MANILA -- “Dampa” is a staple Filipino food destination. It's basically a seafood market with a collection of restaurants that are ready to cook fresh seafood for its customers. Customers buy the seafood at the market and the restaurants take care of the cooking.
The market usually resembles actual local wet markets while the restaurants vary from small eateries to big airconditioned establishments.
But there's a new "dampa" in town that is redefining this traditional concept. Seascape Village's Bay Market in Pasay City is labeling itself as an upscale "dampa." It has its own clean and organized wet market for fresh and live seafood, a mall-like setting with properly designed restaurants, and it even has its own ice plant that supplies the market and the restaurants.
“The difference between us and a regular dampa is we have our own ice plant to make sure the quality of the seafood is always fresh. We also made arrangements with restaurants to purchase the seafood from the wet market to maintain the quality,” explained Seascape Village marketing and events head Christine Suntay.
The wet market sources its seafood from all over the Philippines, a conscious effort of the developer to highlight the bounty of local waters to diners.
Located between Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila and the Manila Film Center at the CCP Complex, Seascape Village is actually a mixed-use development and the Bay Market is just the first phase of the project.
The complex will soon have a retail space for lifestyle and wellness shops, a man-made beach at the baywalk area, as well as a hotel. The whole commercial property would be finished by 2020.
“When you come to the Philippines, especially for tourists, you have to go outside Manila to really enjoy the rest of the country. The idea is to bring all those elements in one place, which is Seascape Village. So we have fresh seafood all over the country, a nice view, a man-made beach, a place where you can watch the Manila Bay sunset, etc.,” Suntay said.
Bay Market hopes to capture both locals and tourists and is banking on the clean and safe environment it can provide to picky customers.
“It's like a beach-themed or resort type of establishment to maximize the surroundings that we have. We want our guests to come here and make them feel that they're on a vacation outside the city. It's crowded outside, the normal city scene and when you enter Seascape Village, you'll feel like you're not in the city,” she continued.
The Bay Market has a total of 13 restaurants which include: Mr. A’s Bar, Asian Taste Restaurant, Blue Post Boiling Crabs and Shrimps, Darwin’s Café Hong Kong Special, Fish Music Bar, GoGo Kitchen, Golden China, Golden Fortune, Lhong-E, Lola Ina’s Seafood Paluto Restaurant, Mazu Seaside Diner, Wow Cow Fresh Beef Hot Pot, and Yatai Asian Cuisine.
All of the restaurants offer a la carte dishes and “paluto” services. Bay Market has two floors and also has a dry market where customers can buy souvenirs, some food kiosks, fruit stands, and many more.
Some of Darwin Cafe's authentic Hong Kong food selection.Photo by author
Blue Post Boiling Crabs and Shrimps' garlic crab with corn, potatoes, and sausages.Photo by author
Wow Cow Fresh Beef Hot Pot's food spread of different cuts of beef and other ingredients.Photo by author
Lhong-E's stir-fried shrimps.Photo by author
Rainne's Cafe mango cheesecake.Photo by author
Darwin's Cafe offers authentic Hong Kong fare from dimsum to claypot meals to milk tea. Blue Post Boiling Crab and Shrimps, on the other hand, originates from Davao City and specializes in boiled seafood served in plastic bags. For those craving something else than seafood, Wow Cow Fresh Beef Hot Pot serves fresh beef cut and pounded before customers at its open kitchen.
“We really wanted to bring a new experience for locals and tourists alike. Seafood is one of the bountiful resources that we have and with Seascape Village, we are able to bring a more interactive experience to dining,” Suntay said.