Manila: Supermarket Sweep

I hope my friends and family back East are doing okay! It’s kind of scary watching the coverage of Hurricane Sandy from afar. NYC is starting to look like Gotham on lock-down to me (that’s not a good thing). Typhoon “Ofel” is looming over the Philippines currently but so far intermittent rain is its only damage in Manila. I almost feel guilty being in 80 degree weather. I’m sure y’all think I’m crazy. Well, one of the things I like to do when visiting a new city is check out their supermarket. It sounds silly but trolling the aisles of supermarkets and checking out what’s new is kind of fun for me.

Spam! Brings back childhood memories.

I find Manila to be a pretty cool city. To be honest, there is not really much to do in metro Manila (but remember, I was in Kabul for my last trip). Manila is usually seen as a stopover city to the country’s amazing beaches. I definitely want to do some island hopping one day. There are just a little over 7,000 islands! I like Manila because it is a really accessible city. I can walk to places (there are sidewalks), there are a ton of food options (probably half of them are chains), there are fun bars with live music, and people overall are very friendly. Currently, the weather is hot and humid but manageable aka I’m sweating but my clothes aren’t sticking to me. It’s a nice comfortable place for me 🙂

A popular Filipino staple is ube, or purple yam. Ube is used in desserts such as cakes, cookies, and ice cream. It is all over the place!

Ube-filled crackers. Enriched with Vitamin A!

At first the color turned me off. For some reason, I don’t like eating natural ‘colored’ foods like blue corn tortilla chips or tricolor pasta. I know, it’s weird! I’m slowly getting over it. I tried ube ice cream and it was pretty good (see, people change).

I contemplated buying some ube powder but figured it would be one of those items that I’ll buy and end up never using. Pasta is a ‘thing’ here strangely. I see it on almost every fast food menu. There’s regular pasta and then there is Filipino-style pasta, which is sweeter because the sauce includes banana ketchup (mashed bananas and sugar). 

Not sure if I will try this sweet pasta. I imagine it would be something Elf would like to eat for breakfast. But I also found savory pasta-related items:

Isn’t Lays looking for a new potato chip flavor?

I even saw spaghetti in the ramen aisle:

Tuna is also another popular item here. I found a frozen tuna pizza! But the weirdest (or most interesting) tuna-related food I saw were these “healthylicious” tuna hot dogs:

I guess anything really could be made into a ‘hot dog’ so why not tuna. 

I noticed the produce at this particular supermarket are wrapped in plastic. I’m not sure if this is standard across all stores. I guess it keeps your vegetables clean? 

This supermarket also had a hot bar. This one is my favorite: 

Chessy Ham Stick: Elongated sweet bun topped with lots of cheese and ham bits, then drizzle with mayonnaise. YUM.
I hope I didn’t make Manila look boring seeing as how my first post from the city is about shopping at the grocery store. I swear there’s more to the city. 


6 thoughts on “Manila: Supermarket Sweep

  1. I love this post. It's always super interesting to see what other countries have in their supermarkets. I wasn't a huge fan of ube… maybe I'm just not used to the taste.


  2. That doesn't look like our old Trader Joe's! I love looking in supermarkets too- you can find such interesting stuff that you never new existed and yet people from other cultures eat regularly. I've never heard of ube, but now I want to try those pillows!


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