My early morning Saturday market trips are extremely relaxing and while it may seem counter-intuitive, I seem to get “energized” after an hour or so picking out vegetables, fruit and sometimes, seafood as well. This morning, as I gathered baskets full of produce, I wondered what a PHP100 would buy you today…
First up, PHP100 buys you a kilo of incredibly fresh patani or broad beans, still in their pods, photo up top. The beans, when peeled, yield several cups full of light green beans, ready to be blanched and turned into a healthy spread, or added to a mixed vegetable dish, or even tossed into a nice pinakbet.
PHP100 also gets you roughly 1.4 kilos of the most amazing looking cauliflower from the Mt. Province. Today, the cauliflower and broccoli seemed to be really robust, perhaps due to the cold spell in upland farms. At say PHP70 a kilo, cauliflower is more often than not, an overlooked, healthy cruciferous vegetable. You can bake it whole, add it to pasta, make it into a gratin, etc. The photo features roughly 1.6 kilos of cauliflower, so you would have to shave off 10% to be totally accurate about what a hundred pesos gets you. But the heads were nice and big, tight and creamy off-white. Very, very fresh. And just in case you tend to be careless at groceries, I just spied not as nice local cauliflower in a grocery for 99.95 per kilo (vs. PHP70 at market), and just one shelf up, they had cauliflower “heads” (probably imported but not better looking) for a whopping PHP319 a kilo! If you don’t watch it, you could be paying from PHP70-319 per kilo for the essentially the same thing, that’s ridiculous.
I also got 5 big ears of yellow corn for PHP100, or PHP20 per piece. In Silang, Cavite less than a week ago, the asking price was roughly PHP16.66 per piece. When corn fields reach their peak of harvest in Silang, you can buy these for roughly PHP12 each.
Fresh young garlic only appears briefly in markets around this time of year, and I picked up a nice bunch for PHP100 this morning. I love to add this in volume to pots of slow-cooked adobo to provide a nice garlicky, yet ultimately naturally sweet tinge to the finished dish.
The cook was particularly quick with her knife, and cleaned all the fish before I could photograph them. At any rate, PHP100 buys you just one small talakitok or jack these days. Seafood is now far more expensive than meat in many cases…
PHP100 buys you just 12 medium sized white shrimp (suahe). Yipes, that’s just above PHP8 per shrimp!
Half a kilo of salay-salay yielded three smallish fish, also for PHP100.
I don’t buy meat or chicken in wet markets, but I was curious how much chicken PHP100 would buy, and the answer is roughly 6 large meaty wings worth (from a reputable grocery). They cost roughly PHP16 each.
While at college on a limited budget, my roommate and I practically lived on chicken wings which were given away for next to nothing at U.S. groceries… and to this day I can’t look at a chicken wing without thinking “tight budget” — yet they taste absolutely wonderful!
Finally, my suki Mary at the FTI market had FANTASTIC strawberries today. Larger than the usual Benguet berries, they were asking PHP100 for a pack of roughly 350 grams (PHP280 per kilo) that were a lot less than the same berries in a local grocery for PHP490+ per kilo (or up to PHP900 a kilo for the tasteless good-looking imports). I picked up four packs, didn’t bargain with my suki, as usual, and paid my bill. In the car, I checked my handwritten bill and noticed that Mary (suki) had discounted the berries significantly, presumably in lieu of pesky bargaining, so actually, I got a bowl and half of strawberries for PHP100, which is a pretty good bargain.