08 Sep2007

Wild Arugula!!!

by Marketman


Yup, that was my reaction when Gil Carandang and RT Gonzalez of Herbana Farms, casually handed me a bunch of greens and said, maybe you would like to try this… LIKE to TRY this??? I immediately asked if they had several bunches more, but there wasn’t any left. I have been trying to grow “wild” arugula for months! I even brought back tons of seeds from Italy last year and while I always got them to sprout (even using expensive non-soil mediums), I never got them to grow much further than a few millimeters. Mrs. MM and I once grew rocket or the bigger arugula in a terrace plant box when we lived in Jakarta…it was so bitter even the birds choked on it… So why was I so thrilled to find wild arugula at the market this morning? Because it tastes peppery and slightly bitter, and it is a nice addition to a mixed salad. We ate a lot of this green on a recent trip to New York, and at restaurants in Italy last year…so I am thrilled that we have started to grow it locally…


Also at Herbana Farms, I got lots of terrific organic yellow corn (they also had white corn), some fragrant sweet basil, dayap and I accepted a bottle of homemade vinegar from Gil that I haven’t tasted yet because of the cold I am nursing. Other interesting finds at this stall this morning included organic carrots still with their bushy tops on (they were all spoken for so I couldn’t get any… shucks, our pet rabbit LOVES these carrot tops), red katuray flowers, potted kaffir or makrut lime plants, etc. This is DEFINITELY one of my favorite produce vendors at the Salcedo Market or anywhere in the Philippines. They have limited offerings, and because they are organic, some of the stuff looks less than attractive, but they always have interesting things on offer. If you have never visited their stall, make a point of it the next time you are at the Salcedo Market on Saturdays…

Also at Salcedo, my quick trip yielded paper bags full of kuchinta, puto puti, puto pula, 3 bibingkas, 1 large Medina ensaimada, 4 cassava cakes and a butter cake from Vargas, and some fruit from Frutesca. Now I can crawl back into bed…

P.S. In case you think this is a really isolated ingredient, I just trolled through my archives and found these related posts:

Arugula Microgreens from Fresh Field
Pizza with Arugula Microgreens a la Edwin
Lobster Salad with Arugula Microgreens and Pomegranates a la Marketman
A Pizza Dinner in Rome with wild arugula as a topping
A post on the more common rocket or arugula or rugola
Some Salads with Arugula Greens
Beet, Arugula, Pear, Goat Cheese & Walnut Salad a la Marketman
Fennel, Arugula, Pear, & Sagada Orange Salad a la Marketman



  1. Maria Clara says:

    I love wild arugula salad with sliced pear, shaved parmesan cheese and balsamic vinegar dressing. I love them also in mozzarella grilled sandwich/panini with olive oil marinated sundried tomatoes, fresh basil and olive tapenade. Your kakanins are excellent picked! My $1 million inquiry is what will you do with the red katuray flowers? Will they be in a salad, pinakbet, dinendeng or healing soup? Watch out for the red katuray flowers nirvana! Feel well. You have two excellent nurses by your side – Mrs. MM and The Kid.

    Sep 8, 2007 | 11:53 am


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  3. MES says:

    My lola had a green thumb and could make orchids grow in a “tansan”. I on the other hand have “thumbs of death” and have been known to kill full sized plants. I suppose some of us are just meant to be consumers and not growers! Get well soon, and let us know what you plan to do with the arugula.

    Sep 8, 2007 | 1:24 pm

  4. Mangaranon says:

    I will definitely go to Salcedo markent when I am in Makati in December. It was closed when I was there in March/April — Holy Week kasi.

    I eat corn raw when I get fresh ones at Union Square. Got the idea from raw vegans.

    Sep 8, 2007 | 2:52 pm

  5. bernadette says:

    I was able to grow an arugula in my garden—one actually survived from the many, many seeds I sowed. So, I left it alone to perhaps bloom and produce more seeds. Because of the long waiting time, I forgot that i had this arugula eventually. And when I told our young gardener to weed that particular area, she shucked it out of existence…just like that. So, when I saw your arugulas, those memories came crashing back to me.:-( As for our gardener– she is still alive, with us…and always closely supervised!

    Sep 8, 2007 | 9:00 pm

  6. F1foodie says:

    MM, it’s time to pull out your panini maker (when you’re up and about). One of my family’s favorite panino is made with arugula, basil, prosciutto and gorgonzola.

    Sep 8, 2007 | 9:50 pm

  7. alilay says:

    my cousin have an arugula plant in her garden and she substitute these to ampalaya tops when she cook ginisang monggo.

    Sep 9, 2007 | 12:38 am

  8. shalimar says:

    aragula with goat cheese… well am off to the marche tom

    Sep 9, 2007 | 8:06 am

  9. MegaMom says:

    Thanks for the tip MM. Haven’t been to Salcedo Mkt in a while. Am usually on the opposite side of Planet Manila on weekends if I am not traveling. Any readers have an idea where these can be had North side (QC area)?
    I eat these sparingly, not because I don’t like them (I love them!), but because they are so hard to find in Manila, whether in good or bad shape. Alilay’s cousin must have quite a gardenful, only to use these in ginisang mongo. I would probably save these prized greens for a fresh salad or a panini as F1foodie suggested.

    Sep 9, 2007 | 8:52 am

  10. Marketman says:

    MegaMom, perhaps a vendor at the Sunday Lung Center Market carries these? I haven’t been there in years, but I thought they had some interesting finds… And to all, YES, in a panini would be a great way to enjoy these!

    Sep 9, 2007 | 8:58 am

  11. MegaMom says:

    P.S. Get well soon! You should probably slow down on the diet. No am not giving you medical excuse to eat up again. :) Now is a good time for that pansit musiko (miki from Ilocos) that you posted on some days back. In moderation, that is.

    Sep 9, 2007 | 9:03 am

  12. Marketman says:

    Megamom, I am ahead of you on prescribing my recovery…you should have seen what I ate yesterday! :)

    Sep 9, 2007 | 9:40 am

  13. millet says:

    get well soon, MM! cook some more puto..the pandan-scented steam will do you good :-)

    Sep 9, 2007 | 10:17 am

  14. B says:

    Gil Carandang is a gem!!! His farm is fantastic, and everything he grows has heart.

    Sep 9, 2007 | 12:17 pm

  15. ENYA says:

    Hi, MM!

    In Salcedo Market, there is a lady who also sells organic produce.Her name is Daisy Langenegger who loves to be known as an organic farmer [that’s what it says in her business card]. She’ll talk about anything organic all day if you’ll let her.:)

    She owns a restaurant called Green Daisy located at #20 Maginhawa St., UP Village, Quezon City, where she serves the most delectable dishes using organic ingredients.

    Sep 9, 2007 | 7:26 pm

  16. B says:

    ^It’s only by reservation though. She does have a farm, and she too practices what she preaches. She’s the nicest lady as well.

    Sep 9, 2007 | 10:16 pm

  17. joey says:

    I learned about Gil C. from you and am so thankful! He always has amazing stuff…and doesn’t tire of answering my questions :)

    Sep 9, 2007 | 11:03 pm

  18. connie says:

    I love arugula in salads, either in a spring mix salad bags or with some sliced avocados, or sweet fruits like peaches or pomegranate. I’ve once ordered a veggies lasagna in a restaurant and they used a mix of spinach and arugula in it. I love that combination as well. Husband like boiled or steam spinach/arugula combo on top of his pasta.
    I always wanted to make ginisang monggo but having no source for fresh ampalaya leaves, this recipe always ends up on the back burner, hehehe. Thank you for the posters who suggested using arugula in ginisang monggo. I shall try that sometimes.

    Sep 10, 2007 | 2:45 am

  19. alilay says:

    yes megamom, when i went to her house in northridge i did not recognize it because i am used to the wide jagged leaves that you can find in the spring mix of baby lettuces and greens at saka ampalaya tops is harder to find, well either frozen or if you get lucky fresh if the filipino store you go to has them. i get mine on Fridays at the farmers market on wilshire blvd. i also see saluyot and small ampalaya for pinakbet but the vendors are not filipinos.

    Sep 10, 2007 | 6:28 am

  20. annette says:

    Hello Mr. MM, You okay now? Hope you feel better soon.

    Sep 10, 2007 | 8:36 am

  21. MegaMom says:

    MarketMan, it is so uncanny, but just as I sent my PS, I saw your reply re: the Lung Center Market, and indeed my family and I had just gotten dressed for our Sunday morning walk at UP and intent to go to the Lung Center afterwards. Sadly, though, the few vendors selling greens had no arugula. :( Maybe I was too late for the market day. I did get some phone numbers of organic farmers and will contact them.
    Thanks for the info re: Green Daisy, Enya and B! Definitely something I will try out in the near future.

    Sep 10, 2007 | 8:46 am

  22. jerseynun says:

    Wild Arugula: Correct me if i’m wrong, i think the the ilokanos call this as “pasotes” (?) I like this in the ilokano dish called “pipian”–they say it’s their version of “kare-kare”

    Sep 10, 2007 | 6:01 pm

  23. Marketman says:

    jerseynun, they look exactly the same but they are totally different; I have a previous post on epazote, here. And yes, epazote or pastoes in pipian is superb, I will have a recipe in the weeks ahead from a trip to Ilocos…

    Sep 10, 2007 | 6:35 pm

  24. CecileJ says:

    Hi, MM! Good food will get you up and about in no time! Just wanted to tell you that after I asked you months ago about grafting the makrut lime tree at our office, our very kind maintenance man gifted me with a small grafted sapling! It is now happily nestled in my Mama’s garden in Tagaytay. Hope it grows into a tree!

    Sep 11, 2007 | 11:32 am

  25. MegaMom says:

    Yup, MM and jerseynun, pasotes is the secret ingredient behind pipian. :) Quite different from arugula (which I am still desperately seeking). I ended up with local mozzarella, fresh basil and some watercress from the Lung Center Market, by the way. Will make a fresh tossed salad tonight.

    Sep 11, 2007 | 11:49 am

  26. Ebba Myra says:

    My daughter is into organics these days and she was asking me if she will have a hard time finding organic produce when she visits Philippines next year. Well, I found an answer for her. Thanks for the info.

    Now for a different topic.. anybody knows about Pansit-pansitan? It is supposed to be an herb. They said it has many medicinal purpose. I brought some seeds here in th States and planted them. Was successful and for 3 years in a row, ang hirap patayin, I mean they come back every summer. I took care of it, but then on some Vietnamese groceries, they started selling them in bunches, mas healthy kesa sa variety of my plant, so I just abandoned mine, and some other bigger plants overcrowded it till it dies. Now, I have moved to another location here in Texas, and that same grocery stores does not sell them anymore. Does anybody knows about this Pansit-Pansitan?

    Sep 12, 2007 | 2:31 am

  27. Marketman says:

    Ebba, belive it or not, I did a post that included pansit-pansitan, here, isn’t that amazing? At any rate, please forewarn your daughter that organic vegetables in Manila are few and far between, she will not be thrilled with the selection thought it is getting better… there is also a lot of greenhouse grown greens that are in theory organic, but tend to be less tasty.

    Sep 12, 2007 | 9:09 am


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