It’s a big ugly bastard of a fish, with it’s big head being the biggest part. If I laid my hand across it, from the bottom of the head to the top, my fingers wouldn’t get past the eye. I was kind of shocked when I saw it laying there, not so much just because of its size, but because of how disproportionate it is.
Despite it’s odd appearance, it made a might fine soup.
In the Philippines, most sizeable towns have a wet market, which is known locally as a palengke. When you want to go to the market, you can tell the driver of your transportation of choice that you simply want to go to the palengke and they’ll know what you’re talking about.
The wet market in Antipolo is pretty big. It actually has two floors, but the second floor is mostly dry goods and household items. The real wet market is on the lower level. It reminded me of the wet market in Chow Kit, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia except bigger. We saw plenty of sea food, from shrimp to huge fish, as well as pork, chicken, and veggies.
The prices at the wet market are usually the best you can find in town. We got a kilo of pork for what would be about 4 USD. I guess it’s because there’s very little mark-up for land rental and employee compensation. The sanitary conditions are a bit questionable by my American standards, but if all the people I saw in the market are any indication, no one dies eating food they bought there. Or at least, not any more than at any other place.
If you plan on living in the Philippines for any length of time and you’re interested in getting good deals on food, you should make it a point to visit the wet markets. I don’t know if there are any in Manila, but I assume there would be.
Here are some photos of the place so you can get a feel for what to expect if you ever visit a wet market in the Philippines:
(Note: I’m testing a new format for uploading a lot of pictures. Hopefully the watermark doesn’t show up huge on the blown-up image after clicking the thumbnail!)
Just down the steps from the Chow Kit monorail station.
The busy Chow Kit wet market.
This photo was also taken in the Chow Kit wet market. The man is using a machine to shred coconut meat.
A neighborhood in the Chow Kit area. The houses seem to be arranged in such a way that some don’t front the street at all. You can see the blue house in the background which only has access to the road using a driveway.
Chow Kit street cats.
I took this photo from a bus when we were on our way back from the Batu Caves. Mangay’s. I just thought it was an interesting sign. We saw a McCurry and a McBath along the same road.
I’m still very much looking forward to the next time we’ll get to visit Kuala Lumpur. I miss the food and the excitement there.
Just down the street from the guest house we’re staying in is Chow Kit Market. We were actually under the impression that it was a huge hawker style area where we could get good local food for a good price. Instead, it turned out to be a sprawling, mostly covered wet market. It was definitely wet too. The floors were cut with grooves to help water flow out of the market and into the drainage system.
It was pretty cool to walk through. We saw everything from fresh veggies to cat fish so fresh they were still flopping. I wonder if there’s something similar in Singapore and we just haven’t seen it yet?
Walking through this market was also the first time I noticed just how many Malaysian flags are flying in Kuala Lumpur. They’re everywhere. Malaysians are definitely proud of their country.