The Pinoy food blogging event Lasang Pinoy focuses this month on “street food” and I thought what better way than to focus on one of my favorite public places in Manila: Quiapo. Although the nouveau riche would rather hang out in the sanitized confines of Greenbelt, I agree with Carlos Celdran when he said that “Quiapo shows you what Manila truly is … dirty, noisy, colorful and full of soul.” Maybe because the place is so rife with contradictions. As I’ve said before: where else can you find a Church where they sell abortifacients outside and tell fortunes like it was Gospel-truth? Catholics flock here on Fridays and yet the Muslims rule via their temptingly illegal pirated DVDs trade. Maybe Quiapo’s appeal to me lies in the fact that there is a secret waiting to be unravelled in its every nook and cranny. In any case, it is a bargain shopper’s paradise. My friends would say I court an element of danger everytime I go here but danger is exciting and I get to love Manila all the more because of it.
In Quiapo, street food is a given. There are vendors on every corner and young kids never fail to badger you to buy their plastic bags for so-and-so. The energy begins in the area around Plaza Miranda with its countless stalls selling flowers, candles, all kinds of novelty items and of course food.
Even though my digital camera was in danger of being snatched anytime,I had a heyday documenting the extensive variety of street food, as the pictures would show.
Whenever I am in Quiapo, I never fail to buy the sinaing na tulingan sold by the vendors coming from as far as Laguna and Batangas. This one is great as a dish paired with rice or flaked to make an excellent topping for tulingan pasta. The laing and ginataang hipon they sell is also great and cost only from P25 to P30 per order.
The vendors from Bulacan, on the other hand, have two tents full of their culinary specialties on Hidalgo St. going to the old SM Shoemart.Here, they sell all sorts of lumpiang prito, kakanin and assorted pansit for as little as P15 per order. Street food never came this cheap.