It's been brought to my attention that prior to coming to the Philippines, I basically lived off of macaroni and cheese. I'd like to clarify... my diet also included grilled cheese sandwhiches with no pickle anywhere on the plate, an occasional cheeseburger plain, plain cheese sandwhiches, and spaghetti. :) Ok, really that was what I would eat between the ages of 3 and 15. I eventually started to branch out, but of course once I came to the Philippines everything has changed once again.
I usually buy my groceries at the big market in Baybay, which is usually like a 40 minute bus ride north. I saw "usually" because you can never tell with the buses here. They stop whenever there is somebody on the side of the road that wants to get on or when somebody needs to get off the bus. The market in Baybay is pretty big, and it takes some getting used to. They have a meat area, which showcases hog legs, hog heads, chicken feet, and all the usual slices of meat. I pretty much stay completely out of this area. I do always visit the fish counters. Clams, crabs, shrimp, and fish are readily available. I've learned that crabs are at their best during full moons, and rain can put a damper on the fishing all together. Clams cost about 40 pesos per kilo, except if I buy them from the lady at the end of the counter who feels she can charge me 50 pesos per half kilo. So far, my favorite fish is white marlon, and I love crabs.
A quick crab lesson, there's a lot of different kinds! My two favorites are coconut crabs and then crab with coconut. I know, they sound alike, but are totaly different. Coconut crabs are the crabs that look totally different from the crabs we get in America. Their tails almost look more like lobsters, and they climb up into the coconut trees and eat the coconuts. You can eat their claws, but the really good part of them is their stomachs, that am guessing is the actual guts and left over coocnut. I know... it sounds so appealing... The other type is crab with coconut. It is my absolute favorite. They take these little crabs, scoop out the meat and fat and then add spices and coconut with it. It has a fancy cebuano name for it, but of course I can't remember it. They stuff the crabs with the mixture, and also wrap the extra left over mixture in banana leaves. You eat both of these crabs with rice... of course!
So back to the market. It also has people selling fruits ranging from jackfruit, bananas, oranges, and melons, to kalamansi, pineapple, and apples. Vegetables are also everywhere, as are eggs. There's even one lady who sells tofu. She has big chunks of it, just like you would buy at Publix or any grocery store in America, but hers are made by a lady in a nearby barangay and sold in a big open bowl. It tastes great though!
Food has definitely been a new experience, but one thing that hasn't changed is my undying love for french fries. The only place that sells them here is Jollibee's, and you know I always make a special trip there whenever I go to Baybay!