Foodie alert: Sugbo Mercado opens market number two
THE weekend just got better for foodies as Sugbo Mercado opened its second food market at Cebu Business Park. With more than 50 stalls to choose from, Sugbo Mercado is a food lovers haven.
And it wouldn’t be a stretch either to say that Sugbo Mercado has changed Cebu’s food scene, thanks to the partnership of JP Chiongbian, Nino Bascon, Michael Karlo Lim, Charmaine De Leon, and Ruby Pansoy, the dynamic group behind the food market that first opened in IT Park in September last year.
Cebu has had its share of food bazaars and fairs that have come and gone, but only Sugbo Mercado has succeeded in operating as a year-round weekly food market. And with the opening of Sugbo Mercado at CBP, food patrons now have better options and more weekends to look forward to.
The idea behind Sugbo Mercado is simple but effective: invite home-based entrepreneurs who want to start in the food business and give them the opportunity to share their products to Cebuanos. Thirty initially responded. Now there are more than 100 concessionaires operating in both food markets, including those that have stalls in both locations, such as John Lemon and Papa Churros.
Having become synonymous with good, affordable food, Sugbo Mercado continues to look for unique and authentic finds. Some of the concessionaires come from different locales, including Tausug Spices from Zamboanga and Jolo, and Deluxe de Cagayan. Tausug Spices offers these must-try dishes: Chicken Pianggang, Beef Kulma and Beef Satti. Deluxe de Cagayan gives a twist to the ubiquitous Chicken Proben by creating six dips to choose from: Japanese, Mediterranean, Korean and Spicy Belgian Chocolate.
Chiongbian pointed out that Sugbo Mercado is always open for new concepts and new chefs. “We welcome tenants endlessly. If the market is at full capacity, we put them on a wait list,” he said, adding that many of the stalls were on the waiting list since the opening of the flagship market in IT Park.
Sugbo Mercado serves as an ideal venue for starting entrepreneurs to introduce their products. The Sugbo Mercado team does not only provide stalls, it also helps concessionaires brand and market their products to thousands of new and return customers through word of mouth and social media.
The Sugbo Mercado team members go out of their way for their customers as well. Mats are provided for those who wish to eat their food as they sit on the grass, while animal lovers can bring their pets, with organizers already planning a dog meet-up soon, among many other activities lined up for Sugbo Mercado.
What makes Sugbo Mercado such a hit is that there’s a communal feel to it: the weekend market has become a gathering place for friends, colleagues and families brought together for their love of food. All these points to a Sugbo Mercado community that can only get bigger, livelier, and more vibrant. (Julie Mae Altamira & Vania Mae Lim/USJ-R Interns)
* Sugbo Mercado at Cebu Business Park is open from Fridays to Sundays from 3 p.m. to 12 midnight.