01 Feb2014

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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…

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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…

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PHP100 buys you just 12 medium sized white shrimp (suahe). Yipes, that’s just above PHP8 per shrimp!

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Half a kilo of salay-salay yielded three smallish fish, also for PHP100.

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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.

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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!

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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.

 

COMMENTS:

  1. Dragon says:

    MM it’s “suahe”, not suave…

    Feb 1, 2014 | 4:43 pm

     
  2. Marketman says:

    Dragon, hahaha, spellcheck on this new version of wordpress is driving me nuts… I almost like it with all my original bobo spelling errors… will update now.

    Feb 1, 2014 | 5:06 pm

     
  3. Lee says:

    The trimmed fish looks weird. Hahaha.

    Feb 1, 2014 | 6:46 pm

     
  4. Charly says:

    I also notice while visiting some of the markets that salad greens are pricey compared to local vegetables. BTW, Mr MM I visited your Zubuchon branch in Escario twice this week while in Cebu the service from Dangz was great and the food was excellent. I have one suggestion to trim the bamboo hedge in front of the building that blocks the Zubuchon sign from the street. We missed the place while walking across the street from Casa Escano or maybe it is just tourist like us. But after a few steps around the corner the cops told us that we missed the place and the 7-11 store was our land mark.

    Feb 1, 2014 | 7:45 pm

     
  5. Betchay says:

    @dragon re: “suave” …. Maybe MM has been reading too much about the scandal of Mr.Suave (Vhong Navarro) ha!ha!ha! Can not blame him, it is on the headlines daily!

    Feb 1, 2014 | 7:56 pm

     
  6. tina says:

    I was in divisoria last week and saw fresh brocolli for only 35 pesos per head. I also bought strawberries, medium sized, packed in small styrofoams at 3 per P100. It’s good season for buying veggies and fruits at the market. My question, how do you prepare the baby garlic for adobo? Do you peel like normal garlic then slice like spring onions? I’ve never tried using baby garlic. I saw lots of them when i was in divi but didnt buy bec i wouldnt know what to do with them. Thanks!

    Feb 1, 2014 | 9:39 pm

     
  7. Alilay says:

    love the young garlic I make it like atchara and eat it with everything, I was able to buy some at a supermarket for $ .79 per bundle of 3 bulbs I am on the hunt again last time I went there’s nothing . Wings are more expensive now than say drumstick andbreast last week I got chicken legs and breast for $.99/ lb from foster farms, no luck on the wings maybe bec. It is Super Bowl season?

    Feb 1, 2014 | 10:15 pm

     
  8. Monique says:

    We are lucky we can still get some good finds for a hundred pesos no? You are so right on chicken and being on a budget.. Even years later the price of chicken in the States is still so reasonable.

    Feb 2, 2014 | 12:26 am

     
  9. Dragon says:

    MM & Betchay – maybe the suahe were suave…

    Feb 2, 2014 | 6:21 am

     
  10. Marketman says:

    Alilay, chicken parts here are more like $2 a lb or $4+ a kilo… double the U.S. — isn’t that crazy?! I realize the feed is mostly imported, but the labor and location here should cost a lot less… tina, I just remove the roots and outer layer of skin, and cut off most of the green leaving a clean immature “bulb” of garlic, then throw those into the adobo or whatever else you add it to… Charly, thanks for visiting Zubuchon twice… and yes, the bamboo is getting lush after only a year but it does provide shade and a nice green view from the inside of the store. Perhaps a trim is definitely in order. So happy you enjoyed your dining experience, I will make sure your server hears your positive comments… :)

    Feb 2, 2014 | 6:34 am

     
  11. Ruth says:

    Chicken wings are more expensive than chicken breasts nowadays here at our gocery stores in Texas. Maybe because of the popularity it gained from Buffalo Wings and superbowl parties but the cheapest I found is 50 cents/wing (which is a drumette or 1/2 of a whole wing), You were right, years ago, they sold for almost nothing just like the oxtails but now are more expensive than steaks.

    Feb 2, 2014 | 12:46 pm

     
  12. myra_p says:

    From the palengke, I can make a small pot of proper ginataan for about 100!

    1 coconut for gata, 30 pesos.
    1/4 kilo galapong, 25 pesos.
    A couple of saba bananas, 10 pesos.
    One small kamote, 15.
    One small takal of sago, 20.
    One roll of pandan leaves, 5 pesos.

    Feb 2, 2014 | 2:20 pm

     
  13. friedneurons says:

    Yep, I recently read an article that said chicken wings are now among the most expensive chicken parts in the US. Not that I care much.. I only buy thighs and/or drumsticks for my adobo, and chicken breast once in a great while for piccata.

    Feb 2, 2014 | 3:53 pm

     
  14. Ken_L says:

    “Seafood is now far more expensive than meat in many cases…”

    That’s the case in most of the world I’m afraid. But have you ever been to the Navotas City fishport? I recommend the early morning “small market”, not the night market that seems to have nothing but tilapia and bangus. You can get live hipon and a dazzling variety of fresh seafood. My favourite is always parrot fish at P70 a kilo, every bit the equal of lapux2 in my opinion (which costs maybe P350 there).

    Navotas has little to recommend it but the fishport makes up for a lot of other unattractive aspects. Don’t go when there’s a high tide or you’ll have wet feet :).

    Feb 2, 2014 | 4:00 pm

     
  15. corrine says:

    Vegetables have become so expensive! MM, do you put your veggies in baking soda solution before cooking to remove traces of pesticides? Or is it salt solution as my friend advised…about 30 minutes soaking before cooking?

    Feb 2, 2014 | 9:17 pm

     
  16. robin castagna says:

    MM, Ken_L, is parrot fish the same as Imelda? I’ve seen this blue-green fish in markets before but never took interest. Is it really good? Thanks.

    Feb 2, 2014 | 10:08 pm

     
  17. AM says:

    MM, yes I agree, years ago when I was also in college chicken wings were cheap. However, nowadays, here in CA they are expensive. Case in point, one night my sister and I had a craving for KFC and wanted chicken wings only to find out it was $1.50 a wing. We thought that was crazy so, we didn’t buy any and ended buying the meatier parts of the chicken, instead.

    Feb 3, 2014 | 4:14 am

     
  18. Ken_L says:

    Robin #14 this is parrot fish http://img.21food.com/20110609/product/1306435899917.jpg. It comes in various shades of green, blue and brown. It’s a staple of Chinese restaurants in many countries and in my opinion is the equal of lapu lapu. I usually buy fish around the 1 kilo size and steam or bake them whole.

    Feb 3, 2014 | 8:43 am

     
  19. Marketman says:

    Ken, I think parrotfish is locally called mol mol. In some seaside municipalities, consumers consider this a “second class” or even “third class” fish… probably because they have so many other better ones to choose from. But I agree with you, parotfish possesses a really nice white flakey flesh and is good grilled. But yes, you don’t see it in restaurant menus as often. I have yet to visit the Navotas market, and have that on my list of things to do… thanks! Corrine, no, I don’t bother, though we used to use a “wash” several years ago to clean up leafy greens but we don’t do it anymore. We just wash and soak the greens several times before using…

    Feb 3, 2014 | 2:17 pm

     
  20. titashi says:

    thanks for this, for someone like me who doesn’t go regularly to the market this gives me some perspective when i give my share for my household’s food expenses. And my mom is right! why is it fish costs more than chicken/pork?!?!!! i hope someone from the government checks on this.

    Feb 3, 2014 | 4:06 pm

     
  21. Mila says:

    Here’s a comparison of food prices in Shanghai, specifically the chicken wings. I went to both a wet market, a local supermarket, and an international supermarket (TESCO, although the items are primarily sourced in China). Price differences were about 10% different, where the wet market was selling chicken wings between 115-180pesos per 500 grams (based on the current exchange rate of CHY1=PHP7.5), and TESCO prices were closer to 130-200 pesos per 500 grams. What was interesting to discover was that the drummettes were cheaper than the tip and midjoint. All the three sources charged more if you buy just the tip/joint, but considerably less if you just want drumettes.
    Looking at this post makes me want to do a cost comparison of how much one can buy with 20rmb or 100 pesos (give or take a few pesos).
    Happy Chinese New Year MM and family!

    Feb 3, 2014 | 7:30 pm

     
  22. Botchok says:

    I miss eating “binawangan” using those young garlic, my grandma used to cook it when young garlic is in season.

    Feb 4, 2014 | 2:11 am

     
  23. Ken_L says:

    Navotas is a huge and fairly chaotic wholesale market by the way … find what you like and start looking around for someone to tell you the price. Usually there’ll be a minimum order of 3 or 5 kg. They’ll expect you to supply the plastic bags (those big red white and blue ones are on sale there), they’ll chuck your fish in the bag and take it to a scale, then give a docket to the sales clerk. Pay her and you’re on your own! I can’t find a good picture online but this gives a hint of what to expect http://www.texaninthephilippines.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Navotas-The-Fishing-Trading-Capital-of-the-Philippines.jpg

    You can get a pedicab out the front to take you back to wherever you parked your car, or to C4 road to get a taxi.

    Feb 4, 2014 | 8:52 am

     
  24. ami says:

    My love affair with chicken wings started after my friend brought us to the restaurant that started buffalo wings in Buffalo, NY. Back home, we try to replicate that flavor profile using Frank’s Red Hot sauce.

    Feb 4, 2014 | 10:43 am

     
  25. dobby says:

    Today at Aranque Market I got:

    A medium head of cauliflower for P10
    A quarter kilo of asparagus for P45
    A medium head of brocolli for 40
    and
    A bunch of baby garlic for 10

    I exceeded the budget by 5 pesos but I’m a big spender, hahaha :D

    Must be a really great season to buy vegetables. I would have bought more, they had different lettuce varieties,different beans,they even had Dal lentils and lots of other stuff you wont see in a grocery or the neighborhood market, but I only had 150 in my pocket and I had to leave money for my fare home, hahaha

    Just sharing, I love your blog and I talk too much :)

    Feb 7, 2014 | 2:36 am

     
  26. Marketman says:

    dobby, I like the Aranque market, did a post on it a while back. I need to visit it again soon. And yes, Jan/Feb is the best time to get veggies!

    Feb 7, 2014 | 7:48 am

     
  27. Risa says:

    I have to agree with MM that parrot fish WAS considered third class fish. Although white, the meat gets tougher than lapu lapu. But because of overfishing it’s become part of what is regularly available.

    Feb 7, 2014 | 12:26 pm

     

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