You know what I missed the most during this pandemic?
I miss twilight visits to my favorite astronaut lying in repose at Bonifacio Global City, as he welcomed me to the brightly lit maze of pagoda tents that was Mercato Centrale.
I miss being bombarded by the smoke and smell of sweet barbecue that sticks to my clothes as I enter the market; I miss crisscrossing the stalls and risking sensory overload trying to strategize how much I can consume from the intimidating array of food choices, and I miss seeing people bring over balikbayans or foreigners to reluctantly try their first stick of isaw.
Sadly, our beloved BGC market suffered the fate of other food establishments during the quarantine and had to close down. And, for those who cherished many a Mercato food trip, it wasn’t just a food market. It was a place of bonding over food while enjoying late-night munchies or pre-game drinks or high school reunions.
But, seven months into pandemic, it’s about time to reconnect again over food as we excitedly (and safely) fire up the grills at Mercato in a new central location: the Bonifacio High Street Amphitheatre!
Working together with BGC, the Restaurant Owners (and with the stringent approval of the Taguig Safe City Council Task Force for health and safety protocols), we cooked up “Mercato HighStrEat,” a safe, socially distanced, outdoor food fair where fine dining meets street food.
Can you imagine a food market where you can sink your teeth into a Wolfgang’s steak with a serving of Mamay’s Ihaw’s famous chicken isaw? Or how about wolfing down El Chupacabra’s Carnitas street taco while alternating with Bagnet patong and Ilocos longganisa sprinkled with chicharon bits? Then finish off your meal with Burnt Basque cheesecake from Gallery by Chele or a cheesecake and pearl milk tea from Macao Imperial Tea.
Can you hear that? That’s your stomach calling you.
It’s time to see our friends — face shield, face mask, sanitized hands, socially distanced and all — and eat and talk while we laugh about all the cabin-fever craziness and Zoom-meeting insanity that’s been going on during the quarantine as we celebrate our lives in the New Normal.
Come on over, and let’s help our friends in the food industry — both big and small — get back on their feet one dish at a time.
BGC High StrEat is located at the Bonifacio High Street Amphitheatre. It’s open daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.