Midnight Mercato: A Weekend Night Market

I haven’t visited Mercato Centrale (the day market) since it started, but I was able to check out Midnight Mercato first with other blogger friends last weekend. This is defiintely for night people like me who can’t wake up early on weekend mornings. πŸ™‚

Chille/Hot Taho!

Chilled/Hot Taho by Tahooo!

It was also the launching night of Midnight Mercato at the Bonifacio Global City last Friday so there was a simple opening ceremony, ribbon-cutting, guests, and the likes.

Briefly to the unaware, Midnight Mercato is a weekend late night food bazaar where foodies and barkadas can hanging out and enjoy great food you can’t easily find otherwise. You can feast on a wide array of food choices from gourmet selections to ‘lutong bahay‘ (home cooked) dishes; even sosyal street food and balut included. Add to that acoustic musical performances by Rock Ed – all in an air-conditioned ‘kubol.’ Yes, that is Tagalog for ‘tent’ (as fellow blogger Alex shared).

Here are some food trip photos I’m sharing from:

Buy 1 take 1 Sausages & Chips To Go

Buy 1 take 1 Sausages @ P150 and Chips To Go Booth (similar to Potato Loops)

Monster Burger & the Monster Burger Challenge

Monster Burger & the Monster Burger Challenge (finish it in 4 minutes and it's FREE!)

Nutsylicious

Nutsylicious have different kinds of nuts including walnuts and pistachios!

After all the photos, it’s my tummy’s turn. So I got an authentic shawarma (P75) from a Mediterranean-looking guy whose booth I forgot, three Mochiko mochi ice cream, and  some Takoyaki balls.

Mochiko Mochi Ice Cream @ P70

Mochiko Mochi Ice Cream @ P70

Mochiko had a very long line and was out of stock before 12midnight. That speaks for itself. πŸ™‚

I also had a set of Armenian Lavosh Chips with Pesto Mozarella Cheese dip (P145) from the stall with a witty name of ‘5 loaves and 2 Fishes.’

Armenian Lavosh Chips and Claypot Chicken Rice

Armenian Lavosh Chips (right); Claypot Chicken Rice (left)

Big Bob's Burgers

Big Bob's Quarter Pounder Burgers

I also got a bottle of Raw Honey and Organic Gourmet Rice from ‘Fresh Start‘. They’re quite pricey actually but I know mom would love the brown rice while I use the honey as sugar substitute in my morning milk (there goes the revelation). πŸ™‚

Fresh Start Organic Gourmet Rice & Raw Honey

Fresh Start Organic Gourmet Rice (Brown Rice P200) & Raw Honey (P300)

There were a number of media outfits and got to spot some celebrities including Mara’s Mom in ‘Mara Clara‘ , Ashlee Gosengfiao, Sarah Meier (I think), Mercato Centrale guy RJ Ledesma, and others. I also spotted Anton Diaz and wife Rachel at the Human Nature booth.

Human Nature Mexican Kitchen

Rachel @ Human Nature booth (right); Mexican Kitchen (left)

Balut (Duck Embryo)

Balut (Duck Embryo)

I wanted to try so much more but I can only take in so much having come from a full dinner at Rai-Rai Ken a few minutes before going to Mercato Centrale.

There were also other food finds which caught NomNom’s fancy and instantly became a favorite.

Watch out for that post coming out next week including my predictable Mochiko review. πŸ™‚

Mercato Centrale Grilled Food

It was a haven of grilled food, hamburgers, and suasages outside the Midnight Mercato Tent.

Moreover, I got some tips from foodie friends and is looking forward to try the following in my next visits:

Off Beat Burger‘s Krispy Kreme Burger,  Ravioli’s of Natalia,  and the Angus Beef Tapa Rice Toppings, among others.

Krispy Kreme Burger

Krispy Kreme Burger

I also got news from Antin Diaz’s blog that Bale Dutung will start tonight @ Midnight Mercato! I’ll have to wait a little longer though as I will be going to Thunderbird’s Resort in Rizal tonight and I’ll be at the Pyromusical competition in SM Mall of Asia tomorrow.

Check out more about Midnight Mercato and Mercato Centrale here.

Midnight Mercato Tent, Tables, and Interiors

Midnight Mercato Tent, Tables, and Interiors

Midnight Mercato happens every Fridays and Saturdays at Bonifacio Global City from 11pm to 3am the next day. They are located at the corner of 31st and 9th streets (vacant lots between Serendra and STI Fort). Mercato Centrale day market continues Saturday and Sunday 7am to 2pm.

How To Eat A Balut (The Balut-Eating Challenge)

Balut is a Philippine street fare which is rarely welcomed by foreign tastebuds, especially when they are oriented on what it is.

Philipine Balut

Philipine Balut

Balut is fertilized duck embryo, cooked, kept warm, and usually sold as street food.

The concept is generally a taboo in western countries but also available in other south east asian neighbors like Vietnam and Laos. A famous source of balut in the Philipines is Pateros where incubation and selection of the eggs are carefully done.

NomnomClub.com @ WordCamp Philippines 2009

NomnomClub.com @ WordCamp Philippines 2009

Eating balut has also been featured in a number reality-TV series as part of daredevil tasks like Survivor, Amazing Race and Fear Factor. It is also considered an aphrodesiac.

In a WordCamp Philippines 2009 conference held last Saturday, we had Beau Lebens and Seth Bindernagel as guests speakers from WordPress and Mozilla, respectively.

WordCamp Philippines 2009

WordCamp Philippines 2009

On a gathering at the night after the wordcamp conference, a balut vendor passed by Whistlestop where we were having our dinner. And being foreigner and guests, we dared them to take on a balut-eating challenge. Seth was game and ready, although Beau needed a little more convincing.

The Japanese guy, also from Mozilla, was tough. He compared the probable experience to Japan’s serving of fish sperm. This totally deserves a completely separate blog (perhaps next time). πŸ™‚

Seth Bindernagel

Seth Bindernagel

Anyhow, it was Autralia versus the USA with Seth on the right corner and Beau on the left. The Wordcamp organizers, volunteers, and friends taught them the step by step procedures as to how to eat a balut and proded them on in the process mentioning “don’t look” (at the embryo) so as not to visually discouraged them. LOL.

How To Eat A Balut

  1. Lightly tap the tip of the egg shell on any hard surface just like a hard boiled egg. This is done with caution so as not to spill the young duck’s juice.
  2. After a hole has been punctured, one could immediately sip the warm juice. The broth essence is full of protein.
  3. Peel off the rest of the eggshells to reveal most parts of the yolk and the young chick.
  4. Give it a dash of salt to enhance the flavor. The embryo is slightly moist as some of the juice still remains. This is perfect for the pinch of salt to mix with.
  5. Eat while still warm. Swallowing it whole is possible but bite-after-bite is recommended. (do not forget to remove the “white part” which is hard and rubbery – this part is not eaten as it is hard to digest).
  6. Congratulations! You have just proven that you are as tough as the Survivor, Amazing Race and Fear Factor contestants! πŸ™‚
Peel off the Shells

Peel off the Balut Shells

Add a Pinch of Salt

Add a Pinch of Salt

Chew Away :)

Chew Away πŸ™‚

With the recent interest in balut, the delicacy has found itself  served in different ways including as appetizers in restaurants, preserved in bottles, or cooked as adobo. Unsold balut in the streets are eventually fried and sold as a different delicacy alltogether.

Here’s a video of the “How To Eat Balut” incident.:

A good tip is to choose your balut young, with the embryo as undeveloped yet as possible. This means that the young chick is “not yet” a chick. Otherwise, you’ll feel some feathers/hair in your tongue or end up chewing out the balut‘s “beak“. Eeewww. LOL. πŸ™‚ Nomnomnom.

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