Dessert Comes First

An obsession with dessert and other unabashed opinions of a food writer

Magnum White King
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Manila’s Kingdom of Spice

posted by in Food Purveyors

Spices 'n Flavours at Market! Market!

It’s a most compelling store that rivets my attention and holds it until I walk inside and browse. Every time I go in here I come out several hundred pesos poorer, but immeasurably richer in terms of spice wealth and knowledge gleaned.

teas and sauces

Spices ‘n Flavours is a new food store that’s tempting and tantalizing Manila’s food lovers. Owned by Carmen Ragas and Claudine Mangasing, the store is a fortune of food finds with a spice selection unparalleled in this country. Fetchingly displayed on ascending shelves are bottles and bottles of dried spices and seasoning blends, both the common and the more unusual: long stemmed dried chilies, galangal leaves, kaffir lime, Greek seasoning, salt-free seasoning blends, 5-spice powder, a trio of peppercorns, assorted marinades, rice vinegars, green peppers in brine, Iranian saffron, the esteemed Herbes de Provence, and that’s just for starters.

spices + flavours

“It was actually the Ayalas (owners of Market! Market!) who came up with the idea,” Claudine begins. “They wanted something similar to the Turkish spice markets where everything is outdoors and laid out, but we thought that that presentation might not be so appealing or hygienic to the Pinoy. So when we saw an indoor spice store in Lebanon, we decided to build it upon that concept.”

dried spices

Spices ‘n Flavours is compact, making good use of its space. The yellow light illuminates the room, highlighting the clean, high lines of the shelves and the meticulousness in which everything is laid out. Everything looks so new and appealing, I feel like buying them all. At the store, the shelves rise high, high up – there’s a sliding ladder used to gain access to the extra stock above, and it’s this ladder that I make sure to climb onto and snap a few vantage photos.

bottles of goodness 1

The women tell me about the excitement involved in introducing something so radically new to the Filipino. “This is really a ‘hit and miss’ thing,” Claudine says earnestly. “I’m not sure if people would accept certain spices, for instance long pepper, or even how to use a long pepper or tanglad (lemongrass) shavings. So it’s really a risk.”

“But we’re counting on the Filipino palate evolving, since there are so many restaurants now that serve Middle Eastern or Indian food, dishes you’d want to try making yourself at home,” Carmen adds. Responsible for choosing which spices to bring in, Carmen possesses a gutsy, optimistic attitude: “I thought about what people would like. For the other more unfamiliar spices, I thought ’bahala na,’ (let’s see). We’ll never see if we don’t try.”

organic spice line

The spices are from the Middle East, Thailand, the US, and Europe. There’s a Japanese spice line, cassia bark, organic cinnamon sticks, Japanese coffee, a bottle of whole dried limes (!), a dried oregano plant, and believe it or not, large dried yogurt balls that need to be re-hydrated in hot water before being incorporated into the dish. There’s a section in the middle of the store where local spices are offered in large drums, among them a dazzling array of whole peppercorns and perfectly-shaped star anise. Check out the curvy spice bottles (“…patterned after our body,” Claudine and Carmen joke) and the little spice spoons perfect for digging out the very last dregs from the bottom of the bottle.

flavorings for a baker
flavorings for a happy baker

Spices ‘n Flavours also has a dedicated organic line which include vanilla beans from Madagascar, crystallized ginger from the States (perfect for my 3 ginger biscotti!), and assorted flavorings and extracts which set my baking heart aflutter.

teas
leaf teas

Carmen and Claudine are particularly proud of their line of leaf teas, some of which purportedly have slimming qualities or are good for one’s voice. Arranged in tall glass jars, this is a far cry from tea bags. There’s also the line of Mr. T sauces from a Thai restaurant in Bangkok packaged in paper boxes. Terrific for stir-frying, these come in variants of sweet and sour, spicy chili, XO sauce, and curry crab stir-fry.

seasoning blends
seasoning blends

Claudine says, ”We try to offer products that’ll make people’s lives easier. Marinate it in the morning, come back at night and cook it. Finished! The more discriminating can grind the fresh spices that we have, but for those who don’t have too much time, there are instant spice mixes, marinades, and seasonings.”

Spices ‘n Flavours will soon come out with a frozen food line and most of all, an artisanal salt and olive oil line which I’m awaiting with bated breath.

cinnamon stirrer and tea

By the way, here’s a popular novelty at the store: cinnamon stick stirrers (P45 each) in white or brown sugar. Aren’t they simply eye-catching? Perfect for my next tea party and great with my morning hot chocolate! I also bought 350 grams of crystallized ginger which I just can’t get enough of.

stirrers

crystallized ginger

Spices ‘n Flavours
RR-7 Phase 1 Street Market!
Fort Bonifacio Global City,
Taguig, Metro Manila
728.9562 (new # updated 3/30/09)

43 Responses to “Manila’s Kingdom of Spice”

  • Oh wow! I showed this entry right away to my Dad since he loves to cook and he always looks at spices in specialty food stores. He wishes that the store will do well because he loves the concept. I’ll try my best to visit the store as soon as I can. Thanks for sharing this Ms. Lori!

  • Oh wow. I was directed to this blog by a friend of mine and this entry was just physically painful to read. I live in China, where certain spices are nowhere near available. Now I know where to go on my next visit to Manila to stock up!

    Great blog!

  • hi lori, i’ve been a lurker here for some time now but this post compelled me to comment. i showed this to my mom – a caterer – and she’s practically dragging me to market market now. haha. by the way, i’m featuring your blog, along with anton’s, wysgal’s, and marketman’s, in the hot tips section of the next newsbreak magazine issue.

  • WHOA?! That was literally the first thing I said when I saw the pics and your entry!! Whoa?!

    Good find Lori! I really love visiting your blog!! :) It really makes my day!!

    Tc and Tata!!

  • Btw, I’m not familiar with RR-7 Phase 1. Is that where the other food stalls are on side the mall itself?

  • It’s a beautiful store, and I also left a thousand pesos or so poorer, but happier. My sugar now has evokes lovely vanilla infusion, and those stirrers are a great little gift. They’re like edible jewelry. Imagine if they had lavendar colored sugar stirrers.
    Hope they get their credit card connection soon.

  • This is a superb idea! I’ve been looking for imported spices as indicated in cookbooks but they’re nowhere to be found here. Can’t wait to go there asap. Thanks lori!

  • Mila — if they did have lavender sugar stirrers, I’d buy them all up! I love when my food matches my outfit! ;-)

  • What a timely post! I was just digging up an italian sausage recipe, and now I know where to buy fennel seeds.

    I am happy whenthat business people want to offer something different to consumers. Speaking of lavender (hi Katrina), I hope they have dried lavender flowers.

  • Lovely photos Lori! You really did justice to this wonderful store. I hope more people visit Spices & Flavors, so we can be sure they’re here to stay.

    Mila, I’ve also spent so much in that store, just on the first visit alone and I’ve already been back once more since.

    Crissy, if you were standing in the middle of Market2’s outdoor area with Serendra in front of you, the wet market to your left, and the mall to your right, it’s on your right side. You’ll see food carts and a Japanese store at the corner. Walk until you see Hap Chan. It’s right across that. Ok, I never said I was great at giving directions. :P

  • Wow! What a mecca! Thanks for posting this great field trip.

  • O – My – God!!
    I envy envy envy you!!
    That cinnamon stick stirrer is such a great idea..
    I can imagine how good the smell of the store was..
    And you took great pictures too! Especially the tea and cinnamon stick. I made it my favorite in Flickr right away. Thanks for sharing!

  • Ms. Christine: I’m familiar with Hap Chan. Thanks :D

  • Hi, Ms. Mila. We are working on the credit card facility already. Thanks for patronizing the shop!

    Christine, I really hope we can tickle people’s palates so we can stay around for a long time. :->

    To all of you who have patronized the shop, maraming, maraming salamat po!

    Mich Reply:

    Hi Claudine,

    I would like to ask for your contact number. I am from Davao City and would like to purchase some stuff next week since I am going to Manila. Could that be possible?

    please reply ASAP.

    Thanks,
    Mich

    Lori Reply:


    Mich –
    This store has been closed for a long time but its products are available at weekend markets in Manila and at SM Makati.

  • It’s behind Icings bakeshop, under the big tarp sign with the store’s name (Spices ‘n Flavours) on it, and yes, they have dried lavender, roses, chrysanthemums.

    Sonia

  • I seldom go to Market Market coz we live so far away, do they have green teas powder by any chance? I’ve been looking for it all over the place can’t seem to find them. if they have it i’ll drag my parents there stat! :)

  • hay naku, i couldn’t find this yesterday ikot kami ng ikot sa market market. i was in the area of hap chan but never saw it.

  • Ana, it’s across Hap Chan and behind Icings Bakeshop, fronting Serendra. You can see Icings from the street. It’s just behind it…

  • I haven’t been to Market Market since they first opened but reading about this store means a visit is finally in order! I’m planning a Thai-inspired cookfest following a trip to Bangkok last month. =)

  • wow!!
    never seen such a spectacular site
    i would have loved to visit this place as i am a lover and an enthusiastic collector of spices and spice powders.
    in indian cooking we require lots of masalas i.e mixer of spices for our food and i am forever searching for new ones to add to my collection. thanks for sharing this with us.
    i may not be fortunate enough to visit the shop but i have a satisfaction of visually going there.
    bye

  • I visited this store because I could not get it off my mind from the time I read your post. It certainly didn’t disappoint. I have roasted chicken with kaffir lime leaves, and have sprinkled red pepper over homemade pesto.

    The results are fantastic. Thank you for sharing this.

  • Who happen to know the spice store along UN Avenue Manila? or Store of Spices or The Taj – Indian Grocery Store in Manila?

    risohayne@yahoo.com

  • oh wow. ive been dreaming of finding a spice store with everything in it. thanks for sharing this one! love love love it!

  • Dear Sir/Madam
    We are Manufacturer and Suppliers of Indian Beverages, Food Products, Toiletries and Cosmetics to all over the world. We can offer all major brands available in India at most competitive prices with clients in more than 15 countries we are one of the biggest suppliers of branded fast moving consumer goods from India.
    Major brands we deal in are;
    Dabur, Ayur, Dettol, Rexona, Fair and Lovely, Vicco, Lux, Hamam, Lifebouuy, Lril, Rin, Collage, Nyle, Himani, Poands, Santoor, Pepsodent, Close-up, Tide, Vicks, Pantene, Head and Shoulder, Ganesh Khani, Mdh, Mtr, Emani, Neem, No mark, Fair and Handsum, Gillette, Old Spice, Denim, Godreg, Margoi, Iodex, Zandu Balm, Hamdard, Eno, Stayfree, Pamers, Whisper, Kotex, Nestle, Maggie, OraL.B Himtaj, kissan, Bru, Tajmahal Tea, Frooti, etc….
    Please revert if you dealing in these brands, we assure you our best of service and definitely our tie up will definitely increase our profitably….
    We look forward to have long, fruitful business relation with your concern for mutual benefits.
    Regards
    Misha
    Capital Oversees
    7, Sarja Market Complex
    Phase-2, Sector-7, Rohini
    DELHI-110085, India
    Tel; 0091-11-27040099, 0091-11-27050099
    Fax; 0091-11-27932345
    Web: http://www.fmcgworld.com
    Email ID: info@fmcgworld.com

  • This store is great! I was able to find spices like corriander seeds for my indian food recipes.

  • Hi! im into culinary school now but im from Davao actually.I just found this store last week…i love the store!ive put it in my fb account…thanks for sharing

  • good day maam. my husband is a culinary student & i am a hobbyist for cooking. together we planned on putting up a spices store here in cebu city. upon searching the net i came up with your store. can you somehow help me out? if possible if i purchase on your store will i have a dealer’s price so somehow my prices here in cebu would not be that high? thank you & hoping for a favorable response from you.

  • Hi! This is realy nice. These photos made me to do something and I will go to cook something yummy

  • please let me know, where are you located now. last time, i dropped by market market but you no longer there.

    Lori Reply:

    Rosanna,
    I don’t own this establishment but you can still get Spices & Flavours products at weekend bazaars and at SM Makati near the supermarket.

    –lori

  • Please let mo know, where your store located, coz last time i dropped by market2, your place is under construction.

  • Hi, please let me know if the store will be up soon @ market market taguig. I’ve been waiting to visit the store because I need to buy ingredients for my food recipes, market market had a lot of renovation since last year and I don’t see Spices ‘n Flavours up yet. Thanks!

    Lori Reply:

    Rasal,
    I think this store has closed.

    –lori

  • Just went to Market Market to buy some spices and it turns out that this store is closed. Any idea if it transferred or closed permanently?

    Lori Reply:

    Hi John,
    They’ve closed their store but they have outlets at the Salcedo Market on Saturdays and at the ground floor of SM Makati.

    –lori

    John Reply:

    Hi Lorie,
    Thank you!

    John

  • Hi pls i am searching indian spices in laoag ilocos norte do u hav some indian store in laoag ilocos norte.?

  • Pls may i know the exact location of the indian grocery in manila?I RILY NEED CARDAMOM and any other indian spices for my cooking .tnx

  • Spices N’ Flavors do they have a facebook page / want to order lots of stuff.

    Lori Reply:


    Hi Steven-
    Spices N’ Flavors closed shop years ago but you can find them in SM Makati outside the supermarket and at the Salcedo Market on Saturdays.

    Mich Reply:

    Hi lori,

    do you have any chance of knowing their contact number? I am from Davao and would like to contact them.

    Thanks.

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