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Clive Jeffries

Street Food - Locations?

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Hi there, hope this is the right place to post. Im from UK and my passion is street food, from the amazing variety and quality in Europe and America to the vibrant energy in Asia, especially Singapore, hong kong etc. I been surprised, however, how hard it is to find something similar in my two years living here. Little seems to be offered beyond little p5 sticks of gristle or deep fried processed balls. Even in Manila, it just doesnt seem to be part of the culture. Lagazpi and Saldeca markets are nice but somewhat small and only at weekends (If anyone has an alternative insight I would be very happy to hear it!). I have been running a stall in El Nido which was quite successful, but as the town has "developed", there are no corners left for small businesses. I am looking at alternative locations within the country to set up, ideally a place with expats or tourists who appreciate the concept. Any suggestions welcome!

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Dave Hounddriver    19,121
3 hours ago, Clive Jeffries said:

Im from UK and my passion is street food

There are a few people of different nationalities who have set up their own "street booths" or "low budget food stalls" in Dumaguete.  I am referring to things like Turkish Shawarma or Jamaican True Love foods.  So there seems to be a market here for a variety of ethnic specialties.  I cannot say that a foreigner would be welcome in the street food stalls that the locals set up nightly as they would probably see that as an infringement of their rights. (Foreigners are limited on what they can and cannot do in the Philippine food industry.)

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scott h    6,353

Hi there Clive, welcome to the forum, I think you will be a welcome addition to the forum.

About street food, I have always wondered what was meant by that. I have seen the travel shows and they just look like a section of the city with lots of different vendors. Is street food defined as local cuisine?

Here in Paranaque where I live (southern metro manila) every day on my daily walks I can not swing a dead cat with out hitting a small stall selling home cooked food. Seems every home has a bench and a couple of chairs out front selling what ever they desided to prepare that day. But what I have found that the majority of local "delicacies" can also be found in almost every food court, in every mall in the country.

So if the definition of street food is food that the locals have grown up on like pansit, BBQ, tinola, sinigan, fish with the head still on (yuk) seafood of every type, lugow and all that stuff look at the food courts.

One funny example I have is along the busiest street in our area, every afternoon a few people set up a stand on the sidewalk near an intersection and start selling food. Motorcycles by the dozen park on the sidewalk and into the road, and eat standing up (blocking traffic naturally lol)

But if street food is defined as gourmet type food you see in the food trucks in the US and the like, your right, haven't seen it here :e3358:

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Jollygoodfellow    13,060
19 hours ago, Clive Jeffries said:

I am looking at alternative locations within the country to set up, ideally a place with expats or tourists who appreciate the concept. Any suggestions welcome!

In Cebu there is the Sugbo Mercado food markets, one in IT park and the other in the Business park. Now open 4 nights a week with a variety of different foods. These are not like normal markets as they are cooked food only with dining areas. Very busy most nights in the IT Park. Never been to the other.

http://www.sugbomercado.com/p/how-to-join.html

https://www.facebook.com/SugboMercado/

 

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Thanks for the excellent replies everyone.

Dave Hounddriver - very fair point about infringement. I eventually had problems with some local business people. Specifically, a woman who owned 4 businesses all on same junction where i worked, and spent evenings sitting on street watching the profits flowing in, while i was stood sweating over a stove at my little cart, talking to people and trying to offer an exceptional all round experience for customers. She decided the situation was unfair, i couldnt have agreed more .

I had thought about dumaguete boulevard as a potential spot, though have so far found it hard to get much genuine info about he place beyond travel blogs eg "everywhere is amazing!". Some reviews say its a very nice place, others say its the same noisy traffic congested place as rest of urban areas in PH, with no beach. Hard to know what to believe. El Nido works as there is a very high volume of tourists in a small area and none of them dont want to eat the local food, hence the crazy amount of pizza places here with lines out the door. This meant I could charge a decent but fair price (p150) for friendly service (eg i gave out free maps of the town and let people watch videos of the tours on an ipad) and tasty filling western food. I suspect there are very few places this could be replicated in PH, but im hoping to be proved wrong.

In short, I accept that i  probably wouldn't be able to sell the food myself personally as I did here at the start, which is a shame, but in the right location could still work. A falafel hole in wall opened next to where my cart used to be, now with 100% local staff, and in high season grosses p100,000 a DAY!

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Dave Hounddriver    19,121
47 minutes ago, Clive Jeffries said:

I had thought about dumaguete boulevard as a potential spot, though have so far found it hard to get much genuine info about he place

Somehow, the little groups of locals who have divided up their turf on the boulevard have their own little organizations to decide who gets what spot.  There is a souvenir organization and a massage organization and a street food organization but these are all small, un-publicized, quasi legal organizations Then there are the low guys on the totem pole who set up a portable fruit stand that they can pick up and run with when the wrong people come by.  At the top is the mayor and city who will organize events that take up most of the boulevard during functions and he will rent out sections of it to people selling anything from motorcycles to real estate for the period of the event.  Add to that the Sunday preachers, week long JW evangelizers, eternal beggars, amateur hookers, occasional programs for local kids and periodic Zumba classes and you have a rough idea of the eclectic mix that makes up Dumaguete Boulevard.

Edited by Dave Hounddriver

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Scoot H - yep you're quite right, "street food" is quite a nebulous term, and I suspect it means different things to different people. For me, it traditionally meant either cheap mobile eateries that would set up where they could serve local workers and convenient snacks aimed more at tourists (New york hotdog carts come to mind), or the night markets that seemed popular in asia where the warm evening climate and cramped housing meant eating cheaply on street was a cheap and communal solution. However, in last ten years or so, there has been something of a renaissance and the concept of street food has expanded in interesting ways. In London we have Borough Market as a permanent location, but increasingly "food parks" are popping up. I think the worlds most famous example is probably Smorgasburg in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. One of the exciting ideas is that you are exposed directly to peoples passion for food, rather than whoever was able to afford the commercial rent of a particular restaurant building. Anyway, sorry, I tend to ramble a little on this topic. In Philippines, there are has been some instances of the latter, mainly in Manila. As I said I had a pleasant enough time walking around Legazpi and Saldeco markets with the girlfriend in tow, though I dont think either is worth travelling to if not in area. Some young entrepreurs have also set up night markets, possibly the same one as the Cebu Mercado mentioned, and while I appreciated what they were trying to do, it was mainly local food for the office workers in BGC to enjoy before and after a few drinks on a friday night, which is fair enough. There was one white guy selling Jamaican food there but didnt get a single customer while i was there.

For me, travelling around Asia, a familar routine where ever I end up is to find room, dump bag, wander the streets for a few hours and try whatever intersting snack are on the streets, and then maybe grab a coupe of cheeky pints somewhere. in Vietnam, Ban Mi is on every corner and in Shanghai where i used to live, tons of options. However or whatever reason, havent found it works in PH.

Verygoodfellow - Very interested to here about the Cebu branch, will be my first stop when I visit Cebu island this week. I checked the website and seemed worth a look!

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Old55    6,308

Clive, you have a very good way with words please don't take this wrong but honestly I have no clue what exactly it is your asking.

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Hounddriver - facsinating stuff, this is exactly the kind of information i have been looking for but unable to find on the internet. Certianly does sound like an eclectic place! reminds me of the "assocations" (eg cartels) that realistically hold the power here. Between the 500 strong tricycle gang and the boat association that have somehow taken control of licensing from the mayor (they did the same thing in Boracay a few years ago until Manila got wind of what was going on and shut them down. Anyone thinking of buying a boat here for tours, applying for a licence is somewhat pointless as you are essentially asking your competitors if they would like more competion. However you an join the association if you "donate" 20k and magically your licence appears, heypresto!)

From what you describe, interesting as it sounds to wander around there in an evening, not sure I would want to sell there. Sounds like its by locals for locals. Im coming to the conclusion that I may just be in the wrong country for it, which is sad because i do think Philippines is fabulous despite its quirks. I have found that all cities and towns i have been to have been unrelentingly grim, in stark contrast to the stunning nature here. That was mainly the reason I chose El Nido, but its so cramped and expensive here, its no longer viable, and at 5+ hours to nearest civiliation, its too remote for me.

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Old55 - sorry i tend to ramble. i guess im asking for suggestions for good locations for western style street food aimed mainly at tourists.

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