Food has always been a part of Ilonggos’ life. It has been one of the witnesses and listeners of every Ilonggo’s at times of problem, victory, heartaches and reunion. It makes the family come together in one table and discuss every aspect of life. It unites people from every walk of life.
Frances Aimee Tiu, owner/general manager of the Merkado Seafood Restaurant was born in a family of businessmen. She has the privilege to work at her parents’ business but she chose to have her own “baby” that she can manage and take care the way she wants to.
Frances’ family was a frequent customer at ‘Dampa’ in Manila; a restaurant with wet market where you can buy fresh sea foods and allows you to decide how you want to cook it.
After some time, her father decided to put up “Merkado”, the first paninda and paluto restaurant in Iloilo. Located in front of Tagbac Terminal, Merkado caters both local and international tourists that come from the city and northern part of Iloilo.
Merkado has a small ‘talipapa’ or wet market beside it where customers can buy fresh sea foods like scallops, milk fish, squid, and prawns among others. They also have pork and meat if you are craving for barbeque. What sets it apart among other resto in the city is that they will cook the dish the way you want it to. Meanwhile, for those who will not buy from the talipapa, you can choose from the specialty of the day that they offer.
Another distinct feature of the restaurant is its unique service number. Instead of using the usual ‘number’, Merkado features different places in Panay. They also play classic Ilonggo kundiman to give the place a real Iloilo ambiance. These unique features do not only help promote the city but also give information among tourists that visits the place.
‘The concept of Merkado promotes Ilonggo hospitality and culture”, said Frances.
The place is mostly made of light materials, which gave the place the cool and cozy ambiance. The staffs are well-trained to make sure that they provide you everything you need and serve you only the fresh and delish foods when you dine in.
In the future, Frances plans to add new dish as well as healthy dishes for those who are aiming to have a summer body. She also said she’s thinking of allowing live bands to play but only for special occasions.