FOOD AND SHOPPING ARE MORE FUN AT MANILA’S NIGHT AND WEEKEND MARKETS!

Night markets are very popular in Manila

The night and weekend market is a Manila phenomenon that’s been having both foodies and shoppers in a tizzy for years. The concept has staying power, thanks to the heady combination of a wide range of products and the sense of community, the setup engenders.

Manila’s various night and weekend markets are some of the top food and shopping destinations in the metropolis today. Customers from all over flock to these markets to avail of the range of products they sell, which include precooked food sold by both established restaurateurs and home chefs; fresh and organic vegetables, meat and seafood; and a wide variety of other items. The sheer range of offerings at these markets – as well as the sense of community they boast – truly makes them worth a visit.

Unlike many other markets, such as Farmers Market in Cubao, these markets only open for business during weekends and during specific times – some, like the Salcedo and Legaspi markets, are only open from early in the morning until after lunch on Saturdays and Sundays.

Good eats abound

The variety of precooked food sold at these markets is impressive. Different Philippine provinces as well as other countries and regions such as France, Thailand, Indonesia and the Middle East are ably represented. As a matter of fact, it may take quite a while to select from the wide range of food on offer, especially if one walks in without any particular dish or stall in mind. The establishments present run the gamut from those that have been Manila standards for years to less-known stalls, some run by up-and-coming home chefs and bakers, many of whose offerings still manage to impress.

The ambience can vary, generally is less “formal” than in a restaurant. Most of these markets offer al fresco dining in the general vicinity of the food stalls, while others such as Mercato maintain separate air-conditioned tents specifically for diners, as well as other amenities such as live entertainment and even free Wi-Fi.

Shopping options vary

Some markets offer more shopping options than others. The SIDCOR Sunday Market at the Eton Centris parking lot (EDSA corner Quezon Avenue in Cubao) is one of the largest of the markets, and consequently offers one of the widest ranges of choices for shoppers. Aside from ready-to-eat food, SIDCOR also offers meat, seafood and poultry, vegetables and fruits, dry goods, garden supplies and even pets. Many of these markets offer a range of special products that one would be hard-pressed to find elsewhere. The products for sale may differ according to day and time; from 10pm to 3am every Friday and Saturday, for instance, Mercato serves mostly ready-to-eat food, whereas a wider variety of meat, vegetables and other organic products can be purchased at Mercato from 7am to 2pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

A sense of community

The informality of the setup, plus the fact that many of the owners and chefs personally staff the stalls themselves and are often eager to talk about their wares, helps engender a sense of community that can elude other markets. It’s not uncommon to see people chatting as they go along or even sitting down for a cup of coffee or tea to take a break from their shopping.

SOME OF THE TOP MARKETS IN MANILA

SIDCOR Sunday Market.

The venerable SIDCOR Sunday Market was one of the first weekend markets, opening its doors in 2000 at the Madrigal Compound in Cubao. In 2004, it transferred to the Lung Center near the Quezon Memorial Circle, and in 2010 it moved to the Eton Centris parking lot at the corner of EDSA and Quezon Avenue, where it now welcomes customers from 6am to 2pm every Sunday. As mentioned, the SIDCOR Sunday Market offers one of the widest product ranges of any weekend market, from cooked food to fresh meat, fish and chicken, fresh fruits and vegetables, pets, dry goods and so on – many of it at bargain prices.

Salcedo Saturday Market.

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