Foodie Adventure at Mercato Centrale & Midnight Mercato

The foodie in me just came out of the closet. Imagine Banchetto and Legaspi Sunday Market in the quiet but hip side of town on weekends, from Friday to Sunday. Both the new weekend lifestyle market and the night foodie market promise gastronomic adventures for food lovers out there in Manila.

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The Location
Both Mercato Centrale @BGC and Midnight Mercato are conveniently located at the corner of 34th street and 8th Avenue beside MC Home Depot in Bonifacio Global City.

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Bonifacio Global City (BGC), commonly known as Fort Bonifacio or The Fort in Taguig City, is one of Manila’s latest hotspots and rumored to be the next Makati City due to the sprouting of offices there in the past few years. It has wide roads, green spaces, underground power lines, low-rise shopping and dining areas and newly constructed residential condominiums. A visit to BGC always transports me to a more peaceful and serene Manila scene by day and a fun events place where you can still see joggers in the streets by night. It could be a nice experience to live there and just enjoy a laid-back weekend, foodie or non-foodie.

Schedules
Going back to the topic, Mercato Centrale is open every Saturdays and Sundays from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. while Midnight Mercato is held from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. on a Wednesday, Friday and Saturday). For updates, go to the Mercato Centrale website here and the Midnight Mercato website here.

Foodie Choices
Here’s a glimpse of interesting foodie choices I saw on a Midnight Mercato held last February 11, 2011. The Mercato is a nice experience rain or shine, smoking or non-smoking foodies considered too! 

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There were fully air-conditioned covered tents with chairs and tables. 

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Open-aired tents also with chairs and tables were set up outside. It can accommodate foodies of all kinds. I missed the all-diners tent and the dining under the stars section!

Familiar Filipino
The inviting smell of this tapa led me to the Taparazzi booth. 

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It’s P150 for the Sweet and Sosy Tapa (Marinated US Beef cooked in Sweet Salty Garlicky Sauce) with rice and also P150 for the Beef Tapa Bacon Style (Crispy Fried Thinly Sliced Salty US Beef Tapa). I felt my mouth watering as I was typing the words. I should have bought this even for my breakfast the next day!

Drinks

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Drinks were available like the smooth P30 homemade iced tea of BBQ Pit. Beer and alcoholic drinks not allowed. Cheers to a wholesome family experience! Foodies of all ages considered too!

Grilled

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Inihaws (everything grilled) are located on the outside extension. 

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One thing noticeable is that there are lots of gourmet sausages being sold.

Spanish and Mongolian

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Aside from the European sausages, there was paella as well,

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from the same infamous Legaspi Market seller.

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(Paella Negra, a whopping P280!).

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Make your own rice ala Paella Mongolian-Style.

Burgers
The burgers were the most impressive contenders and attention-grabbers for the night. 

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You can only find burgers in a Krispy Kreme donut bun here at Off Beat. 

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Big Bob’s burgers and steak sandwiches seemed like a satisfying jumbo meal.

Asian Snacks and Desserts
For those who want Japanese, I saw a number of Takoyaki stalls. 

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There was one stall selling Chinese-inspired Mandu Fries (Fried Chinese Mantou cut like fries then dipped into condensed milk). 

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There was a line for the frozen Mochi (big ice cream inside but a little expensive for P70 each). 

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We tried six flavors – Green Tea Mochi, Azuki Mochi, Vanilla Mochi (second), Rose Vanilla Mochi (limited edition for February), Caramel Mochi and Strawberry Mochi (I liked this the best).

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Wait for 2 minutes and this frozen treat will be ready to eat. They will start to melt in an hour or so.

Take Home

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For the market experience, I brought home a heavy bag of organic rice (I got the interesting Forbidden Black Rice for P205) 

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and some unopened Macadamia nuts (P240 per small pack, not worth it). 

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I was super disappointed with the nuts because they were expensive and some of them were brown inside (I didn’t dare eat those). 

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I used to eat these happily in China and I never opened one that was brown inside. It was superior than these from the US?

When You’ve Had Enough Food

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Enjoy local music and just hang out during a Midnight Mercato. 

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It's okay to take some pictures as a souvenir.

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