“A food tour at the Farmers’ market in Cubao”?
My mind could not wrap itself to the idea of being a food tour guide. I was thinking, hmm…I rarely get invited as a resource person when it comes to food. To think that I have a large and organic reach at my Pinoy Food Community on facebook. I am usually invited as resource person for political commentaries, social media and digital parenting . This was different.
Yes, food tour guide for the US embassy staff.
Oh no, I thought again. That means, I need to know the English translation for the Tagalog ingredients. Google is my savior.
Two days before the food tour, I received a call that the US embassy staff included the US Ambassador Sung Kim and Emma Nagy, the Deputy Press Attaché . How exciting , I thought. I had wanted to meet the new ambassador two weeks ago when he addressed the YSEALI youth leaders but I couldn’t make it .
Sunday , the day at the Farmers’ market. I arrived ahead of time to check out the market. It’s been awhile since I last bought my ingredients in this wet market. It is not as stinky as most public markets are . Thank goodness . I love the wide aisles, the variety of goods sold by the vendors and how organized each section was. The goods sold at the farmers’ market here are so much cheaper than the Sunday markets or at my local grocer.
What greets you by the entrance across the flower market are the fruit vendors. You can source your 12 round fruits for New Year’s eve here. There is so much variety like the honeydew melons, watermelons, longgans, guava, orange varieties, grapes, apple varieties, chico, pears, and not so round fruits like papaya, pineapple, and mangoes.
A centralized weighing scale reassures me that I get the right weight for my purchases.
Shortly before 9:30 AM,the Deputy Press Attaché and Ambassador Sung Kim arrived with his wife, two daughters and a friend. It’s great to see their enthusiasm. The market is the best place to understand the culture of any country.
Everyone was eager to shop. First stop was the kakanin area where the suman, rice cakes, and leche flan were sold. The ambassador was convinced to buy the Leche flan when Emma told him that she also bought one.
I told the ambassador that leche flan is similar to the Crème brûlée . I explained that the ideal leche flan has very little syneresis, that is, no weeping (or lots of holes in it!).
Then we passed by the vegetable section. One of the daughters spotted the “sitaw” (string beans). She remembers eating adobong sitaw when she visited the Philippines. It happens to be the favorite veggie dish of my daughter. The ambassador proudly announced that he plans to cook adobong sitaw that night.
Mrs. Kim was amused at the fresh “suahe”(moderately sized shrimps) …so fresh that they literally jumped off the basin. The ambassador shows off his purchase of a kilo of “Suahe”.
The next stop was the rice section. She wanted to buy Japanese rice ..The light, fluffy, and slightly sticky when cooked is ideal for rice toppings and even for Paella (if you like your rice to have some stickiness).
The we dropped by “Itlog ni Tikya” . The owner recognized the ambassador and wanted a photo op with him. She plans to put the photo in her facebook page. The ambassador bought the quail eggs. Great for side dishes. I usually add quail eggs on my sauteed veggies.
The last stop was the fruit stalls. I told the ambassador that we get a lot of fruit imports from China, and America. I pointed him to the Sagada Oranges which are in season from September-February . The best ones are picked fresh in December. What great timing! Sagada oranges cost 50 pesos per orange. These oranges are really sweet.
It was time to say our goodbyes . It was a pretty short food tour but I am glad I was able to talk to him about a universal theme : food. Maybe we will meet again in a social media event.
What a productive day. I got to meet the friendly US ambassador and his family and I ended up shopping for my weekly menu. There are so many reasons to love Farmers’ market in Cubao. This mini food tour allowed me to rediscover the variety of produce at the Farmers’ market . I will buy the Curacha (red frog crab) from Zamboanga and the ube (purple yam) so I could prepare Ube Halaya.
Till my next visit.