A colleague was raving about the fresh crabs and shrimp that they’ve feasted on at the Macapagal seaside market and dampa – a popular destination for locals and Asian tourists at Pasay City in the Philippines. She said they went on a Friday late night dinner and had a blast.
I didn’t need much convincing to go – dampa, which translates to “hut or shanty” in English, used to be big in the city where I live in, but for some reason they relocated to Pasay so I guess that’s the reason D and I stopped going. Now that we’re also staying in Makati, it’s not too far from Pasay City so it’s now easier to go to. Hooray for that!
So off we went to Seafood Paluto Restaurants a couple of Saturdays ago, for D’s advance birthday celebration. Since the stretch of that street is filled with paluto (in English, it means asking someone to cook for you) restaurants, our landmark was the white logo of a fish that says “Seaside”, next to Claire dela Fuente, one of the more popular paluto restaurants.
So how it goes is we have to buy fresh seafood first at the dampa markets – there are loads in front of the paluto restaurants. Since we’re eating at The Golden Bay restaurant (it’s at the farthest back of Claire Dela Fuente), we shopped at Aling Ethel’s market which is almost right across the restaurant. Aling Ethel’s vendors are always lively and friendly, and they give us discounts. On both visits, our market expense was two thousand pesos (approximately 40 US dollars) – on the first occasion we bought a kilo of prawns, a couple of large crabs, half a kilo of salmon belly, a couple of tilapia fish, and a kilo of oysters. On the second occasion, we bought 5 pieces of crabs, a kilo of prawns, half a kilo of tanigue fish, and a kilo of shellfish. Having them cooked coupled with additional rice, noodles, and veggies on the side cost also around two thousand pesos, or 40 US dollars. Not bad for a feast for 5 people! The food was more than enough and on both times we had takeaways.
Some tips and tricks to be able to enjoy your Dampa experience:
Get there early. Because though there are several paluto restaurant options, parking may be a challenge. What I noticed is that around noon and at 7 o’clock at night, people were already queued outside the Ocean Bay restaurant too.
Stick to the plan. It’s easy to get swayed when doing the seafood shopping, so best to note what you plan to eat in advance, and stick to that plan. Know that the price of having food cooked varies per kind of dish and per volume of food (they measure by half a kilo and then per kilo thereafter), and it’s usually cheaper to have 1 kilo worth of seafood cooked than by half kilo’s worth.
Stash some cash. First off, the seafood market only accepts cash payments. And so far on my two recent visits to Golden Bay restaurant, their credit card terminal was not working, so we paid by cash. I didn’t see any ATM nearby, so yep, bring cash with you.
If you’re looking for authentic market to table seafood meal experience, check out the Macapagal seaside markets and restaurants. And be prepared to leave with a happy tummy!