The words “dining under the stars” has a romantic feel to it, but to most of us, that is just something we see in TV drama. An outdoor picnic? Laying down a picnic mat on trimmed grass? Having a fun time munching food while the kids are playing around a park? Sure that would be real lovely, but really, where can we do such a thing in the middle of a crowded, constricted metropolis like Metro Manila? However, if you follow Manila’s food trucks, then you might just get that chance.
“Mobile food” has a lot of history in the city. In its most basic form, there are the dodgy street vendors who serve the daily needs of ordinary folk in almost every corner of the city, legal or not. They are mobile enough to scamper away at the first scent of police or security, and settle again somewhere within a blink of an eye, faster than Peter Parker can change into Spiderman. There were also the “jollijeeps” that were popular within the business districts over a decade ago. And, if you’re stuck in traffic, you might just get surprised by someone selling a hamburger right at your car’s window. Most recently though, a group of entrepreneurs decided to bring “class” into street food, and wallah! We now have food trucks!
Our first acquaintance with the trucks was at the now defunct Cucina Andare (“the running kitchen” in English), Manila’s first food truck market, which used to be held every weekend at the Ayala Center in Makati. The food trucks have moved on since then, and they now congregate in a much larger area – even on some weekday nights – at the recently opened, but not yet completed Capitol Commons in Pasig, along Shaw Boulevard. Here there’s a much larger open area where kids can run, scoot, bike around, or even fly a kite! All these while there parents are munching on food from the trucks. One can even lay down on the grass and pretend, for a moment, that you’re in something like New York’s Central Park.
Each food truck here is unique, and what you get is a very wide variety of food, so much that every weekend could be different experience. Overall, the food trucks, for me, are one of the most exciting new things in the city. It certainly beats wandering around a mall aimlessly on a weekend.
For details on Food Truck schedules, you can follow “Food Truck Park PH” on Facebook.
* All photos taken last October 2013, using an Olympus EPM-2 (with Art Filters) and M.Zuiko 14-42mm IIR.