One of my favorite stalls over at the Salcedo Saturday Market has to be the one for Dela Rosa’s Deli. It’s run by a very charming elderly couple – Mr. and Mrs. Dela Rosa, presumably – and they sell a variety of cured meats and a number of other treats.
My sister and I first encountered the stall last year when we were traipsing through the Market for some breakfast. (In our haste to beat the Saturday traffic, we’d left home without eating!) We noticed a large knot of people standing around a stall that was giving off the most heavenly scent of frying pancakes – which turned out not to be pancakes at all but corndogs!
These aren’t your typical supermarket corndogs that have gone cold and are served by some indifferent collegiate part-timer with a surly attitude. These ‘dogs are served up hot by friendly folks from a pot of boiling oil with crunchy golden outsides and fluffy cornbread-like insides that go so magnificently well with the house-made franks encased within. While they do offer that trifecta of ketchup, mustard, and mayo, these freshly-cooked treats certainly don’t need ’em; it’d be like gilding the lily. Plus, you can choose your ‘dog size based on how hungry you are: little cocktail-sized ones for a quick snack to humongous super-jumbos for gargantuan appetites.
Incidentally, Dela Rosa’s Deli also whips up some of the tastiest burgers I’ve ever had – and they even have a burger-eating challenge that Man v. Food host Adam Richman would probably love to give a go to.
But what I really love about this stall are the cured meats, most notably the bacon and the ham. The ham is sheer perfection: thick-cut, neither too lean nor too fatty, sweet and savory at the same time. You can get whole hams, but you can also get conveniently-packed tubs of pre-sliced ham. It’s fan-bloody-tastic cut into slivers and tossed into some bechamel sauce with mushrooms and peas served over hot fettucine, but it’s perfect on its own either fried up for breakfast or thick folds of it tucked into a warmed and buttered English muffin for a heavy start to one’s day. Ahh, pure joy…