Romans were said to have lavish feasts to celebrate almost anything – from a birth of a child to major festivities to honor their gods. With that in mind, I don’t wonder why the Romans were also the first ones to develop the sewage system and indoor plumbing. This is what comes to mind (not the plumbing but the feasts) when I dropped in on the Banchetto at Emerald avenue in Ortigas.
Banchetto literally means “feast” in Italian. They have a major portion of the road closed up from Friday nights until the sun comes up on Saturday, all to accommodate the number of food stalls that sell everything from common street food fare to lechon.
Don’t be put off by the number of people who flock the event. The entire food market was initially put up to reach the call center crowd but it has now a cult following among the foodphiles in the metro. It’s an overwhelming experience, really – with the myriad of colors, textures, sights, sounds and smell.
It was almost quite romantic and hypnotic, to be quite frank about it. All that food, laid bare in front of you, ready for you to pluck and taste. They have grilled food (seafood, grilled burgers, bbq, fish and chicken), deep fried food (lumpia, fries, etc), steamed Chinese fare (siopao and siomai), sweets and pastries too. With the exception of the baked goodies, almost everything is cooked right in front of you. There are a few Banchetto Ortigas stalls that you have to visit. One of them is the Crepe-papips, where they have awesome desert and breakfast crepes. Another is the monster Burger stall. They’re reported to sell about 400 patties a night! That’s a lot of burgers!
The Orange Place Hotel San Juan – Located at 312 Santolan Road of San Juan City, this hotel is near Banchetto. A decent, clean and cozy hotel, it’s perfect for those who are on a budget but would still can’t do without their creature comforts. Room rates range from 1,500 Php to 2,000 Php
Malayan Plaza Hotel – This is the best hotel in terms of location. You can literally walk from the hotel to Banchetto without breaking a sweat. (Well, except for those hot summer nights). The rooms are pristine and it has a pool too! Room rates range from 2,500 Php to 3,000 Php.
EDSA Shangri-la Hotel – If money is no object and if you’re into extreme creature comforts, DiscoverPH highly recommends the EDSA Shangri-la hotel. It’s opulent interiors and posh service makes it one of the favorites of visiting foreign acts. Room rates range from 5,500 Php to 6,000 Php.
Click here to see more information about other hotels within the area.