Culinary Seafood Delight at the Old Pala-Pala Market, Bacolod City

Sunday, November 4, 2012



If you're looking for authentic Ilonggo restaurants in Bacolod City, try switching your diet from the usual piyaya and napoleones of Bacolod to fresh seafood at the old Pala-Pala Market, located in San Juan Street corner North Capitol Road. It's where handsome and humble billionaires, like me, gather and eat on a budget. Really.

According to our friend, Nonoy, who also happened to be our local guide, the pala-pala market got its name from the way fish and other seafood are dropped off in the area — using a shovel (pala in Tagalog). Bacolod also has another pala-pala market (the new one) located along 18th Street, where the real can-afford go to, but the old market is highly recommended if you want to have a different experience.

How to dine at the old Pala-Pala Market
1. Buy fresh seafood at the old Pala-Pala Market. They have a wide range of seafood from different varieties of fish (lapu-lapu, tilapia, bangus, etc.) to prawns to squid. The price is relatively cheap compared to the new pala-pala market, of course, and everything is guaranteed to be fresh. The best time to go here is during lunch time but the best time to haggle prices is in the evening.

Nonoy orders fish and squid from the vendor. Bogy and Kate, as always, flaunt their sparkling white teeth.

2. Cook and Wait. There are a number of small-time karinderia-like restaurants beside the old Pala-Pala market, along the North Capitol Road, where you can hand over your freshly-bought seafood and have it cooked — from tinola to sinugba — at very reasonable prices. While waiting, you can have a talk with your friends...or you can give in to your childish geekery and play in the hulog-piso personal computers inside the restaurant.

Personal computers can be rented at PHP1.00 for 3 minutes; talking with friends and cam-whoring are free.

3. Eat and Run. Everything is served as soon as it is cooked so expect everything to be hot (as the waitresses). They also have this one-of-a-kind vinegar that you can use and, if you want, you can buy it for as low as I-forgot-the-price. After eating, be sure to thank the waitresses and say, "Ka nami" (delicious), referring to the food.

(Left) Garlic Fish (Right) Kalamares and Buttered Prawns

How to get there
The old Pala-Pala Market is located at the corner of San Juan Street and North Capitol Road. To get there, you can take a Banago-Libertad jeepney or you can drop off from the Capital Lagoon and walk 10-15 minutes. Travelers who have a bad sense of direction can always hire a taxi.


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This post is part of my Bacolod series, when I went there to see the MassKara Festival. Do watch out for the rest of the posts in this blog, including the Ruins in Talisay City, Electric MassKara and the MassKara Street Dance Competition.

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