These wet markets are part of the traditional Filipino food landscape and are a vital source of income for small-scale farmers, traders and businesses who don’t typically have access to the grocery shops and supermarket shelves which are usually reserved for the larger producers. They may be competing with new consumer trends and fast food joints but they’re a wonderful display of Filipino farming and the diversity of natural produce you find in the Philippines.
Wet markets across Asia have found themselves at the centre of debate both online and offline around food safety and animal trade, which has seen tighter controls come in to improve conditions whilst keeping them alive for their role in local culture as social spaces and affordable groceries for poorer communities.
Gene takes you around the Farmers Market in Cubao, Quezon City taking you through the vibrant, fresh produce coming to the market from around the Philippines from both the highlands and lowlands. In this video he guides you through some of the key ingredients which make up those iconic flavours characteristic to Filipino cuisine. Gene shows you the fresh pandan leaves which you’ll use the extract of later on in the course for Mark’s Leche Flan and yard beans or snake beans, which Budgie uses in his Seafood Sinigang.
In the meat section of the market, you’ll notice the culture of nose-to-tail eating in the Philippines, where full use is made of offcuts and offal. Not only is it more economical but is a great way of adding more flavour and a richness to broths and sauces, since these cuts are generally higher in collagen. This style of cooking is becoming more popular around the world as a more sustainable alternative, and is more in line with how our ancestors ate.