04 Jul2012

Gorgeous apricots and figs from a reader in Saudi Arabia arrived by courier at the home of my assistant. Long time readers of the blog know I rarely accept gifts and freebies, it’s a way of maintaining objectivity and credibility with respect to writing about food, retail items, restaurants, markets, events, etc. But sometimes, I simply can’t turn them down. Usually they are from readers, most of whom I do not know and have never met, and who have never asked me to write something in return. I don’t encourage the practice, but I am very grateful for the things and thoughts they send over. It was easier when my identity was quite well-guarded, but now that we have the restaurants, some folks just drop things off, telling the crew “Para kay Marketman,” to the amusement or bemusement of folks nearby… :) In this first case, Pio was one of the winners of the t-shirt contests we had a couple of months ago. I sent him his prize by courier but was forced to give a return address. My assistant placed his own address to avoid giving mine away… A few weeks later, this bulky package arrived at my assistant’s home, addressed to Marketman… It contained a thank you note for the t-shirt and these wonderful dried fruits. It completely floors me that Pio would think to send me these middle eastern jewels of sorts, and that he would carry them all the way home as part of a limited luggage allowance. Maraming, maraming salamat Pio. I wish you and all marketmanila.com readers in Saudi Arabia all the best! And I apologize for the much delayed thank you.

Imagine my surprise when a bottle of homemade bagoong was delivered by courier to one of our restaurants in Cebu! Many thanks to “greens_blossoms” for the treat! A slow-cooked, sweet salty bagoong alamang was perfect with a bowl of sour mangoes. The crew had some too and really liked it. I tried to replicate a version of this using “greens_blossoms” instructions but the heat was on too high and I ended up with caramelized bagoong… hahaha. At any rate… I appreciate both the bagoong and the detailed instructions of how it was made. Thank you.

From Nadia & Rene, I received two wonderful bottles of mulberry jam from Dumaguete. Accompanied by a wonderful note written on Florentine note paper, I was again floored by the generosity of readers, and many of whom I will be unable to reciprocate except through the posts and recipes on this blog… The jam was thick and quite tasty, sweet and sour at the same time. I almost thought it had notes of sampaloc flavor, but it was just the balance of acidity and sugar. Nice on toast… I am surprised that mulberries are grown in abundance in the middle of the Visayas… could they be a byproduct of say a silkfarm? Thank you Nadia & Rene!

And last, but definitely not least, just the most recent arrival, this outrageously cute pink pencil and eraser from Mimi, a long-time reader from Singapore, who sent this by international post. Mimi is constantly plying me with new ideas by email and has also sent several wonderful photos of things I should try to do, like siopao with tops that look like pigs… :)

Thank you all for your wonderful gifts, really, you shouldn’t have, but I am very grateful. I hope the blog has brought diversion, interest, amusement, and practical advice and tips to you and your family over the years. It’s gratifying enough to know that folks all around the world have cooked a recipe or two from the blog and enjoyed a meal that in some small way, was helped by a post on marketmanila.com. That is reward in and of itself. :)



  1. ami says:

    I had to do a double take when you mentioned Mulberry jam and Dumaguete in the same sentence. Didn’t know we had those here.

    Jul 4, 2012 | 10:04 am


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  3. Heck says:

    Mulberry trees are also grown in Benguet / Cordillera region. Acres of land are now planted with the tree for silk production.

    Jul 4, 2012 | 10:33 am

  4. Gej says:

    Certainly not just a recipe or two! Your ideas, posts , and many more, have guided our household towards more delicious, yet not necessarily more expensive food. In fact, quite the other way around – we are eating really good food while eating out less. From roasted bell peppers, to greek chops, to greater awareness of what is seasonal (and therefore more affordable, yet more delicious) and when, figuring out how to work around seasonality, working with what’s left in the chiller, and many many more, I’ve had quite an education from Market Manila . And I’ve even barely dug into the archives.

    And the comments from this community of Market Manila followers!

    It’s been quite enriching, while very entertaining! Salamat MM!

    Jul 4, 2012 | 12:53 pm

  5. Cecile says:

    Like Sir Gej> thanks MM for the posts that i look forward to reading each day and for all the food tips and other info surprises that I learned and put into practice…I feel happy also in knowing ’bout the things that fans give you which I know is their way of expressing how they feel towards the blog and you! btw, mulberry grows in the wild in Ilocos and I even saw some in CALABARZON!

    Jul 4, 2012 | 2:15 pm

  6. scott says:

    I agree with all four readers above, before I retired..I would be on a aircraft carrier in the Pacific…and reading your blog MM was something I looked forward to everyday, your writing and and recipes…makes you a very good teacher! thank you.

    Jul 4, 2012 | 3:05 pm

  7. Kat says:

    The photo of mulberry jam brought childhood memories. I used to climb up strange berry tree in our frontyard and enjoy sweet little black berries (my father used to call it “strawberry na ligaw” as we lived in quezon city) when i was a kid.It’s just now that i realized it was a mulberry tree.i too had to do a double take at the photo and check wiki about it.:)

    Jul 4, 2012 | 4:45 pm

  8. K says:

    Siopao with piggy tops–already being done by Spring by Ha Yuan eatery on Benavidez St. in Legaspi Vill. :)

    Jul 4, 2012 | 4:58 pm

  9. josephine says:

    It’s to you to whom we are endlessly grateful.

    Jul 4, 2012 | 6:26 pm

  10. marilen says:

    MM, I am happy that you are the recipient of wonderful surprises from the MarketManila family. I know it is because you bring much joy, generosity and delight to all those who follow your blog. We are constantly amazed!

    Jul 4, 2012 | 8:37 pm

  11. Nadia & Rene says:

    Actually, the family that makes the mulberry jam only has a handful of mulberry trees on their property (2 large mature ones and about 8-10 younger ones). If I am not mistaken the 2 big ones were wild and the rest were propagated by the lady managing the farm in Sibulan (Plantasia Park). She said that they would need to harvest the mulberries very early in the morning or else the birds would eat most of the fruits by midday. And with regards to the recipe, all she puts in the jam is sugar and a bit of calamansi juice…hence the hint of acidity. It is really a great find for those living in or near Dumaguete City.

    Jul 4, 2012 | 8:54 pm

  12. tonceq says:

    Whenever someone in our household makes a “hiccup” of adding too much sugar to our bagoong, we would fondly call it “Bagoong Jam” or “Bagoong candy” depending on which stage of done-ness the sugar reaches. :)

    Jul 5, 2012 | 5:07 am

  13. Mimi says:

    MM: It is us who should thank you for the wealth of information you so freely give. I used to have to make long distance calls to ask for recipes and procedure. Even if there is Skype and Facetime, the oldies at home have resisted being high tech, so voice calls are still needed. Now, I just search your archives if I need info. Somehow, for me, recreating Filipino recipes keep my homesickness at bay. I have not been home for over four years, so the nearest I can get home is tasting and smelling (sometimes in memory) through food. And your blog provides that.

    Jul 5, 2012 | 5:15 am

  14. datingpulubi says:

    been following your blog since 2008. taking a peak at least twice a week. now that I’m using a smart phone I read it every day tru opera mobile shortcut. used some of your recipes on a family get together. thank you marketman. i love your chicken inasal and tocino.

    Jul 5, 2012 | 10:47 am

  15. corrine says:

    Wow, all those delicious goodies! Nakakangasim yung mangga, *drool*

    Jul 5, 2012 | 4:41 pm

  16. passive.observer says:

    MM any insight on where I could score dried figs and apricots in Manila?

    Jul 5, 2012 | 4:46 pm

  17. Marketman says:

    passive observer, they have them at Santis and S&L Fine Foods… Rustan’s might have them too. In weekend markets like Mercato, there used to be nut dealer and occasionally a dried fruit purveyor, if I recall correctly.

    Jul 5, 2012 | 5:31 pm

  18. greens_blossoms says:

    Awwwww, MM…That is really nothing compared to your generosity in sharing with us your recipes, travels, insights, discoveries …You have allowed us to be part of a ‘family’…You are our modern day super hero…our “MARKETMAN” :-)

    Slowly and at low heat, cook the bagoong so it doesn’t turn into candied bagoong…lol

    Jul 5, 2012 | 7:30 pm

  19. Gezel says:

    I learn to cook from your blog Marketman and the number 1 favorite is the lamb shanks, waiting for that Marketman Recipe Book it would be a bestseller. Cheers

    Jul 5, 2012 | 10:56 pm

  20. Papa Ethan says:

    The congeniality and goodwill fostered within this virtual community of kindred stomachs is truly remarkable. Thank you for putting it all together, MM!

    Jul 6, 2012 | 7:08 am

  21. Suzette says:

    @passive observer and MM: Rustan’s Ayala has set up a dried fruit stand a few weeks ago. They have figs, apricots, apples, persimmon, strawberries, blueberries, pomelo, lychees etc.

    Jul 6, 2012 | 11:35 am

  22. netoy says:

    MM – i came across this blog about you and the zubuchon:


    like this blogger, i am thankful for the countless information and cooking inspirations I have derived from your site. i agree with the common sentiments expressed herein – i do THANK YOU!!!

    Jul 7, 2012 | 2:56 am

  23. Gina says:

    @passiveobserver, Shopwise in Cubao has an extensive dried fruit section that includes fig and apricot. Eastwood Mall, 2nd and 3rd levels, has a food tiangge every weekend– there’s a stall that sells nuts, am not sure if it has dried fruit as well; but check it out for other interesting food finds as well.

    Jul 13, 2012 | 5:48 pm


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