When we got there, however, I was a little disappointed. Overall, Mercato Centrale was just average. Then again, I just made the rounds of Christmas bazaars so I might have expected more.
Mercato Centrale is divided into three parts: the grill area outside (for all that smoke, where everything HOT and GRILLED are), the first tent (with all the fresh, organic, and healthy products from Oh Baby, Indigo Baby, Herb's best, Comida Rica, etc are) and the second tent (that allows for the savory and sweet stuff with indoor dining, where you can get bagnet sandwich, paella and more baked goodies).
the outdoor area where there's a lot of sausages, burgers and sandwiches
those in the covered pots are fish tulingan and the like
I guess I really expected it more to be a market filled with not just food but a lot of other things and trinkets that you don't easily get. Unfortunately, half of the vendors in the fresh and green tent are also selling at Legazpi and Salcedo, White Space and other bazaars. There is nothing wrong with them selling there, just that they're not unique with Mercato.
the bagnet station
the bagnet sandwich (forgot what type of bread this is), this cost over P100... it was ok
fresh lumpia at about P70, so-so said hubs
paella that costs P250, which was tasty for me but so-so for hubs (then again, his standards are real high for paella)
Honestly, I think Mercato Centrale is overrated. It's not bad a place to go, just overrated. And the prices of food real high. Plus, the time we went there, those selling baked goodies should really go home. I appreciate the taste test but Betty Crocker stuff tasted a hundred times better, and theirs supposedly are made from scratch.
We did buy a lot of Herb's Best malunggay, onion & garlic and squash chips. At P75 each or 3-for-P100, it's still really expensive but it's for my aunts and uncles abroad.
We also bought a cheese pesto dip from Comida Rica and a pot of bagoong (with tamarind and honey and only slightly spicy) from this other vendor. And yes, we were happy with our purchases.
Would we go there again? Why not, if we're in the area or I want some cheese pesto dip again. After all, Mercato Centrale is free. But you can buy similar stuff in their savory & sweet section at Market Market or other Sunday markets. And most of the mommy-baby stuff can be bought online (hi, Multiply).
So yeah, I might go there again if only to try the sinful, stroke-inviting burgers and sandwiches.
Oh, I do like the fact that most people who go there limit their 'kalat' when eating and that there are people who clean the tables up after. It may still prove hard to find seats at rush hour.
Anyway, Mercato Centrale operates Saturdays and Sundays from 6:00am - 2:00pm. You can also check their website http://www.mercatocentrale.ph/ to learn more about their commissaries or to also be one.
Heck, i'd love for my SIL to sell our tokwa't baboy there and give all those other vendors a run for their money.
Note: I am no foodie but I know my cookies and brownies. hehe.