Food Trucks in the Philippines aren’t really common here in Manila, oftentimes we Filipinos tend to go for the tried and tested; and faithfully local carinderia. In fact, in many parts of the city, the carinderia, is an essential part of any neighborhood. Your go-to lunch and dining place after a hard day’s work, your quick bite just before a meeting; or if you’re especially feeling the taxes and expenses on that day, your cheapest alternative to fast food. Here in Manila, carinderias can be found in every busy street corner, they are there and will stay there til the end of time. The food they offer will remain the same and no amount of haute/fusion cuisine you do, the standard food combination of rice, viand, and soup is here to stay.
In some places in Manila, a group known as Food Truck Park PH, are trying to captivate us into trying an alternative to dining out in a carinderia. They’ve brought with them a very fancy truck, an interesting menu, a team of great chefs/cooks, and a passion for making an ordinary evening in the Metro interesting.
After watching many episodes of Eat St. on TV (Lifestyle Network), the idea of Food Trucks struck me as an alternative to our city’s carinderias. The trucks shown on TV were clean, had variety and were cheap for the kind of food you would be ordering. A lot of fusion-type cuisines that made one crave for the food presented. When I heard that there were actually food trucks here, I got very interested. The first time I tried the food truck experience was in Capitol Commons in Pasig City. These trucks did not fail to catch our attention, a lot of catchy designs and, like I said, a lot of variety. There was this one truck that sold shawarma (Shawarma Bros.), another with wagyu beef tapsilog, and another truck which sold different flavors of gelato. During that time that the trucks were in Capitol Commons, Tricia and I, were able to sample the wagyu beef tapsilog and had our dessert at the gelato truck. Expensive food but it was more than enough to satisfy the craving and our curiosity of food trucks.
During our first visit, the ambiance of the place was great, since Capitol Commons was fairly new and had just opened there weren’t a lot of people there. However, trawling through different Instagram posts and the Food Truck Facebook page, weeknights are old, slow and boring; the more interesting events happen during Friday and the weekends. The weekends are usually the time when people come out in droves and spend minutes waiting in line just to order their food. Fortunately enough, there weren’t a lot of people when we first visited the food trucks. The ambiance was great and it felt like we had the whole place to ourselves.
Eventually, the food trucks moved out of Capitol Commons and worked their way down south to Alabang/Filinvest. Last Friday, I got to experience the food trucks again in Alabang, this time with Tricia and her family. Armed with only fifty pesos, it wasn’t a payday Friday and I was feeling very poor, we decided to go for another round of the food truck experience.
With only fifty pesos in my wallet, my goal was to try a cheap dessert. But based on experience, food here doesn’t come cheap. At most, prepare to shell out around P150, but if you want to get really fancy, maybe a P300 budget wouldn’t be bad. Believe me, with the number of trucks in Filinvest tent, you would want to try out as much as you can.
After buying four pieces of Nutella and Langka turon (P50), it was time to enjoy the ambiance. A moment to take in the sights and the sounds and enjoy the fine weather in the south. Now contrary to what I said earlier, where Friday nights were the busiest, last Friday was completely the opposite. It was a chill day and there weren’t a lot of people. There was even a bar that had been set up under the tree with a DJ playing songs for our enjoyment, but not a peek of the crowds that I came to expect on a calm Friday night.
Experiencing Food Truck Park the second time around was great but again, the food was quite expensive and not really something you would go to on a daily basis. The concept and idea is great and where they set up allows for a calm and relaxing atmosphere. But the prices aren’t friendly and some of the food just isn’t that great to begin with. Though it may take awhile for me to sample every truck and choose a favorite, I would just go with the food that I was able to taste so far and give my verdict of a so-so meal. Not too fancy and not too great that I would seriously recommend. But if you’re the type of person who would like to experience something new, come on down and enjoy the Food Truck experience on these dates and places.