Metro Manila · Wet Markets
Endless chains of sausages, tables laden with the freshest seafood, baskets filled with exotic fruits, mountains of rice: wet markets are the best way to get to know the world of Philippine food.
Wet Market is how the public food markets are called in the Philippines and in many other Asian countries. They typically consist of a cramped market hall, surrounded by further stalls on the streets. The name comes from the wet floors which are regularly hosed to keep them clean. You can find wet markets in many barangays (neighborhoods), but they are often hidden in little side streets. Just ask a neighbor or security guard for the nearest market. The best time to go there is the early morning, when the fresh products have just been delivered.
The variety of fresh meat, fish, and greens is often bigger than in the supermarket, and the prices of many products are considerably lower. Here is also where you find all the ingredients if you want to prepare traditional Filipino food by yourself. And while a supermarket in Manila does not differ too much from one in Kyoto or Bangkok, buying at the wet market is a real experience. One marketer offers pork heads and knuckles hanging on hooks, at the next stall you find heaps of snails or fish so fresh they are actually still breathing. Rice is sold by the kilogram and you can choose among at least ten different kinds.
But the highlight are the stalls with greens, where one gets fruits and vegetables in every color and form imaginable. Try for example the red and 'hairy' rambutan, the sticky little lanzones, the spiky and somehow smelly durian, or the sweet-sour langka, or jackfruit. The fruits of the Philippines are a perfect refreshment on a hot day. If you decide to buy meat or seafood, however, be cautious about the quality and cook or fry it very well. Check also our tips regarding healthy food.