Marikina : Where the Native Delicacies are as Divine as the Shoes
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By: Charles Adrian Cruz, PIO
Mention Marikina and most likely the first thing that comes to mind are shoes. After all, the city is best known as the Shoe Capital of the Philippines.
But in Marikina, it's not just the craving for shoes (and other fashion accessories) that the city can satisfy, but your food cravings as well.
In recent years, Marikina has become the newest food hub in the metropolis, where homegrown restaurants that offer a variety of cuisines – Filipino and international – have mushroomed and attracted food enthusiasts eager to taste the newest offerings in town.
Aside from restaurants, a number of food parks, coffee shops and bars have also sprouted, inspired by the success of the restaurants.
Complementing the rise of the restaurants, bars, food parks and coffee shops are the small stalls selling native or Filipino delicacies such as suman, puto, kutsinta, pichi-pichi, biko, kalamay. In fact, these stalls have been there longer than when the city’s food scene sizzled in recent years, silent witnesses to Marikina’s delectable recipes.
Located near the Shoe Museum, further down south along J.P. Rizal in Brgy. San Roque is the place aptly called “Puto Avenue,” where a variety of stores are selling native delicacies. This little corner of Marikina has also become a favorite stopover of tourists – both local and foreign – to shop for “pasalubongs” (gifts) for their family and friends back home so that they too can have a taste of Marikina.
Puto Avenue’s Origin
Puto Avenue got its name from the stores that sold puto (steamed rice cake) and one of its varieties known locally as kutsinta.
But one store started it all: Aling Remy’s Puto and Kutsina, which began selling these native steamed rice cakes in the 1950’s. The owner, aling Remy, migrated from Bulacan and started the business in Marikina. (The word “aling” is a title of respect for an elderly woman and is prefixed to the name.)
Aling Remy began selling homemade puto, which had attracted customers not just from Marikina but from other places in the metropolis. Soon, the store started selling other native delicacies and not just puto.
Given its success, other Marikenos followed suit and also sold their own versions of puto, kutsinta and other delicacies such as the famous Marikina dish known as everlasting (a Filipino-style meatloaf).
Asked what made its puto very popular, Yolly Dalmacio, wife of Aling Remy’s youngest son and one of the current owners of the store, said it contains a “secret ingredient” that she, of course, would not divulge.
Aside from the Marikina-made delicacies, stores along Puto Avenue also sell peanuts, pili nuts, putong Biñan, bucheron, puto pao, bibingka, suman pinipig and a lot more.
Since Puto Avenue rose to prominence, it has become the leading stopover for tourists and Marikeños alike who want a sweet fix to lighten up their day. That is, after spending the day shopping for Marikina's well-crafted and affordable shoes.
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