22 Feb2012

My favorite local supermarkets for browsing and finding unusual ingredients include Cash & Carry, Unimart, Landmark, and Metro Grocery at the Market!Market! Mall in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City. Metro Grocery (the chain includes large Metro groceries in Cebu that I troll for ingredients at as well) seems to crave variety and I almost always find things here that you wouldn’t find at say SM, Rustan’s, etc. I like finding unusual ingredients so I make it a point to cruise the aisles at Metro at least once a month or so… and these are my most recent finds. First, a nice block of belachan from Malaysia. It’s a shrimp paste, almost dried in consistency, and a critical ingredient for sambals and several other Malay and Indonesian dishes. It isn’t easy to find locally. And thankfully, folks like reader Mimi, have, in the past kept me supplied with it. But it’s nice to see it is available at the grocery now, and I hope some Indonesian or Malay cooks/restaurants don’t wipe out the stocks after I post this… :) Here is a link to a simple sambal belacan recipe.

I was drawn to this Clif Bar purely on the basis of its eye-catching packaging! Standing at the check-out counter, I spied this energy bar for hikers and climbers and purchased one to try. I haven’t eaten the chocolate almond fudge yet (haven’t had a chance to climb any mountains lately…hahaha), but I did like the packaging! :)

I’ve been trying to watch my caloric intake for the past month, after gaining weight during the holidays, so I have avoided deep fried food for the most part. Instead of using PAM or non-stick spray for some of my stir-fries, I noticed this Crisco branded 100% extra virgin olive oil spray. It was a bit pricey, but I thought I should give it a try. You really shouldn’t be frying with a good EVOO, so maybe this is all marketing hype, but to spray asparagus or other veggies before grilling or oven baking them seemed like a nice idea. You still get the olive oil, but in much less quantities…

Finally, some hot chili garlic sauce. This is available in several groceries and in places in Chinatown. It’s terrific for stirfries and other spicy dishes, so I always try to keep it in stock. Was happy to see it amongst several other Chinese condiments and ingredients available at Metro Grocery in Taguig. And no, I am not connected with the grocery in any way, nor do I get anything for mentioning any of these products on the blog. :)



  1. Susie says:

    MM, my husband likes to say I’m a cheap date because I’d rather troll groceries when we travel than go to a mall :-) Of course that does mean he never sees my grocery bills till it is way too late! Inasmuch as I despise the new arrrangement in the Metro grocery here in Cebu, it is my go-to for stuff I can’t find anywhere else. Last week I tried a salmon coconut curry recipe I found in Food & Wine magazine..fabulous. Only could make it because Metro carries the most far out Asian ingredients!

    Feb 22, 2012 | 4:58 pm


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  3. Pink Carnations says:

    Thank you Market Man for sharing with us! God bless you! Will you one day bring Zubuchon to Manila? :-)

    Feb 22, 2012 | 5:41 pm

  4. gensanite says:

    is the shrimp paste in this post, the same with our bagoong in any way? just wondering… :|

    Feb 22, 2012 | 7:51 pm

  5. EbbaBlue says:

    Its just so “funny” that I send many mixes/condiments to my relatives in the Philippines including noodles and dried pasta. When I call and ask them if they have used it, they always say they are still sitting in the pantry because they don’t know how to use them. With the noodles, they always cook them into spaghetti (hahaha, including the soba noodles and or corn / tapioca pasta). I guess I can’t blame them, if one is not familiar with the product, they won’t cook with it. Balsamic vinegar – they ask what is that. EVOO – they fried fish in it. Well, I am going home this April, so I can use them myself.

    Feb 22, 2012 | 9:23 pm

  6. doodles says:

    oooh luv the clif bars especially the chocolate chip ones.thanks for the tip Mr MM that it’ available locally.we buy those in bulk at costco with 3 varieties in each box & lug it all the way back here..its really great for snacking!since our weather is too humid,we store it in the fridge to make it ‘firmer’ to bite. :)

    Feb 22, 2012 | 9:46 pm

  7. juls says:

    MM, any luck spying Malaysian White Coffee?

    Feb 22, 2012 | 10:03 pm

  8. kitchen says:

    they also used to carry unusual mexican ingredient such as chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, but the chef from Ristras Mexican burrito bar did a major compulsive hoarding of such item. :( i was there when he did it. i was only able to grab 2 cans…

    Feb 22, 2012 | 10:22 pm

  9. maria says:

    Does anyone know where to get lee kum kee plum sauce in manila? otherwise i have to lug it from hongkong. Need it for a sweet sour pork recipe i promised the family. thanks in advance!

    Feb 22, 2012 | 11:51 pm

  10. betty q. says:

    MP…check out MM’s chicharon comparison post …the most recent one.

    Feb 23, 2012 | 1:04 am

  11. Stewart says:

    We are so spoiled with choices here in Vancouver, as all those things you have in todays’ post are available at our local chinese super grocer (T&T Supermarket or Price Smart) or Costco (the Cliff Bars). We even have a Mexican grocery nearby. It’s also nice to see more Pinoy goods for sale now. I can finally get saba or even pre-made turon!.

    I’m heading for Cebu this June to dive in Moalboal. I will definitely try to stop by one of the Zubuchon outlets or at the very least get some on at the airport on my flight back to Manila!


    Feb 23, 2012 | 1:44 am

  12. Footloose says:

    There are at least three T&T locations in the Greater Toronto Metro area. They are dynamite.

    Feb 23, 2012 | 2:16 am

  13. PITS, MANILA says:

    as soon as i’m in a new place, i head for the super-market or the wet-market. “sinusuyod” (closely checking out everything new) the whole place, trying their food etc. the mall areas tend to be the last i go to. if unsatisfied with the first trip, i transfer to another super-market or wet market. sometimes even going to the province where the item is produced.

    Feb 23, 2012 | 10:30 am

  14. ivan flores says:

    you should try the clif bar. i use it when i go biking with friends..it will surely get you going

    Feb 23, 2012 | 11:59 am

  15. joey says:

    We always make the trip to Metro for condiments…especially Asian condiments. It really does have such goodies in stock.

    Feb 23, 2012 | 2:08 pm

  16. Mateo's mom says:

    An alternative to store-bought oil sprays is the Misto Oil Sprayer. You can fill it with whatever oil you want, and use it over and over. I love mine!


    Feb 23, 2012 | 3:29 pm

  17. Marketman says:

    Mateo’s Mom, that reminds me, we have one tucked away somewhere… I have to look for it. Stewart, yes, please do drop by… I am in Cebu twice a month, so there’s a chance I might be there when you are… maria try DEC at the first floor of V-Mall in Greenhills, or Unimart, or Cash & Carry… juls, didn’t see malaysian white coffee, but I wasn’t looking for it…

    Feb 23, 2012 | 6:29 pm

  18. tonceq says:

    Too bad they don’t carry pectin anymore (or at least when I checked yesterday…). I was really in need of some.

    Feb 23, 2012 | 10:19 pm

  19. rain says:

    To Juls – Shopwise (Libis) carries Old Town White coffee (=

    Feb 24, 2012 | 5:16 pm

  20. Odit says:

    Isn’t guinamos of Iloilo and Bacolod in dried form too?

    Feb 25, 2012 | 12:40 pm

  21. Dee says:

    They do have the chili garlic sauce and also other Chinese condiments at the The Big Little Store at Gilmore (beside Shakeys). Their grocery section holds a variety of products from condiments to dried & fresh vegetables and frozen dumplings.

    Feb 25, 2012 | 2:41 pm

  22. maria says:

    Thanks Marketman! Just read this, I already ended up lugging some groceries from HK the other day: several bottles of plum sauce from Wellcome Supmkt, 5 spice powder and a block of parmesan from the Food Hall at Pacific Place, etc. Reading the posts here, I’m glad to be in good company. Does feel embarassing sometimes esp when travelling in a group, when I want to hit the grocery (huh?!) when everyone else wants to hit the Outlets.

    Feb 29, 2012 | 11:39 pm

  23. Janice says:

    Hi Do you know where to find queso fresco and canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce here in
    Manila? Thank you!

    Apr 3, 2013 | 5:03 pm

  24. Mia says:

    Hi, just wondering if you know where to get Soft Corn Tortilla here in Metro Manila?

    Thank you!

    Jan 14, 2014 | 11:18 am

  25. Marketman says:

    Mia, they sometimes have soft tacos at S&R, but I don’t think I have seen soft corn tortillas…

    Jan 14, 2014 | 1:10 pm

  26. joseph says:

    Janice, isn’t queso fresco the same as Indian paneer and cottage cheese? If you have no luck finding queso fresco, they are easy to make at home. Paneer is available in Assad grocery. I have seen canned chipotle in a dollar store in EdSA central., Mandaluyong. 50 pesos, small can.

    Jan 25, 2014 | 9:14 pm


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