A place to food trip in Marikina

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By Marjorie Gorospe

MARIKINA CITY, METRO MANILA— For those crazy about seafood and other dishes served hot off the grill,  stop by the nearest ”dampa” like the one located at the Marikina Riverbanks Mall.

The dampa concept combines a wet market-cum-eating place where you can pick everything (meat, seafood even vegetables) and then choose how you want your food cooked.  Marikina City’s Station Grill provides enough chairs and tables where you can enjoy your meal with your friends while enjoying the view of the river in Marikina.

It has around 10 fresh seafood stores to choose from and one of those rows is Everybody’s Grill owned by Ester Arellano. Her store offers a mesmerizing display of fresh seafood.

While waiting for my grilled bangus (milkfish) and pusit (squid), I decided to chat with Nanay Ester.

According to her, it’s been five years since they started at the dampa business and they now have branches in other dampa establishments located around the metropolis. She has three other small food establishments and one of which is a 24-hour food kitchenette.

“We just transfer our other stocks to our 24-hour store if it’s not consumed in Marikina so at least nothing is wasted and we make sure it’s still good,” she says.

The “Dampa sa Riverbanks” used to be located right across at SM City Marikina but it was relocated after last year’s flood caused by Typhoon Ondoy. It is a popular place and has earned a loyal following among locals.

“This business has also helped us raised our two children and pay for their schooling. They are now professional,” Nanay Ester proudly says. A son now works as restaurant chef, largely influenced by their food business.

After waiting for few minutes, she personally served by order and assured me I would enjoy it. She was right; it was grilled just the way I like it, and with a serving of “ensaladang mangga and kamatis” (green mango salad with tomatoes). At P70, topped with our bonus conversation, the wait was well worth it.

To get to Dampa sa Marikina, you can ride the SSS Village FX from Gateway Mall in Cubao, and get off at Marikina Riverbanks Mall.

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