Pinoy Republic, an Asian Grocery Store
545 SW Cutoff, Worcester, MA, 01607
We visited Pinoy Republic to learn about the cuisine in the Philippines. Each student worked to create a writing and art piece inspired by Pinoy Republic and the Philippines. Below you will see the writing and art pieces each student created.
My Experience at Pinoy Republic
My experience at the Pinoy Republic was great! We walked in and were nicely welcomed by the owner of the store, Mercedes. As I looked around, I saw three small aisles that were very tall and stacked with products. I saw all different kinds of foods: chips, canned goods, hair products, dinks, fish and so much more.
The first aisle had clear plastic bins filled with snacks and other products on the left. Most of the products looked familiar, just with different names and packages. For example, there were jello packets, something that looked like Ramen noodles, seasoning packets, coconut oil and other products I have seen in American grocery stores just with different packages, brands and names. I would like to give those products a try sometime to see how similar they are to the American versions. On the other side of the aisle, there were bottles filled with sauces, vinegar and cooking products.
As I turned the corner around the first aisle, I saw large freezers filled with frozen fish. I asked the owner of the store how similar the market is compared to the markets in the Philippines. She told me that everything is very similar except for that this space is large for a market. That came as a surprise to me because I am so used to groceries stores with tons of aisles. She went on to tell me that the stores are very small and sometimes the stores are just windows. She also said there are no freezers in the markets in the Philippines. Everything is fresh. She explained how fish is a very popular ingredient in Filipino dishes because the island nation is surrounded by water. Not only did I see fish in freezers, I saw a lot of canned fish in the second aisle. I also noticed a lot of coconut products including a broom made out of coconut leaves that is used for the outdoors.
The third aisle had more snacks in clear plastic bins and refrigerators with jello drinks. There were many different flavors all in different packages. I had to give them a try so I put them in my basket. Mercedes told me three years ago when she opened the store there were not many products, but as the store began to grow, it was easier to use the plastic bins to store some of the products. It made sense to use the bins because the store looked so organized.
We were offered some Filipino ice cream toward the end of our visit. Of course I said yes and gave it a try. We tried two flavors, avocado and purple yam. Both were delicious, the avocado was my favorite it was creamier than any ice cream I have ever tried, and it had a sweet taste of avocado. It was so good! We checked out all our items and went back to school to try them. I was very excited to try my jello drinks. I had a mango flavored one that came in a squeeze package like the ones we would see apple sauce in and a lychee flavored one that came in a pink plastic bottle. When I tried the mango drink, it was sweet and fruity and the texture was juicy and jello-like.
Overall, I had a great experience at Pinoy Republic. I loved everything about the market, the food, the people and especially the ice cream!
In my music piece above, I am taking influence from a filipino folk dance used for entertainment called Tinikling. The music is fast and upbeat, typically the beat is made from two bamboo poles. The music consists of tapping, beating and sliding the bamboo poles. The dance is coordinated with the poles (you will see the dance in the video) and plucked string and percussion in the background.
I am using large PVC pipes, which are meant to be the bamboo sticks. In the background there is original music a made. In the background music I used tambourine, strings and percussion.
Off of south cutoff road
near 3 other stores
lies Pinoy Republic
many foods to explore.
a welcoming smell
aisles and refrigerators
stocked up with food
with Filipino classics and more
Exotic fish dishes
ice cream galore.
A slight-cheerful smell
creamy-more realistic taste
better than anything in the US of A.
Towering aisles that stop
a foot from the ceiling
trying to hold all of the food
even with bins overflowing.
Great bacon strip crackers
no bacon included
without any meat.
So much to try
I can’t wait to go back
and see what tastes...
My piece of art is a Filipino Christmas parol made of 12in cardstock paper. A parol is a popular lantern in the Philippines. Mine is a four point star with red and blue quadrants. I used light, shape, and color in this piece. I used 12 in cardstock paper, lights, double sided tape, tissue paper, and I followed a YouTube video. A big part in the creation of this piece is using a Xacto knife. Going to Pinoy Republic and looking up classic Filipino art inspired me to make this. The goal of this piece was to create a classic Filipino Christmas lantern that was personalized by me. Overall I am happy with what I created. My favorite part was the lights and seeing it hang in the dark with the lights on. I am not that happy with the uneven shape of the lantern and the slight 3D look of it.
The hustle and bustle
On a normal day,
Was nowhere to be seen
When we arrived.
The owner stands, waiting,
in front of the store
Ready to show us
The wondrous tastes inside.
We enter the store
And see large amount of foods
I’ve never before seen.
Many interesting and unique snacks and candies
Found only in the Philippines.
Various spices and herbs,
To add a Filipino flavor
to your food.
The most delicious ice cream
I’ve ever had,
Purple yam, avocado
flavors only found here.
Many products made from purple yam,
A staple in the Philippines.
one of the nicest people
That I’ve met.
A great market
A Taste of the Philippines
A tiny market in the middle of the city,
So much variety and diversity
Filled with foods from many nations,
yet all also from one nation
A friendly lady,
running the market
An assortment of foods
All so tasty
Seafood, ice cream,
hot dogs, chips,
A collection of colors
Brightening up the store
A range of influences
From around the world
All from a beautiful place,
filled with bright blue rivers and lakes,
secluded beaches and mountains,
big cities and small coastal villages.
My artwork is a drawing. It is inspired from the information I know about the Filipino cuisine and the Filipino market, Pinoy Republic, that my market guidebook group visited. My drawing incorporates the Filipino flag and important ingredients in the Filipino cuisine. I created my drawing by first sketching my design out on copier paper. I edited somewhat, then copied that design onto Bristol board in pencil. Once I had that design, I traced it in Sharpie. Lastly, I colored it in with Blick Studio Brush Markers. My goal was to represent the important aspects of Filipino cuisine. The final piece is what I imagined.
Pinoy Republic: A Different View on Your Typical Market
As I entered the market, I smelled a very enticing aroma. The scent seemed familiar, almost as if it was deli with fresh meats like beef, pork, and chicken. We had passed other stores and fast food restaurants on our way from Worcester Academy to the market called “Pinoy Republic.” When I walked into the market, I saw a few tall columns with clear crates filled with goods. The goods varied from chips, to nuts, to fish, to fruits, to soups. Wow, there is a lot of variety of foods and snacks. I thought to myself.
The lady who was running the market, Mercedes, was extremely genuine. She said hello to us and shook all of our hands. She smiled at us, and I felt welcome. She told us many stories about when she lived in the Philippines before she came to the United States.
In the back of the store, there were cold fridges with fish and seafood. I had never seen whole fish for sale like that before: grey, glassy eyed, frozen, stacked like Jenga blocks. On the right, there were more fridges filled with drinks native to the Philippines. Mercedes told us about special Filipino lychee juice. Sweet with globs of white jelly. Wow, this is different. I thought to myself as I took my first sip of the sugary lychee juice.
Within the market, there was a wide variety of foods which made the market much more appealing in my eyes. The Pinoy Republic had seafood, candy, snacks, fruits, nuts, and many different trail mixes and assortments of nuts. They even had ice cream. Mercedes gave us two different flavors: purple yam and avocado to try. The purple yam tasted almost like black raspberry: sweet, tart but with a hint of coconut. The avocado was light green and creamy and a slightly sweet taste. This is delicious. Who would’ve thought to make ice cream out of avocado?
I was surprised that this market had a lot of similarities to a typical American grocery store. It did have a few things that are even different from those markets, and Mercedes even said that this market had some things you might not even find in U.S. general stores and groceries.
To me, another captivating point was that in Filipino cuisine they tend to enjoy eating more sour and sweet food rather than salty or other ways of preparing food. Also, in every meal there must be rice or else it is not considered a meal, but a snack. That’s like meals at my Iranian house. The market included famous meals from the Philippines’ such as Arroz Caldo which is a soup with rice, chicken, and various flavorings, spices, and seasonings ready to buy and eat.
Before our trip, I had already learned that the area of the world called the Philippines is made up of thousands of islands and has cuisine that utilizes tropical food. I had also learned, The cuisine has been influenced by many different cultures such as Hispanic since Spain ruled over the Philippines for around 400 years. It also has a Chinese influence due to importmants, and Chinese traders and migrants serve rice with condiments like meats, nuts, and chopped up vegetables. Filipinos often serve rice plain for those who are sick.
Looking back on the experience, I am glad I went to Pinoy Republic. This market helped me understand the cuisine in the Philippines. I got to see how spices and flavors work together in common dishes from this area of the world. I really enjoyed this experience, and had a great time.
I was inspired by a video of a Filipino person playing music on the traditional Kulintang. The instrument is very uplifting and goes up the scale and down.
My piece includes using live loops and piano gongs. I combined contemporary electronic live loops through GarageBand and mixed it with electronic gongs. I used a special feature within garageband and went up the scale then down and tried to get as close to my reference as possible, but then added my own twist of live loops.