Let me just say that I really like the food at Meechu’s Filipino Market. In three visits I’ve yet to be let down – or underfed. Jun Gatica and his wife (ack, don’t have her name) have run the market and takeout place up on Vandiver for more than three years. He runs the market side, she cooks the food. And oh, the food. Adobos bright with vinegar and soft spices, homemade chicken stew with horseradish leaves…it’s good stuff, and made from scratch.
Above is caldereta, a popular Filipino beef stew with tomatoes, sweet peppers and olives. The stew – and the foods of the Philippines in general – owe much to the centuries the Spanish spent there. And despite the equatorial proximity of its home (roughly the same lattitude as Thailand), Filipino food is surprisingly subdued with the heat. I asked Mrs. Gatica add some hot pepper to my dish, which she balances with the addition of coconut milk. It was rich, mellow and delicious (and even better today for lunch).
Typically, Mrs. Gatica brought out a few extras for me to try. Half of a chicken thigh in a light broth. A small piece of creamy cassava cake, brown around the edges and chilled. I began to think I was getting some special treatment, but…nahhh. She did this last time too.
I got up, paid Jun at the front counter and stepped into the cool night air.
“Goodbye, Scott,” he called behind me. “Damn,” I thought. “These guys are good.”
Meechu’s Filipino Market
1301 Vandiver Drive, Suite J
(near NY Deli)
Columbia, MO 65202