The Cubao Farmers Market

posted by 10/07/2015 6 Comments

Recently we ventured out on our ‘Exploring the Markets’ Adventure once again. I had been talking to one of my Filipino friends about markets and she mentioned the Cubao Farmers Market that was large and meant to be quite good. I got online and did some research.

The Cubao markets are one of the oldest markets in Manila. It is housed in a building that is apparently (no solid evidence here sorry) one of the first shopping malls. The building underwent a renovation when the Metro Rail System was put through during the 1990’s, turning it into a great two story open space perfect for a market setup. From my understanding, this is a farm direct market and it is in the heart of Metro Manila which makes it easily accessible to the public.

The Cubao Farmers Market

I found a few blogs that talked about how clean this place was for a wet market so I was keen to check it out. Now to be clear, I have never ever been good with raw meat of any sort. It just not my thing. The thought of heading to a wet market makes me feel queasy. The smell and the sight is something to behold. You can avert your eyes if need be, but you cannot get the stench out of your nostrils. That stench of warm meat, sitting in the humid heat slowly becoming rancid. That scent that dries your throat, gets caught in your tastebuds as you breath. That pungent stink. So I mentally prepared myself for this next market experience and realised I really need to invest in some closed toe shoes to protect me from the ‘ick’ factor.

On arrival we walked in through one of the entrances and down a corridor. We were met as expected with the pungent stench of raw meat sitting in humid heat. It was like a rabid beast laid waiting for its next victim. Energy building as it got the scent of its oncoming prey. As we ventured deeper into its lair, out it leapt and engulfed us with a force that made me draw in a deep breath and physically stop and step back. I needed a moment to reorient myself. Onwards we walked, the children holding their noses. Despite the smell which is unavoidable, the meat looked fresh. At the other side of the ground floor was the seafood and I was amazed that this putrid stench that was consuming every sensory receptor in my body stopped suddenly and we

It’s very relaxed here

were met with the cool scent of the ocean. The seafood section was surprisingly fresh. I had read that it was yet I expected that pungent fishy smell to take over and fight with the putrid meat smell for our lives. Not so. Nothing really but the scent of the sea which indicates fresh seafood. Piles of lovely green mussels, scallops, fish, clams, crayfish. SB who loves his seafood was in heaven.

We moved upstairs to the fruit and veg and we were thrilled to see that the quality and range was excellent. One of our issues is the lack of ‘freshfruit and vegetables over here. It all seems sad, old and despite the marketenvironment, it is wilted. It is also relatively tasteless, compared to what we are used to back home. Here, the store owners receive fresh batches of produce throughout the day so the quality is a lot higher than what we have experienced elsewhere.  I brought a basket to carry our goods in and we purchased some river spinach, honey bottled in an old spirit bottle and then went back for the seafood.

Watching Hopia get made

Walking down the street on our way to find a taxi home, we found a little bakery selling a traditional Pinoy pastry called Hopia. We watched with interest as thebaker was taking freshly cooked pastries out of their moulds. I brought a box of Mongo (Mung Bean Paste) Hopia which were still warm and we headed home. BB really loved eating these. We were pretty happy with our new discovery and are excited to plan regular trips back to this market to get our fresh produce.

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Sheryl Rose 13/07/2015 at 9:11 am

Oh that looks like so much fun. The pictures are amazing. The top picture of the market place I thought to myself when I saw the eggs especially how much work went into making it look so charming. The second picture reminded me of Mexico at siesta time with those 2 men laying about. And your 3rd picture makes me want to try one of those yummy looking desserts! Love the story:)

Salty Bug 13/07/2015 at 9:54 am

Thanks for stopping by Sheryl, I do think about the effort that goes into those eggs too, and the piles of rice! It all looks so neat. I'm glad you enjoyed my post.

Marie Loerzel 21/07/2015 at 5:00 am

The variety of putrid stenches are one of the most fascinating things about foreign lands!

Salty Bug 21/07/2015 at 8:06 am

Agreed! It's quite mind blowing really!

China Town & Food - What's Not to Love? - SaltyBug 31/05/2016 at 11:56 pm

[…] we got to try a few different flavours. Now, I am not a fan of Hopia, we got it that time at the Cubao Farmers Market. Outside there was a shop that was making it fresh. I was fascinated with the cooking process but […]

Looking for a Weekend Jaunt? Check out Cubao - SaltyBug 09/05/2017 at 4:25 pm

[…] have written previously about the Cubao Farmers Market which is in our opinion, the best wet market around. This is where we shop for our fresh fruit and […]


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