Sample the Food (and Ice Cream) of the Philippines at VGM Market and Deli

Posted by Holly Whitfield | June 11th 2013 3849 0

I've been writing about food long enough to know that what I'm about to do isn't the best way to start a restaurant review, but in this case, it's the most honest way: I (mostly) have no idea what I ate at the VGM Market this afternoon, but I loved every single bit of it.

The VGM Market is a small Filipino grocery store with a restaurant and ice cream shop inside. As far as I can tell, it's Memphis' only Filipino food outlet.

buffet

The friendly woman behind the counter at VGM was completely sympathetic to me being a Filipino food newbie and she patiently explained what all of the hot dishes were: massive hunks of pork belly, noodles, pork and chicken on sticks, vegetables and beef, etc. Everything comes as a combo – you can get a meat, a side and either rice or noodles for about $9.

VGM-greens-chicken

I ordered the chicken adobo (braised and browned chicken wings) and some creamy greens that were like a spicy, coconut milk version of creamed spinach. My friend John ordered two skewers, one of grilled pork and one grilled chicken and noodles, which tasted almost exactly like Chinese fried rice.

VGM-noodles-skewers

After lunch, we checked out the ice cream case, which had about ten flavors of brightly colored ice cream in flavors that I'd never heard of: mais queso, cashew, macapuno, halo halo, etc. After watching the woman behind the counter make a Halo Halo drink for someone else, I ordered it.

She produced a plastic cup with some jellied fruit, coconut and red beans floating in a red liquid at the bottom third of it, added crushed ice, poured condensed milk over it, then added a huge scoop of ice cream (in my case, cashew). She gave me a spoon and told me to mix it up.

halo-halo

 

It was sort of like a thin milkshake, about the texture of an iced latte. The ice cream, which is imported from the Philippines, has a lot of flavor, but is very light. We figured out that there were jellied strings of coconut, but never determined (even after asking) what the red chunks of fruit were. They kind of tasted like Jello, but had a thicker texture. Despite not knowing exactly what I was drinking, it was amazing – cool and refreshing and perfect for an afternoon as hot as this one.

mixed-halo-halo

The VGM market is open for lunch and dinner. There are plenty of tables if you want to eat there, and they take cash and credit cards (though, I don't think they take American Express). After you eat, check out the grocery section and the to-go pints of ice cream. 

Go there:

VGM Market

6195 Macon Road,
Memphis, TN 38134
(901) 937-7798


Author: Holly Whitfield

I write about what’s going on with Memphis music, food, arts, events, sports, people, and culture. Memphians love Elvis and barbeque with a passion that must be seen to be believed, but there is so much more to this place.

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Comments

  1. Caitlin says:

    Had no idea this place existed!! One of my favorite things about Memphis is how many different countries' food you can enjoy here. Now I get to add another to my list!

  2. Joseph Gumban says:

    Thank you for the great review, much appreciated!

  3. Cathay says:

    I love the ice cream flavors ube (sort of a purple tropical root vegetable) and mango from a family ice cream place on the west coast. I have heard recently of VGM but had never checked them out–thanks much for this review.

  4. Butchisan says:

    Visit us and taste the food from the Pacific. Our way of cooking is a blend of Spanish, Chinese, and Japanese cuisine put together and comes out Filipino cuisine. IT'S ALL GOOD FOOD, GOOD TASTE AND GOOD PEOPLE. WE GET ALONG WITH EVERY HUMAN IN THE WORLD. MABUHAY AND MAHAL NAMIN KAYO.

  5. Linda & Ben Amaba says:

    Dining in is a pleasure talking to the owners/employees of the VGM.  Also we can always special order Filipino foods not currently offered on a daily basis.  We have known this place for many years, & we have patronized their business.  In fact, this Independence Day week, we are ordering quite a few items on their menu since our 4 children & their families are joining us for our yearly "Cousins' Camp" reunion.  Ordering "to go" will surely free us from spending too much time in the kitchen, & every one in the family will be able to participate & enjoy the several activities planned for our yearly events.  For Memphis residents and/or people living outside the city who have not experienced the pleasure of dining @ VGM, we encourage you to do so.  It is money well spent.  

    Linda & Ben Amaba

  6. MrBlue says:

    The Gumbans, the family that owns the place, are very nice people. If you go there, try the egg rolls. They are awesome.

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