Sunday, August 7, 2011

Mercato Centrale Weekend Market : Top 7 Picks!

Aside from being busy with my professional career (a.k.a. day job) and being a food and travel blogger, I am also an amateur entrepreneur where I wake up early every Saturday morning to head to Mercato Centrale at the Bonifacio Global City to assist Paul in manning our stall. Despite the never-ending yawns and the struggle to keep my heavy eyelids open, I enjoy each market day as I get to interact with our customers who are simply amazing.

In addition to this, what makes us enjoy being part of Mercato Centrale is the fact that we have been lucky with a lot of great food finds from our neighboring stalls. Let me share with some of my Mercato Centrale favorites:

1) Mochiko Ice Cream

mercato centrale mochiko

Owned and operated by one of the coolest couples I know, Mochiko has been in business for more than a year and they still continue to come out with amazing flavors that never fails to tickle your taste buds. I stay loyal to two particular flavors -- Caramel (which has my favorite FIC Caramello Con Pastillas ice cream) and Black Sesame. I love the soft mochi covering and how the ice cream doesn't quickly melt as I leisurely take one bite after the other. I'll wait for the day that Mochiko will finally give in to my request and come out with a Durian mochi flavor! Come on Mochiko, let all durian lovers rejoice! :)

2) Muncheez


Marla's Muncheez was my first neighbor when we started selling in Mercato Centrale 5 months ago. I instantly felt very comfortable chatting with Marla who was very friendly and a fun neighbor to bond with. Just as sweet as I find Marla to be, I quickly fell in love with her delicious cereal bars that I never seem to get tired of. It has just the right amount of sweetness and I enjoy getting my fingers sticky as I would have a piece of cereal bars after every meal. It's truly a great snack (or dessert on my case) perfect for all ages.

3) Vegan Macrobiotics

mercato centrale vegan

When Mercato Centrale had two tents, Paul and I were lucky to be placed together with the organic vendors and all those selling the healthy stuff. One stall that had caught my attention was the Vegan Macrobiotics owned by fellow ICAn Chef Alice Ty. I first tried her Sate Tofu on a Stick and she had also created a vegan-version peanut sauce too. It was delicious! Quite crumbly but just the way I liked it.

Lately, I'm addicted to her Vegan Kare Kare meal which comes with Organic Red Rice and Vegan Bagoong. It's amazing! This just goes to show that being healthy doesn't mean you have to lack in flavor and compromise the over-all taste of the food. I enjoy having this for lunch as it makes me feel light despite the full cup of rice and generous serving of veggies that I would get per serving.

4) Gana Vida 

gana vida

Mercato Centrale is also a good place to shop for your weekly supply of frozen fish and fresh veggies. My mom loved the Gana Vida stall that sells frozen milkfish (bangus) and pates that she makes it a point to refill our stock every week. I love the milkfish pate Asian style that makes use of our very own greaseless garlic peanuts (yay!!). This is perfect with pasta, rice or crackers. I actually enjoy my afternoon snack with just a pack of crackers and a bottle of Gana Vida's bangus pate.

5) Spring by Ha Yuan

mercato centrale hayuan

I grew up patronizing Ha Yuan way back when they had a store in West Avenue, Quezon City. My dad would go there to buy their Maki Mi which was one of the best that I've tried and their fresh lumpia as well. I'm glad that I can easily buy a cup of soy milk, fresh lumpia or taho whenever the craving arises as Ha Yuan is located right across our stall in Mercato Centrale. The best part is, it's now being run by my high school friend Suzzie.

Just recently I tried their KaPao which are modern versions of the traditional cuapao. During my first visit, I tried the Monk's Choice which was the vegetarian version using tofu and all types of veggies inside a cuapao. This time I had the seafood KaPao which had crabmeat, egg, wansoy, a piece of fried wonton chip and a drizzle of sweet chili sauce. It was yummy!

6) Merry Moo

mercato centrale merry moo

Its amazing how Kelvin Ngo of Merry Moo can create a number of unique ice cream flavors and the best part is all of them tastes delicious. One time, Paul asked me what was my favorite Merry Moo flavor and I had to stop and decide whethere it was the Sea Salt Caramel or the Earl Grey Tea...or maybe the Candied Bacon? What I normally would do is to get a combination of two flavors in one cup to be able to satisfy my very fickle taste buds. Just recently, Kelvin made us try a new flavor that he's working on and it was a winner too! This is perfect especially on a warm day while shopping at Mercato Centrale.

7) Nasi

mercato centrale nasi

This was my latest discovery. After Nowie of Mochiko gave his two thumbs up for Chef Janus' Hainanese Chicken Rice, I made sure to reserve a bowl for us to try for lunch today. Chef Janus asked for my preferred chicken part and I told him I wanted the thigh portion.

mercato centrale nasi

He delivered my Hainanese Chicken Rice bowl (Php. 200) straight to our stall and I was so excited to dig in. The serving was quite big that I gladly shared it with Paul. I love how the chicken has been de-boned all the more making me enjoy my bowl without worrying about the tiny chicken bones and thus making a mess in the process. The sauce left me speechless. It was so flavorful and as Nowie mentioned, the chicken was tender and amazingly good. Initially, I thought Chef Janus made used for imported chicken but he told me its all locally sourced still he has successfully made the meat so soft while retaining the flavor and strengthening it even more. Another two thumbs up from me as well!

For orders, call Nasi (Chef Janus) at +63916-4239202. He can deliver for free within Makati City.

Let me also share with you what we're selling in Mercato Centrale:

just craving pichi pichi

Pichi-Pichi with Cheese
To be honest, I wasn't so sure how this will be received by the market goers on our first day in Mercato Centrale. What do you know?! I went home with an empty basket as our packs of pichi-pichi were all sold out! This became the usual scenario every single Saturday since then. We make use of fresh cassava and each pack has a generous serving of grated cheese. I'm glad that our customers love our pichi-pichi and I'd like for you to try them too! Shoot me an email for orders! :)

Read this cool review about our Pichi Pichi!! :) Thanks Yedy!! ♥

My husband Paul is also one of the distributors of Pampanga's well-loved greaseless nuts -- Allies Wonder Peanuts. Believe me, once you munch you can't stop! :) These comes in two sizes: 450g and 800g. Aside from Mercato Centrale, we are also available in:

Ya Kun Kaya Ortigas (Escriva Drive, Pasig City)
Wei Wang Chinese Deli (Wilson street, San Juan)
Little Store (J. Abad Santos, San Juan)
Jack's Fruit Store (Gen. de Jesus, San Juan)
Sweet Taste (D. Tuazon, Quezon City)

Check out the testimonials given by fellow bloggers and customers:
Animetric's World
The Food Alphabet
The (Mis)Adventures of Superboink
YedyLicious Food Blog
Wild About Retail
Food Health Reviews
The Philippine Beat

For orders: Call +63917-5388125.

Now, I think that gives you a LOT of reasons to head to Mercato Centrale every Saturday and Sunday from 7AM to 2PM. There are still more great finds that you have to check out such as Gold Leaf Tea, Oriental Baskets' Honey Shrimp Sauce, Margie's Paella and more more more!

Mercato Centrale is located at the corner of 9th Avenue and 30th Street, Bonifacio Global City (near MC Home Depot).


  1. i like to try Merry Moo =) and
    you're pichi-pichi with cheese was truly mouth-watering

  2. thanks lelay!! :) just shoot me an email should you be interested to order :) or visit us at Mercato Centrale next saturday!!

  3. Hi Fran,

    Thanks so much for loving our sea salt caramel :)
    Will be tweaking our Maple Walnut to have a stronger maple flavor. :) Good luck on us both and see you around in Mercato Centrale

  4. I had a short foray into veganism (is that a real word? Hehehe!) a few years ago. It was more for health reasons and I absolutely loved the experience. One of the best things I've learned is that vegetarian kare-kare can be just as tasty as its meat-filled counterpart. So guess I'm trying out your suggestion at Mercato when I visit soon. =)

  5. @jane: visit us this saturday! my booth is very near that of the Vegan Macrobiotics :)


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