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!
There are a few things you have to take into consideration if and when you do decide to hop on down to the Banchetto. Take note of the attire you have when you want to be with the Banchetto people.
1. Come in your casual clothes. Skip heels and fancy shmancy clothes. You’re most likely to get bumped by other people and the possibility of someone pouring some kind of sauce or drink on you is high.
2. Be willing to eat standing up. There are chairs and tables provided at both ends of the street but with the number of people there, you’d be lucky to find a seat. Or, better yet, share a table with someone. You just might make a new friend that share the same passion with food as you.
3. Try something new. The best part of going to places like these is that there’s an opportunity for you to try something new and exciting. Don’t be a sissy and just try it. If you don’t like it, then move on to the next stall and chalk it up to experience.
Banchetto at Ortigas started way back in 2007, at the Chinese New Year. The Ortigas Banchetto started with just 18 stalls and now have grown exponentially with another Banchetto branch at the Robinson’s Forum.
Banchetto schedule is as follows:
September 28 – October 1, from 9PM to 6AM – Banchetto – Forum at Robinson’s Pioneer corner EDSA
October 1, from midnight to 11 AM – Banchetto Ortigas at Emerald Avenue, Ortigas Center.
This is a continuing schedule and Banchetto will be at the Ortigas Center every Saturday, starting midnight until 11 in the morning.
For those who live well away from Banchetto, why not stay in a hotel with friends and then enjoy Banchetto without having to travel back on a full stomach. (I hate that feeling) We recommend these hotels for you to stay at
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.