GIGA-BITE: One-Stop Shop for Barbecue and Kebab (OAP)

(This was published in and Mercato Centrale last June 25, 2013)

There’s something very primal about eating meat-on-a-stick and that’s what makes it fun. Apart from the taste, it’s also the eating experience that defines the food and that’s what I like about street food. In the Philippines, there are a lot of barbecue stalls that peddle all kinds of grilled meat. Other countries have different versions but the concept remains the same.

In the Mercato weekend markets, Giga-Bite has combined the best of the Philippines and Middle Eastern/Mediterranean street fare. This food stall offers barbecue, isaw (intestines), and kebab. The stall’s name gives a clue on the serving size of each order. What makes this a must-try is the secret blend of barbecue sauce that has all the flavors going on—sweet, salty, and tangy with a hint of spice. Probably the only other thing you’ll need is a cup of steamed rice to make it a complete meal.

For the more adventurous eater, there’d the chicken or pork isaw, which actually tastes more appetizing than it sounds. The chicken has a curvy, tube-like appearance while the pork is cut up into bite-size pieces, and both cost P35 each. I prefer the swine-on-a-stick but that’s just me. Better to sample both and taste for yourself.

Other items on the simple menu are the chicken or beef kebab, which comes in a more chunky version. Proprietor, Isa Cruz, confesses, “I love to eat Persian food.” Maybe that’s the reason why she didn’t scrimp on the flavors and portions. Each stick has hefty serving of meat chunks, veggies and corn—all the food groups are represented here. To add another layer of flavor, the kebab is served with some sour cream, and it only costs P100 per stick.

Isa has been in the business since 2005 but she used to be a practicing architect before she discovered the world of bazaars. She is now doing this full time and is happy with it. She feels satisfied whenever she prepares the food and gets to sell everything. Sometimes, her kids help her out in the weekend markets, an experience she enjoys.

Check out Giga-Bite and let it be your one-stop shop when you want to satisfy your hunger pangs for barbecue and kebab.