Food Theme Parks are popping out like mushrooms, redefining our dining experience by putting new flavors and fusions to different cuisines, the usual western and Asian dishes that we can only order in the malls have been made available to the streets and it’s more affordable. I’ve come to experience 6 food parks around Metro Manila—I’m going to food park after food park—with only ₱200 budget for each visit and see what can I get. I’m also going to rank them under the criteria of (1) good food and service, (2) appearance and (3) overall experience.
#1 Kantorini Food Park
How to go to Kantorini Food Park (Katipunan Avenue, Quezon City): You can take MRT going to Cubao/Aranet Center station, then from there you need to walk towards LRT2, ride the train to Katipunan Station then walk for another 10 minutes along Aurora Blvd then turn left to Katipunan Avenue. I know, It’s not commuter-friendly.
Kantorini Food Park launched their soft opening last June 2, 2017 and I’d say they did a good job resembling the vibrant colors of Santorini, Greece. Most of the stalls were not open yet or probably opening late because most foodies come around 7pm onwards.
Katorini Food Park Menu: The variations of dishes are from grilled, sizzling, pasta, pizza, chicken, rice, noddles, ice cream and some sweets. They also serve beer and most tables have already got their buckets. It’s beer Friday!
I waited for this particular stall to open—“The Grilla”—coz I’m grilla hungry. And after about 30 minutes they started taking orders and I’m order #1—talking about excitement. I ordered this gorgeous grilled liempo (pork belly) with java rice, sour mango salad and egg-potato-mayo for only ₱160, and it’s served up-side-down. Yes, that is so cheap and it was soooo gooood. I wiped my wooden plate to white. Gone in 60 seconds.
Kantorini Food Park prices range from ₱100-400 per meal.
Overall Experience: (excellent)
#2 The Food Truck Manila QC Branch
How to go to The Food Truck Manila QC: It’s along Kamias road (North bound), right before turning to Holy Family Parish Church signage. If you’re taking MRT it’s a few blocks away from GMA/Kamuning station and if you’re taking the bus just tell the driver to drop you off Kamias road, the landmarks are Mercury Drug and Jollibee, and on that side, there are jeepneys bound for Project 23, tell the driver to drop you off K-I street, you’ll be able to see The Food Truck right across.
Food Truck Manila or “FTM” recently launched their QC branch last June 17. The first branch is located in Sampaloc Manila which operates from 11AM to 11PM. This new branch operates until 2AM. FTM is probably the tallest multi-level food park among the 5 others that I have visited. Levels 1 and 2 serve variety of food choices, Level 3 serves food and booze (there’s a section that’s labelled FTM Bar which serves beer, wine and liquor) and then more tables at Level 4.
I got my eyes on Chef Resty’s combo meal 2 (roast beef with 2 side dishes and rice for ₱180), Rouche’s pork belly (₱160), and ribs.ph’s seafood marinara (₱165) and after roaming around I have decided to take on ribs.ph’s best seller.
The seafood marinara tastes really really good, the pasta is cooked just right, generous amount of shrimp and mussels, and serving is just right to make me full. No wonder it’s their best seller.
Overall Experience: (great)
#3 Truck Park Marikina City
How to get there: Take MRT or bus going to Cubao/Araneta then walk towards LRT2, ride until Katipunan station, from Katipunan station ride a jeepney that’s bound for Montalban, Truck Park is along Gil Fernando Ave., you’ll be able to see it on the left side of the street. The signage is big enough not to miss it.
Once you get inside you’ll be able to see everything, the dining tables are placed at the center of the park while the food stalls are at the sides, it’s like a huge food court inside a trailer truck. The comfort rooms are in separate air-conditioned room with a glass door.
The appearance might simple but the variation of cuisines are sophisticated. Aside from the usual Western grilled foods and Asian fusion, they also have Laksa, Shepherd’s Pie and other Mexican cuisines. The food park uses prepaid system to buy foods and drinks, though you can still use cash if you have the exact amount for the food you want to buy. The prepaid cards are available at their centralized cashiers for ₱50 (card only), you still need to load it with the amount you think you’re going to spend throughout the night. In my case, since I won’t be staying long, I paid in cash.
I wanted to try Cheese Cartel’s pulled pork sliders but I think I won’t be able to finish the whole thing because it has 3 small burgers and potato wedges (₱199). Then I saw Bacon Brigade and I fell in love, because why not? It’s BACON.
So, I got this 2 thick slices of bacon with 2 sunny side-up eggs and black rice for ₱170. I never had black rice before, it tasted like brown rice but it’s sticky, as sticky as rice cake or suman, what I know is it’s a diet rice but how can I be on diet if I’m eating 2 thick slices of bacon–LOL, also, the bacon must’ve been oversmoked because it didn’t leave my taste buds for a longer time, but overall it was a good foodie experience. Black rice is something new.
Overall Experience: (good)
#4 Crave Park Marikina City
How to get there (Crave Park address): Take MRT or bus going to Cubao/Araneta then walk towards LRT2, ride ’til Katipunan station, then from Katipunan station ride a jeepney that’s bound for Montalban. Crave Park is just a few blocks away from Truck Park, you’ll be able to see the signage right before the jeepney turn left to Aquilina St.
Crave Park is a multi-level food park, it has similarities to Food Truck Manila QC, but wider and only has 3 levels, the walls have urban graffiti arts and it’s so cool, but I didn’t see any live band set-up, I think it’s pure urban music.
I chose Truck Bites’s chubby chops for ₱180 amongst Bab’s Lechon value meal (150g boneless lechon + rice + drink for ₱150) and Pulled Pork Bar’s pulled beef sandwich for ₱179. Chubby chops is a thick grilled pork chop with dirty rice, I thought dirty rice was the same as the black rice I had in Bacon Brigade, turns out, it’s just a plain white rice stir-fried in some kind of a sauce that tastes like star anise with soy sauce and a little bit of five-spice powder, but I liked it. The thick pork chop was flavored nicely and really well done.
Overall Experience: (good)
#5 The Yard Underground (Pasig)
How to go to The Yard’s location: From Shaw Blvd MRT station ride a jeepney that’s bound for Pasig Palengke or San Joaquin and tell the driver to drop you off Shakey’s, from there you have to cross the street and walk in Christian Route, it’s at the right side.
This food park is a branch outlet of The Yard in Xavierville Quezon City. The location might not be that easy to find because it’s 5-10 minutes walk from the main road, the easiest way is probably to arrange an Uber transport to drop you off to the exact location, but once you’re near you’ll be able to see the big signage outside. It’s multi-level as well, up to 3rd level.
I did my routine, took my time before coming up with a decision of what I’m going to have. I had my eyes (and taste buds) on Smoked Pork Belly (₱200), grilled burger called “Twice the Fun” (₱200) and Pub Express’s Baby Back Ribs (₱169), and since I already had Smoked Riblets last night from Buendia Food by Court, I chose the grilled burger.
I got what I ordered after 30 minutes, maybe they don’t precook burgers or maybe they just forgotten about me. The 2-layer grilled burger is delicious, it tastes good than what it looks like (though it looks good on the menu). It tasted like Army Navy’s bully burger—Real beef patties grilled and cooked on its own fats.
Right when I’m about to leave, I looked at the Smoked Pork Belly and said to myself “Should I?”. Nope! Let’s stick to the ₱200-rule.
Overall Experience: (good)
#6 Buendia Food by the Court
How to get to Buendia Food by the Court: If you’re coming from the North, take LRT/Buendia bus and tell the driver to drop you off Bautista street, the food park is right across Jollibee. The location isn’t hard to find because it’s right at the side of Gil Puyat main road.
The food park is beside a basketball court, it maybe small but they’ve maximized the location by adding more tables on the rooftop. The selection of foods maybe limited but they serve variety of Asian and Western cuisines.
Three dishes got my attention, Pad Thai (₱160), Nasi Goreng (₱160) and the Smoked Riblets with Turmeric rice (₱185), but I had to make some rounds first and check-out other stalls. This one dish that caught my attention, “Crocodile Sisig“, I was like—“Is that even legal?”.
After 10 minutes of walking I’ve made up my mind, I went back and ordered the Smoked Riblets with Turmeric Rice and a bottled water, all for the price of ₱200, no more no less.
I got my order in less than 5 minutes, So I believe it was just re-heated. The pork ribs was cooked nicely and tender but the flavor was a little blunt, the turmeric rice needs more turmeric in it because it tasted like plain rice, and also more butter ‘coz it’s so dry. But all in all, it’s cheap and it’s fast food.
Overall Experience: (good)
Is that it?
‘Course not, there were 4 other food theme parks that I visited but didn’t include in this list, the Food Hub in front of Crave Park in Marikina, I think it’s inside a village which I tried to enter but couldn’t find the exact entrance (believe me, I look stupid), another one in Marikina is the Carnival food park, I didn’t include it because there are many great food theme parks in Marikina (or Metro Manila in general) and reviewing them all would take me forever writing this. I also went to visit strEAT food park in Maginhawa but it’s under renovation, along the way there’s this 150 Maginhawa street food park but I think it’s too small, Buendia Food Court maybe small but it has a rooftop and a wide area for parking lot.
I know there are other Food Theme Parks coming our way, but I’ll leave it to you to discover them, trust me when I say, “It will be fun”, if you could just imagine you and your friends going to food parks after food parks and just eat, drink, chill, go home. I have enjoyed food tripping Metro Manila, your turn now. 2;^)