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Salcedo Community Market

The Salcedo Community Market is an outdoor market held on Saturdays at the corner of L.P Veliste and Toledo in the heart of the Makati Business District. Open from 7am - 2pm, it was started eight years ago by residents who occupy apartments in nearby high rises. With almost 150 vendors, the market attracts hundreds of visitors each Saturday and boasts a wide variety of goods; from whole roasted calf to plates and bowls made from locally sourced wood. We've included a picture of said calf after the jump. Just to warn you, it looks like a whole roasted calf.

Vendors line the market's square perimeter with more clustered at the center, creating four "lanes" through which customers can easily navigate.

Here's the source for which the Wholly Cow Lechon Baka vendor does a majority of its business. The animal is cooked all day over coals on a hand-cranked spit.

It's sliced to order.

Then chopped.

And served with what tasted like a sweeter barbecue sauce. Maybe plum-based, but definitely soy sauce, garlic, and sugar in there. Our inquiry revealed the old "That's a secret" spiel.

Young coconuts, known locally as buko, meet their fate at the hands of a skilled machettier.

This magtataho (taho vendor) was setup in the middle of one of the market's lanes. Taho, a common snack and a staple of Filipino comfort food, is comprised of silken tofu, arnibal, and pearl sago. We'll break it down for you in the next few pictures.

Silken tofu is undrained and unpressed tofu. Skipping these steps in the tofu-making process results in a delicate, custard-like tofu. It's housed in a large, aluminum bucket. Watching the magtataho use his sandok to slice off pieces into your cup with surgical precision is an ethereal experience.

Arnibal is a syrup made from carmelizing brown sugar and vanilla. Sago is a starch that is commonly produced in the form of pearls and shares a strong resemblance to tapioca pearls. The two are kept together in the same aluminum bucket, of which the magtataho brought two, anticipating the heavy foot traffic Salcedo Market brings.

Taho is usually served with a spoon or a straw, though it can easily be drank right from the cup. The popular snack tastes similar to sweetend tea and gets most of its flavor from the arnibal.

One of the vendors offering samples of sweet rice, called malagkit in Filipino dialect (Tagalog), which literally means "sticky."

Durian is one of many fruits native to Southeast Asia. We'll let Wikipedia describe it, "The edible flesh emits a distinctive odour, that is strong and penetrating even when the husk is intact. Some people regard the durian as pleasantly fragrant; others find the aroma overpowering and revolting. The smell evokes reactions from deep appreciation to intense disgust, and has been described variously as almonds, rotten onions, turpentine, and gym socks. The odour has led to the fruit's banishment from certain hotels and public transportation in Southeast Asia." We're of the rotten onions and gym socks contingent. When it comes to food, our rule is you have to try everything twice. Things like durian make that a foul rule.

One of the workers at Kasundo Meals keeps an eye on the barbecue pork skewers. Wicker fans are kept close by to fan the coals.

Sampling Kasundo Meals' barbecue. From left to right: liempo, barbecue pork, barbecue chicken thigh. This was the first proper liempo of the trip and a sensual collaboration of flavors made it outstanding. The delicious, smokey char of anything grilled over coal, coupled with the salty pork and sweet barbecue sauce that carmelized on the hot iron grill, puts this little number up for an MVP. The barbecue pork shared the previous highlights, but to a lesser degree. The chicken was exceptional. If everyone could barbecue chicken like that the world would be a far better place.

A basket of rambutan, the fruit of a tropical tree of the same name. P100 per kilo equals out to just over $1 per pound.

Rambutan is related to lychee and shows in it's sweet, white flesh.

Velazquez/Salcedo Park, Makati City Philippines | facebook

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