Where are you? What is your Christmas food wish?

Market Manila is just about 11 months old. In this period I have explored numerous markets, food stores, ingredients, recipes, gained and lost dozens of pounds and written over 300 posts with greater ease than I could have ever predicted (I am not a writer by nature). The list of items I would like to feature grows longer by the day and I wonder when the well of ideas or my enthusiasm is going to dry up. I never planned to post daily entries (I was thinking 2-3 a week) and I am most certainly shocked by the over 2,000 comments that the site has received during its maiden year. It is here that I am most touched… over the past few months a recurring theme in readers’ comments is that food is so inextricably linked to their fondest memories. Because so many of you are now living abroad, this weblog seems to have given you a “window” to things from back home. That was not my original intention, but it is a brilliant albeit unplanned side effect.

My basic blog statistics tell me the barest essentials… 32% of my readers are based in the Philippines, 32% in the United States, about 16% are in Australia (a surprise for me), 5% in Canada and the rest (15%) are spread out over 50 countries around the globe including readers in Japan, China, the Middle East, Jamaica and Poland! I estimate I have about 2,000 sukis or regular visitors who visit the weblog. Over 96% are “lurkers” who read the posts but have never once left a comment! As the Yuletide season grows closer, I thought I should do a month-long extravaganza in December on all of the great food and related items that makes Christmas in the Philippines so memorable… bibingka and puto bumbong at simbang gabi, party food, holiday menus, décor, parols, hams, roasts, desserts, pastillas and kakanins…etc. This shall be my Christmas gift to all of you, wherever you may be, but as with all good things, I need time to prepare… So this seems like a good time to pause for a moment and pose two simple questions for Marketmanila’s readers and I hope you will indulge me with your answers… 1. What city do you live in? 2. What would you most like to see or read about in the month-long run-up to Christmas 2005? I will do my best to cover the most commonly mentioned items (if possible) and I truly look forward to reading comments from as many of you as possible. I am away from my desk for about two days without my laptop so don’t be surprised if I am the silent one for a change…


86 Responses

  1. I am currently based in Hong Kong and yes, your website is one of my windows home. Home is where heart is and what the stomach inextricably longs for; for me a craving for Filipino food is one of the early signs of homesickness.

    Please feature “tsokolate eh”, specifically a regular source of good tablea, proper equipment, what the best preparation method is. For me, this is the best partner for bibingka or puto bumbong after a cold Simbang Gabi mass.

    Now I wonder if there are such treats in Hong Kong?

    Cheers and more power.

  2. I’m working in Manila (first year at my first job!), I’m originally from Davao City. I enjoy reading your blog for the food (I come from a family of foodies, they’re everywhere but here). Unfortunately, I only have my family’s eating, not cooking, skills.

    Please feature “tsokolate eh” (thanks Ginger), espasol and other kakanins. If you could also answer my perennial holiday question, “why is queso de bola so popular?” that would be great.

    By the way, you can check out this link for regional trade fairs (https://www.shopcrazy.com.ph/bazaars/)

  3. I live in Manila, (born, raised, left, came back) and would like to see the ff for your xmas posts:
    1. Queso de bola (maybe a food test – the best brands to buy, where to get good quality ones)
    2. Paella or arroz valenciana (this one used to be a staple in our xmas dinners, but lately my mom’s too busy to make it. A good place to get ingredients or maybe have it catered?)
    3. Battle of the hams – what’s better, buying or making your own baked ham.

    Thanks, MM!

  4. Christmas related breakfast ideas would be great — in time for the Misa de Gallo season. I.E.:

    1. post-simbang gabi breakfast party menu ideas
    2. early morning goodies purchased outside church (or in any other establishment open at the crack of dawn)
    3. putting together “breakfast” from the million and one gifts received (ham, random pastries, gift baskets …)

  5. i am definitely your fan, mr. marketman. i would like to read more on your foodie adventures, recipes and discoveries be they bazaars, new restos or markets,etc. where to buy the best this and that, etc.what are good dishes to order from a newly discovered resto, etc. Since i am from cebu but have lived here for 20 yrs., i am always on the lookout for good cebu lechon cooked here in manila.I know of 2 but the first one makes laplap a lot and the 2nd one, well, when it has cooled down a bit even after a few hours, nagsesebo. lechon from cebu doesnt get sebo unless it’s really one day old.do you know anyone in metro manila selling garlic longganisa from cabanatuan or from calumpit, bulacan? thanks again

  6. MM, thanks for the wonderful posts! This blog is a daily must-read for me. I immensely enjoy each and every entry with your very entertaining and informative review of food stores/recipes. I would like to see posts on Christmas eve/New Year’s eve menu ideas and also where to get the best (and yummiest) Christmas fare (appetizers, entree, dessert). I don’t know how to cook, you see. I almost entirely depend on to-go gourmet stuff for special occasions. Thank you and a blessed Christmas to you and your family, MM!

  7. MM, I live in Kuwait. I read your foodblog everyday as it keeps me informed of what I am missing. Your regular coverage of the Salcedo market makes me regret not ever going there when I was still in Makati. If you can make a suggested menu for a simple yet memorable Christmas dinner – that would be great. It will be my second Christmas far away from home and I want to celebrate it right this time (slept last Christmas) even if it’s only with new-found friends as family is all back home.

  8. I live in Yardley, PA. I read your blog everyday. It’s part of my morning routine and I would like to thank you very much for this “community” service.

    For your Christmas project, I would like to see standard Filipino Christmas delicacies – yema, queso de bola, home-cooked ham, bibingka, etc.

    BTW, you have a very good sense of tabletop setting and food presentation.

  9. Been living in Vienna, Austria for 27 years now and still miss the way we celebrate Christmas back home and the food we get during this season. Lotsa them but I have fond memories of Christmas Noche Buenas. We would have nilagang pata ng baboy and chicken with sweet potatoes, string beans, pechay, and cabbage. Then for breakfast there would be the home-made hot and thick “tsokolate”,hamon from Echague in Quiapo, quezo de bola. There would always be the perennial lechon for lunch for our extended family get-together, and pastries from Erly’s Pastry Shop and those huge ensaymadas from La Concepcion – both from Malolos. Yes, I was born in Bulacan and I wonder if both these food “institutions” still exist. I guess I’ll be home for Christmas!

  10. I live in Makati and yours is the first site I open when I log on.
    I would like to see menus for noche buena and New Year’s eve dinners. Also the best places to buy the Christmas goodies, whether main dishes, snacks or dessert.
    Congratulations on your 11 months of writing, cooking, eating and sharing your ideas, recipes, and finds. This is one read I really enjoy.

    Wonder what you look like?

  11. MM, I live in Sacramento area.

    Post traditional filipino cuisines (recipe, techniques, etc..) for this coming season. I miss puto bungbong etc. etc., etc.

  12. I’m from Balara area in Quezon City.

    I’d like to see a feature on embutido or, as I’ve been taught to call it, ‘butiparas.’

    Also, ratings of various quesos de bola, Pina, Pato, all the way to Magnolia and other local approximations. I remember two years ago when I found an extra-aged Pina queso that was several notches better than the regular one for a few pesos more. Then it disappeared as fast as it appeared.

    MarketMan, may your buffet table be always full!

  13. I live in Norwalk, California. Visiting your blog is part of my daily routine. I not only enjoy your posts but am inspired and encouraged to get back into what I love to do…cook! Please do put together a few menus (traditional Filipino and western as well) to choose from for the holidays – Christmas and New Year. I enjoy company but would like menus other than my usual.

    Thank you so much!

  14. I live in Newbury Park, Calilfornia an hour away from LA. So, that means I got to shop only at an Asian Market once a month. When I found your blod, I was so happy, you were posting fruits and vegetables that I haven’t eaten for along time. Especially when you posted the lanzones. I visit your blog daily.

  15. Marketman, I live in Harrisburg, PA. Your website is the first I look up after checking my email. I’ve enjoyed the past 11 months and look forward to more! Would love to see how you make paella, leche flan (everyone seems to have their own recipe, tell us yours), chicken galantina, rellenong bangus and food for the gods. BTW, I’m planning to make your sister’s fruit cake and can’t wait to see what it tastes like!

  16. MM, I live in Hermosa Beach, CA. I’m also a regular reader of your great site. It sure is heart-warming that you’d ask us, your readers, what we want to see/read in your Christmas 2005 posts. And for us living abroad, that’s a treat, call it your Christmas present to us.

    For me, I’d be interested to read about a MM Christmas & New Year’s dinner (or a suggested menu), hams (homemade &/or commercial), christmas goodies/giveaways and queso de bola. Don’t forget the drinks!

    Thanks and more power!

  17. Hi, MM!!!. Am from lost angeles.. oopps just kidding :)) Am from Angeles City, Pampanga. Read one of the article at Inquirer and saw your site and tried to open it from that time on its been my daily routine checking your site. And my day is incomplete when you miss a day in your post. Keep up the good work MM and God Bless you always..

  18. Hi MM, my request is not food related but something that is symbolic of the Christmas celebration in the Philippines. I would like to know how to make the “Parol”, the Christmas lantern. I left the Philippines a young child and currently living in New Jersey USA. Over the past 23 years, I always yearn to have one hanging over my house come Christmas time. Thank you!

  19. hi, MM, i’m in Northeast PA — about 2 1/2 hours from victoria dazon and 1 1/2 hours from Jacob’s Mom — HI!!! — I’d love to see a pic of our churchyard vendors selling puto bumbong, bibingka, etc. — that’s a sight I really miss during the holidays….

  20. hi MM, i am from Sta Rosa, Laguna. Like most of your readers, i check your site right after reading my email. I am interested to know where to get the best christmas goodies especially the best ensaymada. I used to get it from Hizon’s in Malate until we moved to Laguna.

  21. helloMM,i am from Adelaide in South Australia. your site is a joy and interesting and very informative read and i thank you MM for taking time and sharing with us yr insight on practically everything from food, markets,restos,etc.

    for yr project i’d like to hear how you prepare yr home-cooked ham and chicken galantina.TY!

    looking forward to hearing more of yr escapades and food experiences around the globe.

    have a happy christmas !

  22. Marketman,

    I live in the Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas area-been here almost 20 years. I am one of the “lurkers”-I have been visiting your website for over a year now…
    What I really miss ay mainit na tsokolate (tablea’s-iyong aming ginagamit when I was in Mandaluyong City came from our cousins sa Palawan), bibingka and puto bung-bong…..Lalo na after simbang gabi—-sarap!!!!
    Dito sa DFW area ay maraming pinoy-we used to have simbang gabi in a local Catholic church-pero natigil ito after the pinoy priest was reassigned to another state.

    I thank you for bringing us together with your site-more power to you!!!

    God bless and keep us all safe…..

  23. MM nandito ako sa Thousand Palms California at halos araw araw binibisita ko itong site mo. how about Chistmas caroling diyan sa atin mayroon pa ba?kasi noong araw pabalik balik kaming mag carol sa mga mayaman na bahay.

  24. I think the best ensaymada has to be from Mrs. Cunanan from Valle Verde 2 i think. it’s often available in bazaars. if i find her tel. # i will post it here. :-)

  25. I’m from Quezon City. As a pork lover, I would like to see a feature on hams — which are the best and where to buy them.

  26. Hi, Mr. MM!

    I learned about your website from my boss, Lisa Gokongwei (yes, she’s the sister of Robina and one of the daughters of Mr. John). She posted your ‘site in our office’s Microsoft Outlook.

    I love your blog. Bago ako mag-start magtrabaho, the first thing I do after I turn on my computer is go to your site (SSshhhhh!). I visit you everyday (well, pwera lang Saturday and Sunday kasi wala kaming pasok).

    As for your question, I am from Manila.

    My sister will be spending Christmas here in the Philippines this year, after living in New York for many years. If you will have the time (and energy), please post features about the best places to visit during the Holidays. I would like to take her to that place in Mandaluyong (is it?) where the whole neighborhood has Christmas light decorations that would rival Las Vegas. I’m sure there will be a lot of Balikbayans who would love to visit new places, malls and bazaars and restaurants and other eating places that will have the uniquely Filipino way of celebrating Christmas.

    Thanks for all the information and beautiful photos that you share with us.

    Keep up the good work. And please don’t get tired of doing this for your MM community. God bless!

  27. Am from Makati.
    I’d love to see a feature on LONGANISA! What are your favorites? Garlicky, peppery or sweet? Coarse grind or fine grind? Natural or collagen casings? Cured, air dried or fresh? And what’s the best way to cook them? Lightly fried, roasted or boiled? I like to fry them until the surface is tostado, crunchy and shrunk to almost half their original size (perfect way to do the Baguio Country Club variety which you can also get from a butcher named tuviera at the baguio market), then fry sinangag and egg in the oil and longanisa bits).

  28. Looks like you’re a Rock Star in the blog world, Marketman!

    I live in Makati and my fridge is packed with prized Excellente ham (which I prefer over Majestic) that I pair with the Cunanan queso de bola ensaymada or the more accessible, Mary Grace version.

    For Christmas lunch ulam apart from the usual galantina, embutido, tomato-sauce based Spanish dishes, I also love turbo Chicken! Now *that’s* really retro! :)

  29. MM, i am a lurker no more!!! i must admit that i am an avid fan… the photos you post mesmerize me – – – i enjoy reading your posts….i was born in manila, raised in quezon city and presently employed in an insurance company based in ayala alabang – – – – i love to cook and eat – – – i would love to read about your thoughts on ham glazes and food gifts from the heart for the holiday season ….GOD BLESS YOU MM –

  30. whoa!!! MM you have such a huge fan base! congratulations!

    Q#1. Calgary, Alberta Canada
    Q#2. i’d love to read an article on “disappearing” traditional filipino food, if I recall right, in August there was a talk on this subject at the Filipinas Heritage Library in Makati, was so busy with getting our stuff together for our departure to Canada that i missed it : (

    more power & God bless!

  31. ey,mm
    qc-inhabitant. how about a photo-feature on the food stalls outside the churches on simbang gabi- and maybe for the ones outside this country a collection of scenes during simbang gabi para mainggit naman sila sa warmth of xmas sa atin- political turmoil or no political turmoil tuloy pa rin pasko!

  32. I quiete like your website and reading it frequently. Since i am not a filippina, i am looking forward what’s coming up for christmas. I would like to know more about origins and developments, like for the bibinka which is found on the Philippines, in India (goa) and in Portugal. Where there some Portuguese among the spaniards…?
    BTW, i live in Manila and we always have maccaroni salad the filippino way (yummy!) and lasagna especial for noche buena.

  33. Hello Mr. MM,

    Am based in Los Angeles and would appreciate the sights and sounds (well, okay… sights) of a Manila Christmas that we who are not there don’t get to experience, like photos of Ayala Ave after it has been all dressed up, etc…

    Thanks for everything you do for us! Maligayang Pasko!

  34. G’day Marketman from the land downunder!

    I live in Brisbane. Medyo tropical dito. December here is the peak of summer. Di gaanong appropriate ang traditional Pinoy noche buena. Pero kahit ganon I do prepare a traditional Pinoy dinner.

    Have you got any menu suggestions kung 40 degrees C ang Pasko?

  35. Hi MM! I live in Sacramento, CA. Like so many of your “fans”, reading your blog is a part of my daily routine. It makes me homesick but it also makes me look forward to going home and checking out the foods & places you feature. I am sooo looking forward to shopping at the Salcedo Market. Anyway, for Christmas I am curious about what your menu for Noche Buena will be. Kakagutom! Also, would you know how to make “tsokolate eh”? My brother sent me some tablea and I cooked some last weekend but it turned out “tsokolate ah”.

  36. Hi, MM. You will be overhelmed reading our comments over the globe. Few days ago my husband asked me what to prepare for Christmas eve dinner and NY eve dinner. Can you help me since this will be our last Christmas in Metro Manila, Philippines. My family of six will be imigrating to USA, Las Vegas sometime January 2006. I’m so glad that you have this site, it’s part of my life now. I will continue visiting your lovely journal even if I move out of the Philippines. It really gives me ideas. thanks and cheers.

  37. Hi Marketman:

    Never failed to visit your site from Monday to Friday. Very informative at nakakagutom. When I have the time, I will try the recipes you have shared us.

    I am from Santa Rosa, Laguna and I hope to read more regarding hams and queso de bola. I buy Excellente hams in Quiapo and it was chaos out there especially before Christmas.

    Have a nice day!

  38. hi mm, i’m one of your many lurkers. live in qc but work in makati. your site inspired me to set up one of my own (but i don’t have the energy to post everyday). I’ll read anything you write; in fact, your spur of the moment posts are what i enjoy reading the most. Do write about holiday foods, especially those that truly make Xmas in Pinas so memorable. Also, write about fruitcake (hate the stuff but will try the one you recommend). cheers!

  39. Hi Marketman.

    Like many of your fans, this blog is an absolute must for me to visit everytime I turn on my computer.
    Answer to first question: San Juan.. Manila not Puerto Rico!
    Answer to second question: Well,you already provide such an excellent array of food articles without our suggestions, but I would have to say if anything, I would love to read more “where to find…” articles on filipino holiday food.
    My current favorites include Cunanan ensaimadas, Excellente ham, (although my husband prefers Adelina’s), Chicken Gallantina, Paella and Lengua from La Cocina de Tita Moning but would love to hear of other sources! Also think a battle of the hams and Queso de Bolas would be fantastic!
    And if you do have time, your own recipes for leche flan would much appreciated!
    Your recent features on macaroni and fruit salads remind me of a dish my mother makes around the holidays. Its a potato salad that has chicken,pineapple,apples and beets which turn the entire thing pink! Might seem strange (my husband is not a fan!) but tastes pretty good when served really cold!

  40. I’m from mandaluyong, metro manila :)

    Maybe you could write about how to make the best home-made ensaymada! :)

  41. hi mm – like many others, i have been a fan and regular reader since the inquirer ran a feature on you. i have been hooked since. i live in san juan and work in makati.

    everyone has mentioned all the pinoy christmas ‘must-haves’. christmas wish? photos of all the yummy stuff to be featured on your blogsite. more power! =)

  42. from Cork, Ireland……halos nasabi na ng lahat ang wish kong ma-feature…..and if ever you grant the wish for christmas menu/recipes, can you also put substitution, baka kasi mahirapan akong hanapin or di available dito…….more power to you marketman, and hopefully di ka maubusan ng ideas at enthusiasm na mag-blog everyday……daily habit ka na namin :)

  43. I’m originally from Vigan (Ilocos) but I am now in QC Manila. . . I love your food weblog because it really educates me about lots of things and as a newcomer in the culinary industry the site helps me a lot in giving me ideas in what to experiment with and where to shop items. . .

    For Christmas?? hmmmmm . . . i say traditional Filipino Christmas food. . .

  44. hi, i just got back from 5 years of living in LA. your blog is amazing.
    how about featuring the best of everything…best cheesecake…best bbq…best ensaymada, etc.
    ill be moving back soon (ill miss AAni & the Salcedo Market), but I know that youre just one click away :-)

  45. Hi Mr. Marketman,

    I do not want to be called a lurker so I wrote you. I’m from Boston and have been reading your blog daily for the past year. You are a blessing to expatriates! Your blogs delights us here and although we are only 2 Pinoys in the hotel where I work, your recipes and blogs were shared to my colleagues. Kudos to you and I can’t wait your Christmas Pinoy recipes! Thank you very much and keep it up!



  46. Mr. Marketman paano ba yan,i think we need to put up a fans club na! Can I be the president of the club? hehehe! :)

  47. i am one those lurkers but not anymore. i have been reading you blogs since i read about it from an inq7.net food column. i enjoyed reading your blog everyday.

    live in covina, california (san gabriel valley – los angeles county) for almost 19 years. born raised in binan, laguna & went to school in manila.

    i would like to see how different provinces celebrate their noche buenas & the different kinds of queso de bola

    god bless!

  48. i live in toronto, ontario, canada.

    please feature chicken galantina and chinese ham with pineapple glaze.

  49. Hi, Mr. Marketman.
    Your blog is Numero Uno. Came across your site a couple of months ago when I googled binatog. Now I have withdrawal tics every time you’re off-line or out-of-site :-) Your Christmas invite pulled me out of the woodworks. Hohoho!
    (1) I live in Taytay, Rizal, in a hilltop house I call Havenhill. Work is 15 km away along Ortigas Av. and I’m 4.5 years shy of an SSS pension and a senior-citizen card–yahoo! Over the past 13 years I’ve been working on Havenhill Cuisine, a compilation of my family’s recipes and treasured memories–a gift of love for my children (three US-based daughters who have given me a granddaughter each; and one son in university in Manila). In many ways, the stuff in HC is quite like the stuff you write about. That’s why I’m hooked.
    (2) Please write about your (a) Noche Buena fare–ours would be Chicken Relleno (my sabungero husband de-bones it, I stuff and bake it, our son devours it — how’s that for a family holiday tradition), glazed Chinese ham, quezo de bola, Chocolate-eh, and Ensaimada (from Mrs. Cunanan of 44 Jasmin St., Valle Verde II, Tel. 6310798 & 6329967) and (b) Media Noche fare–ours would be Morcon and Embutido plus a prosperity basket of 12 different round-shaped fruits).
    Call me GG-that’s short for Gorgeous Granny.
    Thanks and more power!

  50. Hi Marketman!!

    Wow you are one popular guy!!! :-) Cool. I’m in Melbourne, Aust., and it would be such a treat for me to see all the flavours of Christmas in the Philippines featured in this here your blog sir!!! Thanks a lot for your v. generous offer!
    Even it will make me desperately homesick!! :-)

    Well I second everything that everyone has requested. Thanks and keep up the great posts!!

    Cheers, Sasha

  51. WOW! Tons of comments! Too lazy to read through all of them, so I apologize if this suggestion has already been made:

    Please write about Pinoy holiday foods and talk about how people abroad can make them using “abroad” ingredients. Hehehe… hope that makes sense. :)

  52. Goshgollygeewow!!! What an overwhelming response, and so many lurkers out of the shadows… Thanks for your comments and suggestions and I hope I can feature as many of your requests as possible! Please feel free to keep adding items you might be interested in reading about… I have my work cut out for me!!!

  53. Re queso de bola, very Filipino to yearn for it yet of foreign origin. Originally edam cheese was used as ballast on the Dutch East India trading ships in the 1800’s. During the long voyage they were frequently washed by waves giving them them a saltier taste and a texture closer to parmesan than the edam currently available in Europe and the US. Today edam shipped to the Philippines from Holland has added extra salt, according to some Dutch guests I had one Christmas who came with a raw milk edam that was delicious. My mother’s generation considered a perfect Chirstmas breakfast to be hot chocolate, ensaimada, and queso de bola.

  54. I live in the western part of Long Island NY bordering Queens county.Been here for over 30 years. Our paths may have crossed once when you were living here in the past. Just found your site a couple of months ago and have been here almost daily since. Fortunately, the Filipino stores here sells a variety of native dishes esp. on weekends. There are a few that also sell on orders. One cebuano even cooks cebu lechon on demand . With a few friends, get together on either Christmas or New year often includes an order of lechon.

    What makes me nostalgic are your fruits and flowers. Some things you just have to go home to see them. Your post on Rosal was of great interest to me. I always say when I retire I’ll go home to PI to plant rosal. My friend over there says that the plant is hard to find in cebu now, HUH? Other favs are atis , seneguelas and mangosteen…all out of reach here.

    Thanks for your great website.

  55. hi gigi, thanks for the tip on the vanishing foods symposium, i shall check out the inquirer site. cheers.

  56. My husband and I are currently posted in the UAE. My Christmas food wish would be tender and tasty ensaimada. It would be great if you could also feature recipes of savory treats for gift-giving. Thanks for asking us, Marketman. All the best.

  57. I’m from melbourne, australia having arrived from manila only this morning! I read your blog everyday and visited the places you have recommended. Thanks MM! My friend and I truly enjoyed our holidays in manila and loved eating filipino food. We plan to go back just after christmas for free (have to use the frequent flyer points..hehehe) and can’t wait to eat/gorge again!

    Can u feature recipes on bibingka? I’ve always wanted to try and make it but i haven’t been able to get a good recipe. Also how to make mamon. Thanks!

  58. Hello MM,how about a MM Cookbook featuring your most favourite recipes with photos? I’ll be the first one to order 20 copies to give to family and friends around the globe.Thank you once again for sharing your knowledge and views on our beloved and scrumptious Pinoy cuisine!!

    I’m one of the lurkers coming out of the woodworks!

  59. linda, how kind of you to ask, but I really don’t create recipes, just find good ones and tweak them a bit to my taste! Maybe a book on markets, produce and associated recipes might work…hmmm…bad influence you are!

  60. hi MM!! wow, you really got a lot of fans out there!! me included :) hmmmm good idea from “linda”. . . something to consider in the very very near future??! :) MM, i’ve been celebrating christmas in dubai for the last few years and would really appreciate new suggestions for noche buena and for the new year’s eve din.. to add to our “walang kamatayang menudo” on the table (well-most requested din kasi)… also, i saw a request for ensaymada… have you checked tsogb – scentofgreenbananas.blogspot.com? another food blogger and she has a recent entry of this maybe this could help you….. more power to you !!

  61. Your request brought a smile to my face as it reminds me of beauty contests.:)I’m hchie ( pronounced h-chee ) and I’m from the southern island of Negros.I would very much appreciate it if you could feature some delicious but healthy food for the holidays. You know, the type you want to have after days and days of wicked eating.

  62. Hi MM, am one of those lurkers! If am not mistaken I did leave a message the first time I found your site sometime in Nov or Dec of last year. I must admit I am one of your ‘thousands’ of fans out there. Do I need to sign up now for a fans club? *-*

    I check your blog just about everyday and I really enjoy reading it. The reason I don’t leave messages is the fact that am just too lazy to do it. Not because I am a busy person. *-* Makes me homesick reading your post about Filipino food. Quite informative as well. It makes me look forward to visiting the markets, restaurants and other places you feature – some exciting things to do when I come visit the Phils next time.

    Answer to your question #1 – I live in Kensington London, England
    Answer to your question #2 – I’d love for you to feature the traditional pinoy christmas food. May be you can shed some light on some of the questions I’ve got – why is quezo the bola and hamon are such a big part of the christmas feast? why a lot of the traditional ‘christmas food’ are disappearing and seems to be replaced by the ‘western style’ christmas meals that filipinos prepare nowadays (as most of my friends in manila do).
    Oh well, there’s other questions I’ve got in mind but will leave it for the next holiday season may be . . . *-* Keep up the good works MM!

  63. it’s me again. i just want to find out what christmas is like in your home MM. i can imagine great food and christmas decor. what about your presents, do you take the time to wrap them in your own personal way? it is always a pleasure to receive gifts wrapped with love and care….thank you and more power!

  64. Cool, a survey! Chalk up one more for Manila-based followers (fans!). Is this in line with your theme– your top five christmas gift goodies, either given or received? so desperately need suggestions for Christmas gifts for friends. This i know is way off from your theme but can you also feature (even as as obiter dicta!) some British Christmas goodies? If i remembered correctly, you lived for a bit in London, right? A friend is in London for her LLM and would want her to have an English feast before she goes home (and hopefully bring home some goodies for me! :)

  65. Booey, I have visited and worked in London briefly but never really lived there… best I could do would be a roast beef! Gemma, Christmas is a really BIG DEAL in Marketman’s house…details as December rolls along. To give you an idea, I already have at least 500 square feet of at least 15 different christmas wrappers under one bed and at last count, a conservative 8-10 kilometers of ribbons of all colors. Elna, will do my best with Pinoy Christmas favorites. Hchie will try to slip in a healthy thing or two for the holidays. Aleth, will try to put some dishes everyone anywhere on the globe can attempt!

  66. I’m in Dartmouth, Massachusetts. I’ve read that you used to live in Boston MM, what were your favorite restaurants?
    I would love to see a write-up about Chinese Ham and Queso de bola, no Noche Buena is complete without it. I’m still trying to figure out how to bring a ham back to the US since it’ll be pretty obvious in its original form. LOL I even considered cutting it up in pieces one time. I’m wondering if it’s close to the cured Virginia Ham here in the US, have you tried those? As for the Queso de Bola, I’ve found that Edam cheese is very close to it.
    Love your blog! I’ve shared it with my Dad who I’m sure will not be a lurker. :)

  67. Barb, I used to live in Boston as a university student… not much disposable income so restaurants were not typically within my budget at the time… Legal Seafoods was a treat at that time, a friend at Benihana used to bring out the most expensive steaks for us even though we ordered chicken because he was one of the cooks (criminal, I know) and take out Chinese from nearby Chestnut Hill was about it… Will definitely do a ham and queso de bola post come Christmas, just too many people have mentioned it… it’s a must. Frankly, I love Virginia and Polish hams from the States, even more than the Chinese hams so I wouldn’t be smuggling hams there, I’d be bringing them back home! Queso de bola is salty edam, more on this in December.

  68. Hi MM! I guess I was considered one of your “lurkers” – but no more! Just had the courage to finally post. I would love to see how your and your family celebrate Noche Buena. Would also like to see pics and directions on how to make puto bumbong, bibingka from a modern day kitchen.

    More power to you!

  69. Hello MM, you can name your book “Market Heaven and Beyond” (a foodies guide to market produce etc,etc.)

    I’m certainly a very bad influence, but, it’s all for good!

    Keep up the good work!

  70. MM, just a small question… why is it that the famous “queso de bola” is very much associated with “christmas”??? :)

  71. Mia, thanks for leaving a comment. I think doing traditional fare like puto bumbong and bibingka in a modern kitchen may pose challenges, that’s what makes them so unique. I haven’t heard of a good bibingka that wasn’t done over charcoal and under charcoal… but will do my best to bring readers Christmas favorites. Aleth, good question, don’t know the answer yet, but will try and find out… maybe because the cheese was wrapped in red???

  72. MM, don’t you wish we can have chestnuts all year round? Or do you know of a way they can be stored to last for a few months more?

  73. This is nice. Reading everyone else’s christmas’ memories brought a smile to my face. I’m in QC and a MM lurker. I miss feeling “that” christmas tingle. I somehow lost the ability to “feel” Christmas years and years ago. Now that I’m 35 and have 4 babies. I’d like to feel that tingle (again) for them. (for myself too!)
    Can you suggest what to serve 3, 2 year (and 6 month) olds (yes, they are triplets) and 1 1 yr old this Christmas?! (they love chocolate, yogurt and anything crunchy. they love eating the “palikpik”, eyes and tail from crispy fried fish.
    best wishes and
    merry christmas!

  74. Hi MM, I’m a lurker, albeit an avid one, from Mandaluyong.

    What I’d like to see for Christmas – I’m organizing a small Christmas party for the office, and would like to see your suggestions on dishes and snacks for the party that can be bought from various people/places. Just want to order and put together the food, as will be too busy to actually cook things. Already on my list are Vargas butter cake and brazo de mercedes, and Cuerva mango torte, but would appreciate more ideas!

    Also would love a recipe for delicious, light ensaimada, the old-fashioned kind.

    Love your site. Thanks for bringing so much cheer to us foodies and chowhounds!

  75. I chanced upon your website while I was googling about good shepherd peanut brittle in baguio. Since then I have been regularly logging in. My family’s based in Thailand and sorely miss traditional Filipino fare. Please feature simple traditional recipes for christmas.

  76. Hi MM,

    Thank you so much having this site and sharing your wonderful, yummy recipes. I usually start my day in Boston by opening your website. It gives me a kick! Then I will open it again before lunch, which makes me really hungry. Thank you again and Merry Christmas!

  77. i am here in Rizal. I would like to your feature or any post on seneguelas for i would like to know what is the English term for it.

  78. i want to find a recipe for mamon especial. i had one but lost it. please post one or send to my e-mail. i would love to make it for christmas for my kids.

  79. i am from Davao City. i would like to see more recipes (easy ones, i hope) to prepare for the christmas holidays.

  80. (1) Pque. (2) More simple dishes that I can ask my husband to try out! har har har har

  81. San Juan, Metro Manila.
    My cousin’s coming over from HK. She’s staying at Shang Makati and she wants me to bring her to a Pinoy resto for dinner. She’s been to Serenda, the Pinoy resto in Greenbelt–part of the Chateau Group, Via Mare at Rockwell. Where else can I bring her?

  82. Just reread your balikbayan blog. I guess that answers my question. My cousin has also been to Gerry’s Grill, which she didn’t like. She also didn’t like the Pinoy resto in Serendra. I guess that must be Abe. She said that Via Mare was better than Abe.

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