If there’s one pastime that cuts through all ages, races, genders, etc., it’s eating. However, there’s always the struggle to answer that one all-important question: where do we eat?
For groups struggling to find that common ground and even for individuals looking for great gastronomic variety on weekends, weekend food markets are just the ticket. They’ve got something for everyone, plenty of options to keep things exciting, and are open only on weekends for that unique weekend experience. And luckily for those of us in Cebu, we’ve got three different ones, with apparently more to come.
So which one should you go to? Well that depends on what you’re hankering for and the kind of experience you’d prefer. Here’s a breakdown of what I know from the three food markets I’ve been to so far:
Sugbo Mercado is probably the hottest weekend food market in Cebu right now, and for good reason. It offers great variety– a food fest of everything from full meals to snacks to desserts. There are several different options: Italian, Japanese, Mexican (Meximama offers the best Mexican food in town, hands down), even Indonesian-Dutch cuisine (courtesy of Cribs)! Of course there’s also finger-licking good lechon, ribs and mouthwatering sisig. Cookie shots, ice cream sandwiches, gelato, churros and even butterbeer are also available to satiate your sweet tooth.
The outdoor setting is an added bonus, as it lets diners enjoy the cool night air and have a laid back dining experience beneath the trees and the stars. There’s also live music and sometimes a host who stops by each of the stalls to announce their offerings, saving people from having to take a turn around the market.
One thing you have to take note if you’re planning to have a sit-down meal here is you might want to rethink that, or head over there extra early. It gets packed around 7 and seating will become hard to come by.
Another thing you need to know is that comfort rooms may be a bit of a walk away (in one of the nearby buildings) if you opt not to use one of the installed porta potties. Mercado can also be inconvenient during rainy days. Though it is covered by large tents, getting there will require an umbrella if it rains. Also, mud and puddles can still form (in I.T. Park) despite the gravel on the ground making navigating through the busy stalls a bit of a challenge (especially if you got your white sneakers on).
Sugbo Mercado is open at the Garden Bloc of I.T. Park Thursdays to Saturdays from 5 PM to 1 AM and at Cebu Business Park Fridays to Sundays from 4 PM to 12 AM. They will also be opening another branch soon somewhere in the SRP-Talisay area.
Cebu Food Market, Banilad Town Centre
If you prefer your food market indoors, then you may prefer the Cebu Food Market at Banilad Town Centre (BTC).
While it may not offer as many food options as Sugbo Mercado, it offers a more relaxed food market experience in my opinion, and a more convenient one too considering the market is indoors. If you’ve got kids with you it’s easier to keep track of them here, comfort rooms are easily accessible, and you can do plenty of other things here besides eat. After nomming on hearty roast beef and mashed potatoes, baked zitti, chicken skin, crab relleno, maki rolls and plenty of other things, you can stroll around the shops, hit the boxing gym, do some yoga, or even do some grocery shopping in the supermarket one floor below.
In the previous times I’ve eaten here there weren’t that many people, so seating wasn’t much of a problem. I was also not limited to the offerings indoors, with stalls like Jafar’s, PaoBao and Potato Corner easily accessible right outside the main market area.
The Cebu Food Market at BTC is open only on Saturdays, from 10 AM to 9PM.
Tinda Locale, The Greenery
This weekend market is fairly new and small, but is already attracting a lot of people. It’s conveniently located at The Greenery in Kasambagan, which is very close to both the Ayala Mall and I.T. Park.
Tinda Locale has the beginnings of a good weekend food market as it’s got ample parking, live music and tasty food options. I wasn’t able to check out all the options while my friends and I were there, but we were able to order some delicious barbecued chicken, and kani and quail eggs wrapped in bacon. One of my friends was also able to order a heaping helping of sisig.
Apart from food and drinks, there was also a stall selling chic clothing.
Like Sugbo Mercado, Tinda Locale is situated outdoors with only white tents shielding it from rain. While the tents offered some shelter, it was still a bit inconvenient walking around the market in the rain as the grass was muddy and puddled in some places. On a clear night though I think it would’ve been a great area for picnicking.
The comfort rooms were easily accessible, and if you get there and don’t feel like nomming on night market goodies, you can always head to the other restaurants indoors at The Greenery.
Tinda Locale is open all weekends of September, Fridays to Sundays from 5PM to 2AM.
There’s another weekend food market that I know of, but unlike the other weekend food markets they only offer snack foods. J Centre Mall’s Weekend Market is available all day on Saturdays and Sundays, offering all kinds of Filipino kakanin treats and fried street foods. Like the Cebu Food Market at BTC it is conveniently located within the mall but doesn’t have a specific seating area. It’s a good spot to sample a variety of Filipino snacks though, so if you’re into that you should definitely go check it out.
I’ve got to grab a bite now as all this food pic posting is making me hungry. Hope you guys have a happy weekend of food market munching!