El Raval is home to an excellent Filipino market called Proxim.
Barcelona is still the kind of city where migrants, their food, and their culture, is pushed off to the sides. Present but invisible except to those who are seeking it out.
There are some small supermarkets or grocers around, particularly in the Raval a neighborhood I love. I find colour everywhere here. I find it in the clothes that hang brightly on the lines outside buildings usually cast in shadow because the streets are so narrow. I see it in women’s long dresses that reach the floor and the brightly coloured scarves that they wrap around their heads. And. I see it in the fruit and vegetables sold in the Filipino markets on Carrer de Jaoquín Costa.
There is one shop I always loiter in called Proxim. The outside of this Filipino market is festooned with bags of morning glory and bok choi. The shelves have familiar lettuces and less familiar snake beans hanging dramatically down over the shelf below it. There are slender purple eggplants, half the size and double the length of what I can find in the local shops that cook beautifully and cucumbers that look like they been hit with some affliction sending the whole thing into hives. Most of them are grown locally, just outside the city.
“At the beginning it was hard, it didn’t work. But now we have the right seeds and we are lucky.”
She doesn’t say it but I know she is thinking it: “Inshallah”. The Muslim incantation that punctuates most sentences.
Proxim sells exotic fresh vegetables and plenty of jarred ingredients like sugar cane vinegar.
Inside the space between the shelves is so narrow, I have to back up to the end every time someone wants to pass or else risk pressing myself up against a stranger. I’m not sure what to do with a lot of the jars and bottles on the shelves.
“What kind of food is this?” I ask the woman at the counter. “What kind of people.”
“Filipino.” She tells me. “You know there are many who work here in Barcelona.”
That must be true. I remember listening to Nicole Ponseca on Salt and Spine saying that “Filipinos comprise the second largest population of Asian-Americans, second only to Chinese” in the US. I’ve no idea what the numbers are in Barcelona. I have no idea about the food either, clearly as I turn the jars over in Proxim, wondering about them. Datu Puti vinegar? Already Chinese black vinegar lives in on the premium space by my hob because I use it so often. What magic could this fermented cane vinegar bring to my kitchen? Epicurious has some ideas.
I swipe through recipes on my phone wondering what unknown flavours will be unlocked by my visit to Proxim today.
Supermercats Proxim Filipino Market Barcelona
Carrer Joaquin Costa 42
(No website or social media – you will just have to take my word for it)
Other Foreign Supermarkets in Barcelona
J.K. Asian Supermarket
Xin Yang Kuang
Hi I was searching online where to find Asian market store and came across your blog. By the way, I am Indonesian who lives in Singapore and recently just bought an apartment in Barcelona for my family to live during our holiday. I love Spanish food and all different kind of food but after a while staying Barcelona I would like to cook my Asian food, hence why I was looking where to find this wet market or grocery that sell Asian produce.
Thank you for blog, Philippine market is I would say the closest ingredients I could use for my Indonesian cook or the food I grew up with.
Question tho, does this particular market in that address still open or exist?
Hi Pricillia! The shop is still there – not sure if it’s the same owner still. But I recommend you visit the street because there are a few grocers on there. Some specialize more with Indian food but a lot serve the local Filipino community.
Margie Fonacier says
Do you know if there is any online Filipino grocery in Barcelona? My friend’s daughter is missing the Filipino food and would want to send something for her.
Hi Margie, I am not sure about Filipino specifically but the street with the shops most likely to stock Filipino ingredients is Carrer Joaquin Costa in the Raval.
Ah sorry just read the whole message – so I don’t know one. There is an Indian online: https://www.jkasianfoods.com
Barcelona is not very good with online or foreign ingredients really.
Buenos días, quería preguntar si tenéis un jabón para la cara que se llama Placenta?