Sometimes we know that something is there yet we know so little of it. Merced Bakeshop has been around for a long time. Decades, I think. It’s found mainly in Metro Manila, I heard. I know that Merced Bakeshop exists, yet I know little about it, or how its products taste like.
There’s only one branch that I know of. Merced’s address is listed at 869 E. De Los Santos Ave., Quezon City and I don’t know if its contact numbers still work (Tel# 924-0191; 924-0188; 924-2108; Fax# 924-0170; Email: mercedbake @yahoo.com.ph). That’s the one beside the National Statistics Office (NSO), at the right side of the flyover if you’re coming from the North (NLEX, Monumento, Bulacan), before you turn right along Quezon Avenue. I’ve seen it countless of times but I never had the chance (rather, the urge) to stop and order something).
Then a truism kicked in a few days ago — you find (or taste?) something when you’re not searching for it. I found an outlet of Merced Bakeshop at the most unlikely place and unlikely time — while being confined at a hospital. There’s a tiny Merced kiosk at the lobby of the Capitol Medical Center, along Quezon Avenue, Quezon City (if you know of other branches or outlets, please let us know through the comment section below).
Anyway, I’ve heard that Merced is known for its cakes, though I’m not sure if there’s anything noteworthy that I’m missing here (added: turned out we originally missed empanada). I can say with certainty, however, that the Pineapple Pie and Macapuno Tart are worth a try in case you encounter a Merced kiosk in your friendly neighborhood hospital or somewhere else.
I love pineapple. I love it so much I was offended when someone said that pineapple is for salad, not pizza (try Pizza Hut’s Hawaiian Pizza). So when I saw a Pineapple Pie at this Merced kiosk, even if in the hospital, I didn’t hesitate to buy. My wife, though, thinks that the Macapuno Tart tastes better. Let’s hear your opinion.
What about the empanada?
Ah, yes, the empanada. We forgot about it. No, wait, we didn’t forget; We didn’t know. Good thing Mr. Lito Ligon alerted us right away that Merced is famous for its empanada. We’re always thankful for readers who take time to correct any mistakes in this blog or alert us to things that matter, like the empanada. It would have been a grave injustice to everyone (especially ourselves, because we wouldn’t have tasted it) if we fail to include the empanada.
And so right after Lito posted his commented, we chalked “empanada” in our VisitiPinas “to-do” list and since we usually pass along EDSA, we found the perfect time to stop one rainy, lazy weekend afternoon.
Merced’s main store along EDSA has this atmosphere of a veteran in the business. Nothing spanking new, nothing fancy. A huge area for dining, a huge area for food displays, and a bigger area at the back for, I guess, functions like birthdays. But we’re not really concerned about those, are we? Where’s the empanada?
Where’s the crunchy-yet-razor thin, tasty-soft crust that envelops the flavor of the meat inside? Chicken or pork, your pick. I’m particular with what’s inside. Take siopao, for instance, I’d always have asado, though I hardly seem to care if it’s Ma Mon Luk — I care more for the dough than the content. Same with Merced empanada. It’s like sinking your teeth on a thousand onion-skin papers (edible, of course) which melts upon contact with your tongue, coating it with subtle flavor that envelops the meat even while you’re chewing it. Perhaps that’s a bit too much but that’s the idea.
Lito was absolutely correct when he emphasized the crust (just a reminder, when you buy, make sure it’s flaky, like the otap of Cebu, not smooth). You don’t believe us, eh? Go try it. =)