other markets as well in the weeks ahead. Pascaleâ€™s Iced Tea offers several unusual fruit flavored (peach, raspberry, mango, passionfruit, blackcurrant, etc.) iced teas. Itâ€™s a refreshing beverage after munching on a stick of barbecue, together with your muffin, or even after wolfing down too many bud-buds. While I would normally reach for a Diet Coke, I make believe that iced tea is a better caffeine hit so early in the morning. And I prefer it to coffee. When you order, the server puts hot water in a cup and steeps your tea (make sure they wait at least 4-5 minutes or it will be too watery) so it is as fresh as it can be. Then she adds shaved ice, a slice of dayap or lemon, and a sweetener of your choice (honey, sugar, artificial) is added if desired. Yum. PHP50.00 per drink.
Pascaleâ€™s also offers fish balls and squid balls for PHP25.00 per stick. Cooked right in front of your eyes, the hot squid or fish balls comes with a choice of three sauces â€“ sweet, spicy and sweet & spicy. My wife tried the sweet & spicy sauce and felt it could have used more spice. Pascaleâ€™s is run by entrepreneur Celina Banzon who noticed that there was a dearth of interesting iced teas in the market. She shares her stall with her sister who sells delicious Indonesian food such as beef rendang, sate, etc. Ms.Banzon can be reached at 0918-909-1574.