Building blocks: Box Park MNL

Standing a bit over eight feet high and painted bright green with little caricatures of sunnies-wearing cactii, Plaza de Taqueria’s stall is made of a container van. Not quite a truck or the usual temporary wood kiosk, the Mexican cantina is just one of 14 container-vans-turned-kitchens that make up Box Park.

15 minutes away from the Ateneo by car and 30 minutes away by commute, Congressional Avenue is quickly turning into a food hub set to rival the likes of Maginhawa and Kapitolyo.  From cafes like Brewing Point to burger joints like Chunky Sam’s, the area definitely has no shortage when it comes to good food.

Located right beside Urban Eats and owned by siblings Bianca and Ralph Valle, it is another open-air food complex that adopts the concept using brightly-colored container vans in place of the usual wood and cement structures. Having just opened in October 2015, the relatively new Box Park is home to 14 uniquely designed stalls that offer various kinds of cuisine guaranteed to fill any kind of craving.

Grab it and go

Though Box Park officially opens at 3:00 PM, some stalls don’t open until later on in the day. Due to this, the Vantage team could only sample from six stalls.

The Fry Guys is a stall that offers french fries with an array of different toppings. The Cheesy Bacon Torched Fries (Php 150) sets up a classic combo prepared in an unorthodox way. Once the fries get on the table, the server lights up a blowtorch and melts the mozzarella on top of the fries until the cheese bubbles and chars. It’s a classic pairing that’s done well. With decadence being the essence of this dish, it’s definitely for sharing.

If you’re craving for Mexican, head to Plaza de Taqueria Mexican Cantina’s hand-painted storefront. The Quesodilla (Php 95) and the Beer-braised Carnitas (Php 150) are their best sellers, but the fish taco (Php 135) is a great selection for those looking for something fresh. The taco is filled generously with pieces of fish and vegetables, bursting in your mouth. The sour cream and tomato salsa gave the taco an extra boost in flavor. The entire taco was soft, needing another texture to balance it out. Despite this, the flavors were balanced with a kick of spice and the fish was well-seasoned.

Kazam Kebab House organizes their menu according to cooking times, giving customers a timely way to get their meals. The Special Chelo Koobideh (Php 275), which takes 18 minutes, is one of their larger and more elaborate dishes. Beef kebab and chicken kebab are served with buttered rice and roasted vegetables. Sauces are served to your liking. The dish starred strong flavors of garlic and spices. However, the meat was overcooked to the point of being tough and dry.

Sweet endings

For dessert, Mr. Diggings is a stall that is all about waffles and ice cream. They serve soft-serve ice cream with toppings and a waffle on the side. Their Black Bay (Php 95) is a chocoholic’s top choice here; it’s vanilla ice cream topped with chocolate covered popcorn, chocolate rice krispies, and a chocolate shell. Hot and cold play well with each other in the dish, providing contrasting sensations. Since it was served in a cup, though, the dish was a bit complicated to eat, as it was difficult to get to the pieces at the bottom.

Another sweet item to look forward to is Cajita’s churros (Php 99). The dainty stall, decorated with ornately patterned tiles, fries the churros to order, and you can choose between four different sauces: Chocolate, strawberry, white chocolate and tiramisu. The churros themselves were well-cooked, golden brown, and crispy all throughout. The insides were light and the dough had good body, which was light and chewy. In fact, these churros can rival popular La Lola’s churros for relatively the same price, with free sauce to boot!

Lastly, if you’re looking for something to down with all these dishes, the bar at the end of the park, BoxYard 101, offers both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. The Blue Motorcycle (Php 100 for one, Php 200 for a pitcher), made with blue Curaçao, gin, rum and other spirits, is a cocktail that really packs a punch. The bright, blue color of the drink definitely pops. The stall also sells burgers and steak plates for your carnivorous needs.

Box Park is open from 3:00 PM to midnight from Mondays through Sundays, but we advise you to go a bit closer to dinner time so that you can be sure that all the stalls are already open.  

Boxpark is located at 73 Block 2 Lot 28 Congressional Ave, Tandang Sora, Quezon City.

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