Wandering through neighborhoods should be at the top of a traveler's to-do list whenever they are in a new area. Recently, my brother and I were in the Kapitolyo region of Metro Manila burning some time before lunch when we came across a street sign for a new food park. After living in Austin, Texas for a couple of years, I am a huge proponent of food parks and trucks and the wonders they bring to any city. We followed the arrow and made our way to what looked like a really small space from the outside, but quite the opposite after we walked in.
Hello Gastro Park Kapitolyo! There was a central dining area and vendors surrounding it in a U-shape. Scanning the area, there were vendors of various cuisines with names like Japbox, Wok and Sweet Nothing. I found the general design of the vendors colorful and uncomplicated, which was perfect because I don't come to food parks to feel sophisticated and wear a 3-piece suit. Instead, I want to put on my favorite Fred Flintstone outfit and chow down without any utensils! Wonderful first impression. Great job Gastro Park!
As I made my way around, I had so much trouble deciding what I wanted to snack on. Remember, this was pre-lunch appetizer as we had lunch plans nearby which made the indecision even more unnerving. There was a stall peddling donut burgers, which pulled at my heartstrings, a vendor with liquid nitrogen ice cream, one called Bagneto (a clever pun inspired by an X-Men villain) and even a jeepney slinging sandwiches with iconic Filipino fare, such as chicken adobo, as filling.
RELATED: The Donut Burger, Part II (VIDEO)
Ratings Scale✪ Spit It Out Immediately
✪✪ It Could Be Worse
✪✪✪ Not The Worst Thing You've Tried
✪✪✪✪ Loosen Your Pants
✪✪✪✪✪ Give Up Your First Born For This
(Exchange rate as of February 13, 2016)
Decisions had to be made and we ended up trying:
Chicken Curry Quesadilla
PHP 150 (US$3.16)
Vendor: The Masala Bar
Give Up Your First Born For This
I was floored at how good this was! The tortilla it was on was soft and warm with wonderful consistency and tasty chicken curry filling.
Pork Belly & Chicken Fillet Yakitori
PHP 40 each (US$0.84)
Loosen Your Pants
These were both expertly cooked with a great sauce. I could easily wolf down 30 more sticks.
Fresh Brewed Green Apple Tea
PHP 40 (US$0.84) (16oz)
Vendor: Sweet Nothing
Rating: ✪✪✪✪ Loosen Your Pants
Fresh > Concentrate. No exceptions. Sweet Nothing did a wonderful job with this refreshing beverage which was a joy to drink.
While I wasn't able to try every single establishment, here is a preview of what the 15 vendors have to offer at Gastro Park.
Beverage. Fresh juices & milkshakes.
Japanese. Compact rising sun favorites such as teriyaki & donburi.
Thai-Mex. What happens when Thai and Mexican food have a love child.
The Masala Bar
Contemporary Indian. Get the Chicken Curry Quesadilla!
Chicken. 'nuff said.
Yakitori. Grilled to order meat-on-a-stick goodness.
French Fries. Classic and artisan fry masters. They also serve raspberry juice in a fishbowl!
Tolyo’s Soup n’ Grill
Soup/Grill. Straight forward soup and grilled meats for your eating pleasure.
Asian Fusion. Deep fried pork with a clever pun.
Para: Filipino Sandwich Bar
Sandwich. Pinoy classics in an oversized bread roll.
Stuffed by Offbeat
Burgers. They have donut burgers!
Japanese. Deep fried Japanese delicacies.
The Seventh Element
Ice Cream. Liquid nitrogen treated ice cream!
Singaporean. Hawker favorites such as Nasi Goreng (Fried Rice) and Hainese Chicken.
Americana. Steaks, ribs and pizza.
Additional information of this review was adapted from: New Food Park Alert: 14 + 1 Reasons to Visit Gastropark Kapitolyo Food Park (The Booky Report).