Filipinos are big mall goers and up until recently, they were the go-to destinations for workday lunches and late-night eats. That is until foods parks, a new kind of development sprouting up in various parts of the metro, started catering to the young and decidedly food-obsessed set.
At its simplest, food parks are a lot like mall food courts. Tables are set up in the center, surrounded by food stalls, and people are free to choose where they want to buy their meal. But the similarities end there.
Most food parks are open, standalone structures, making them one of the few places where people enjoy an al fresco meal in Manila. They’re usually painted with bright colors and most have a modern industrial feel to them, like a warehouse your hip friends discovered.
Food options are also different. Instead of fast food staples, most parks provide contemporary grub usually found in the metro’s trendy holes in the wall.
The trend that started in 2016 is similar to the “food hall-ization” of US cities like LA, New York, and San Francisco. In Manila, food parks have become a venue for budding chefs to experiment and for diners to try new dishes without the frou-frou and expensive price tag most artisanal food come with.
In Metro Manila, Quezon City, Pasig, and Marikina are some of the cities with the most food parks. Below is a list with some of the major ones, plus a couple of food halls (Basically, indoor food parks) for good measure.
The Yard at Xavierville
Xavierville Subdivision, Loyola Heights, Katipunan Avenue, Quezon City
Built with container vans and decorated with neon lights, The Yard at Xavierville is both simple and flashy. The place and the dishes on offer are fit for a quick afternoon pick-me-up or a chill night out with your friends.
Try El Chapo’s Chicharitos (PHP85 or USD1.66), a lechon sisig taco for a good mix of Mexican and Filipino flavors.
Wash it down with a cocktail as big as a bucket from Epicure. Their Cherry Mojito is delicious and at only PHP250 for every liter, also well-worth your money.
Also in the area:
Backyard Food Park (Fairview)
Block 11 Lot 7 Regalado Ave. corner Coronet St., Fairview, Quezon City
El Neo Garahe (Fairview)
Block 176, Lot 22 Phase 7, Geneva St. Fairview, Quezon City
The Food Hive Food Park
80 Visayas Avenue, Brgy. Vasra, Quezon City
47 Visayas Avenue, Corner Congressional Ave. Extension, Quezon City
Happy Tables Resto Hub
71 Congressional Avenue Extension, Pasong Famo, Quezon City
Merkanto Street International Street Food
38 Mayaman St., U.P. Village, Diliman, Quezon City
Pazar Events Space and Food Hub
26 Regalado Hwy, Fairview, Quezon City,
Sagul Food Park
43 Malingap Street, Teacher’s Village East, Quezon City
The Station Food Park
178 Maginhawa, Diliman, Quezon City
StrEAT Food Park
91 Maginhawa, Diliman, Quezon City
The Vibe (Quezon City)
9 Mindanao Avenue, Novaliches, Quezon City
Our pick: Industrie Food Loft (Citigolf)
2/F CityGolf Plaza, Julia Vargas Ave., Ortigas Center, Pasig City
If it’s an exceptionally hot day in Manila, skip the outdoor parks and go for one with just as much good food but comfortable seats and centralized air conditioning. Industrie Food Loft in Citigolf offers exactly that.
It has a smaller selection of stalls than your average food park but that gives it a more curated feel, making it easier for you to choose your next meal. If you’re craving for something meaty, try the lunch set from Niku Niku which comes with two Japanese-style beef skewers, rice, and coleslaw for PHP150.
For familiar Filipino fare, load on carbs and get the Chorizo Recado (PHP175) from Opster’s, which is basically a silog meal with crispy chorizo flakes.
Also in the area:
Food Haven at 77
77 East Capitol Drive Bo. Kapitolyo, Pasig City
Gastro Park Kapitolyo
12 1st St, Barangay Kapitolyo, Pasig City
Madison Commons Food Park
1 Brixton St., Barangay Kapitolyo, Pasig City
The Yard Underground
207 Christian Route, Hill Crest Circle, Oranbo, Pasig City
Our pick: Carnival Food Park
Mayor Gil Fernando Ave., Sto. Niño, Marikina City
Marikina has three food parks, all along one street but Carnival food park has got to be the most festive out of the bunch. The decor alone is a sight to see: you will be welcomed with a big arch studded with light bulbs and made to look like a carnival tent, booths are painted red, and colorful banderitas go across nearly the entire width of the area.
Go along with the circus theme and get an order of churros coated in cereal by The Amazing Churros & Fantastic Dips. You can choose from nine dips to choose from including Nutella, matcha, and Bailey’s Irish Cream. Apart from satisfying your sweet tooth, the churros will also surely look amazing on your Instagram feed.
If you’re willing to get your hands dirty, get a bucket of seafood from Hip On (Props for the pun). You can order different types of seafood in individual plates but you can also choose to get a platter that includes shrimps, crabs, mussels, and corn for PHP450. Flavors include Cajun spice, coconut milk in curry spice, sweet and spicy sauce, oil with Vigan longganisa, and salted egg.
Also in the area:
Mayor Gil Fernando Ave., Santo Niño, Marikina City
The Truck Food Park
8 Mayor Gil Fernando Ave., Sto. Niño, Marikina City
In other cities:
Buendia Food by the Court, 34 Sen. Gil J. Puyat Ave., Makati City
Container Turf, 238 and 240 BF Aguirre Avenue, Parañaque City
Kalye 1 Abad Santos Food Park, 969 Jose Abad Santos St., Little Baguio, San Juan City
The Shipyard, 578 Gen. Malvar St, Malate, Manila
Space Food Park, 210 Menlo cor. Leveriza St., Pasay City