The Bacolod City Central Market is one of my favorite places to shoot.
Coffee stalls in markets use evaporated milk in cans instead of cream or fresh milk. Cans are then reused as take-away containers for coffee instead of paper, plastic and styrofoam cups.
After a memorable gastronomic weekend highlighted by the Marketmanila Lechon feast, I bade goodbye to Cebu with a box full of chopped up lechon and other goodies to bring home. On the trip back to the airport we passed through a cemetery and I took a picture of this scene from the window of the taxi. A man and his display of grave markers. Life and death. Lechons and Lapidas.
The man behind the legendary Marketmanila blog finally decided to open up a restaurant and I just had to be there. Allow me to share some photos for words are not enough to describe the unctuous goodies I consumed like a hungry and starved piranha.
Here’s Marketman’s very own version of lechon with pricked skin served in a counter visible to the diners. What a visual treat seeing crisp pork chopped into lovely bite sized pieces.
This is the Zubuchon set meal. A generous serving of lechon and rice served with vinegar, soy sauce and chili oil for your dipping sauce.
Binagoongang Lechon. This is a powerful blend of Bagoong and Pork. Whoever thought of marrying almost microscopic fermented shrimp and pork is a genius.
Red Curry Lechon and Monggo with Lechon drippings and Chicharon. Self Explanatory. Shut up and order extra rice.
Slow-cooked adobo. One of Marketmanila’s obession is the quest to create the perfect adobo. Cooked in a palayok or clay pot with just a few basic ingredients, this adobo is the closest you can get to a meal our ancestors ate.
The Zubuchon story in standees with the cute little red pig icon. The restaurant has minimal decor. No flashy neon gizmos out to distract you from what you really came for. Crunchy MSG free Chicharon smileys on the foreground.
I have to end this calorific post with something refreshing. A tall glass of Iba or Kamias shake. Now who would have imagined that tart fruit commonly used as a souring ingredient make an excellent shake.
Zubuchon is at One Mango Mall, Mango Avenue in Cebu City. A second branch is opening soon at the Escario building near the Provincial Capitol.
Eat Pork and be happy.
From the vantage point of the back seat of a jeepney, I take out my camera, make some adjustments, point, shoot, return camera inside the bag. The shot was not sharp. It was in fact a blur. A pleasant, smoky, light splattered blur.
As night falls and the stores close for the night and people rush for home, a small portion of the sidewalk along Gonzaga street is about to start its day. Tables, benches and plastic chairs are set and trays of food on display. What was a busy sidewalk in front of a bakery, a pawnshop and a shoe store is now an instant alfresco diner.
Coffee with milk. Milk from a can. Milk from a cow processed by man and packed in a can. A fried egg. Some days served runny and some days served dry. A few pieces of bread. Chewy little buns. Break open one with a fork and make a little runny egg sandwich. Dunk and wipe up the yolk with the rest.
Sit, watch and listen to the buzz. Street-level pundits and their take on politics. Sports fans and their predictions. Engineers and their plans. Dreamers and their lottery tickets. Clutch-bagged folks and their transactions. Have another cup.
This little meal costs about 30 pesos, less than a dollar, a third of what you pay for in a coffee chain.
It is difficult to erase a fat-loving genetic trait passed on through generations. Fat was a food element necessary for the survival of the prehistoric caveman. Fat, in the modern age, is a necessary flavor and texture element for food. Fat makes that chicken thigh succulent and the absence of fat makes chicken breast a sad and dry piece of poultry that health buffs consume in sorrow. A diet devoid of fat is a death sentence for the taste buds. As you chew on that dry piece of chicken breast, your taste buds cry out, wail and gnash their tiny taste bud teeth, hopelessly wishing for a taste of marrow or fish belly fat. That celery you chew are your taste buds worst nightmare.
Fat in food will kill you… so will the pesticides in your Salad Nicoise’ and the monster genes in your chicken breasts.
The picture is that of a beef shank soup known locally as “kansi.” Tender meat, chewy tendon and heavenly marrow in a hot, savory, fat-laden soup with a tinge of sourness. This is a terribly overpriced indulgence in the two known Kansi places in the city but here are other lesser known greasy-spoon diners called “carinderias” that serve these shanks at lesser prices, secret little places inside markets, alleys, villages.