Midnight Mercato: New haven for night foodies

By Barry Cyrus R. Viloria, abs-cbnNEWS.com

Posted at Feb 17 2011 05:09 PM | Updated as of Feb 18 2011 02:06 AM

MANILA, Philippines – A new food bazaar is set to attract urban crowds who are looking for a nifty place to bond, eat or just hang out at. Midnight Mercato: New haven for night foodies 1

Midnight Mercato, a midnight lifestyle market housed in Mercato Centrale in Bonifacio Global City, is poised to offer a variety of stalls to satisfy everyone's night-outs and food cravings.

"Those with late night cravings, those who come from the late night shift, those who eat before or after the day, those who come from the party, come to the Midnight Mercato," RJ Ledesma, one of the market's organizers, said at the market's launch last Friday.

Ledesma added that Midnight Mercato promises to be the best all-in-one night destination for families and friends in the metro.

"It's free entrance. It's an air-conditioned tent. It's got a great selection of late night food," he said.

"And it's got free Wi-Fi. That's the best part," the UNO magazine editor-in-chief added in jest.

Midnight Mercato opens during Fridays and Saturdays, starting at 10 p.m. and ending at 3 a.m.

Apart from the mentioned features, Ledesma said Midnight Mercato also presents local bands and performers to keep the night alive.

Midnight Mercato: New haven for night foodies 2
Midnight Mercato has stalls like Big Bob's offering charcoal-grilled beef.


Ledesma is also one of the organizers who established Mercato Centrale, the weekend lifestyle haven of organic products which operates from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.

With Midnight Mercato, he revealed he wants to emulate the success of midnight markets abroad.

"We were really inspired by the weekend markets just like in Europe. Equally, we're inspired by the hawker markets in the nearby Asian countries like in Singapore, Thailand, and Hong Kong where they're so popular," he said.

Apart from his international inspirations, Ledesma noted that there has been a huge demand for a night-out bazaar from residents across the Bonifacio Global City area.

"There was a clamor that came to us where people around the area, the residents, wanted a place where they can eat late at night," he said, pointing to the party-goers and employees who burn the midnight oil.

"Especially now, we've got the call centers and the (business process outsourcing agencies) over here who go to Bonifacio Global City wanting a good place late at night where they can eat," he said.

After all, Ledesma claimed, Filipinos generally are also fond of food and feasts.

"Pinoys eat all the time eh," he said.

Food fiesta

Midnight Mercato flaunts a multitude of food stalls offering authentic Filipino dishes and other Asian chows down to offbeat cuisine.

Midnight Mercato: New haven for night foodies 3
Ice cream-filled mochi from Mochiko has a variety of flavors from green tea, azuki (red bean) to black sesame.

Ledesma, a vegetarian, disclosed his favorites include ice cream-filled mochi from Mochiko, chicken from Claypot Chicken Rice and blue cheese pasta from Homemade Ravioli.

For Ledesma, Midnight Mercato is certainly a great place for all kinds of foodies--from those looking for comfort food to those searching for adventure--around the metro.

"You gotta go home really full after coming here... Classic street food are also available here," he said.

Ledesma said the food prices are also budget-friendly, with some items going as low as P50.

Blogger Anton Diaz of ourawesomeplanet.com, who, together with Mommy Mundo, co-organized the market, seconded Ledesma saying that Midnight Mercato also caters to foodies who are tightening their pockets.

"Sometimes at night kasi, simple food lang like taho, or ihawan, [ok na]," he said.

Meanwhile, Diaz said his favorites among the stalls are the Krispy Kreme burger, ensaymada burger and Mongol-Yan dishes.

Great place for families, friends

Midnight Mercato has two of its tents to welcome night-goers: One which is fully air-conditioned adjacent to the other which is an open place.

Midnight Mercato: New haven for night foodies 4
Blue cheese ravioli from Homemade Ravioli is a crowd favorite.

 Under the tents are tables arranged like that in a cafeteria. These tables are then dined on by families and friends.

Ledesma especially takes pride in the atmosphere of warmth and community Midnight Mercato operates with.

"Aside from its being air-conditioned and the free entertainment, more importantly is the community we create in the area. It's a bonding area... It's where friends can sit down," he said.

The writer-businessman added that the place opens to anyone who wants to burn the midnight oil.

"We don't need to dress up. It's a family-oriented place and a place for everybody," he said.

Midnight Mercato is located at the corner of 30th and 9th Streets (across The Spa at Bonifacio High Street), Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, the same location as Mercato Centrale. It opens every Friday and Saturday from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m.

For more details, e-mail rache@diaz.ph, or visit www.mercatocentrale.ph.

Photos by Barry Viloria, abs-cbnNEWS.com