Wednesday, December 7, 2016

DINING | A sampling of Kapitolyo Gastro Park's good and inexpensive food

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I love food (who doesn't?) but I'm not one who goes out of my way just to try a new happening place or resto, so finding myself in Kapitolyo Gastro Park in Pasig City is something unexpected of me. We happened to be in the area for something else and when we looked for a place to have dinner, we chanced upon this gem of a food-tripper's haunt.

Kapitolyo Gastro Park is a covered open-air space with around 14 different food stalls lining up its rectangular perimeter. Seating options include wooden tables and benches, plastic tables and chairs, and even inverted metal drums. It's essentially a food court, only hipper but sans the air conditioning.

What's most important, of course, is that the food here (at least the ones I've tried) is good and cheap. However, because there's just two of us eating, we were able to try only a few of what the stalls have to offer. That said, I think coming here in a group is your best bet if you want to try as much food as you can, having a little of this and a little of that.

We tried Wok's Singaporean fried rice (Php 150), a hefty serving of fried rice with bits of shrimp, sausage, and veggies in a mild curry flavor. You can also add Php 30 if you want it with pork or chicken. For the price, it's a good carb dish, which went perfectly with the delightfully crispy bagnet (Php 125, with plain rice) we ordered from Bagneto. Tokyo Tempura Unlimited's shrimp tempura, with its flavorful batter, was also a steal at ~Php 109 for a small bucket (around 8-10 pieces). You can also go unli-tempura for only Php 199.

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All this for less than Php 400!

For our drinks, we had what everyone else seemed to be having: a huge bowl of what they call Chamba Bowl (Php 85) from Surfries!!. I forgot to take a photo but no kidding, it's a huge bowl of some flavored iced tea concoction that's meant to be shared with someone (or everyone) in your table.

I went crazy over dessert: liquid nitrogen ice cream (Php 150 a cup) from The Seventh Element. Well, of course the ice cream isn't liquid nitrogen per se but a liquid ice cream mix blast-frozen with liquid nitrogen while under a mixer. We tried their dark chocolate and salted caramel flavors and I couldn't stop saying, "Ang sarap!" (It's delicious!). Delectably rich and creamy, they're also fun to watch while they're being prepared.

They also have good coffee (Php50 - hot; Php 75 - iced), prepared using a french press. Now here's what else Kapitolyo Gastro Park has to offer:

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Tokyo Tempura Unlimited
It's everything tempura here, be it shrimp, squid, cheese, and even--wait--hotdogs! They also have burgers on the menu. Again, unli-shrimp tempura for only Php 199!

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Tolyo's Soup N' Grill
This stall offers grilled bangus (milkfish), pork, wagyu steak, and more. I'm also curious about their Mexican bulalo.

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With a limited and pretty straightforward menu, this stall sells nothing but that much-loved deep-fried crispy pork belly called bagnet, which they also substitute for regular meat in their Bicol Express, binagoongan, kare-kare, and sisig.

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Serving Singaporean cuisine, Wok offers fried noodles, nasi goreng, laksa, and more.

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Brick Plate
The sign says it all: pasta, ribs, chicken, and pizza. Next time I'll try you.

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Clever name. But salted egg and all sorts of twists on our beloved french fries aside, I think their best seller is a drink--their humongous Chamba Bowl.

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It's all yakitori here.

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Fried chicken, chicken wings, chicken poppers, isaw (chicken intestines), chicken skin, and more.

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The Masala Bar
It's Indian cuisine taken to a new direction with pita bread, quesadillas, and wraps. There's also still rice, though.

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El Phante
Proudly declaring that they serve unlimited rice, this stall offers an interesting combination of Thai and Mexican cuisines. Intriguing, though I still can't imagine pad thai with nachos, for instance.

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The Seventh Element
Hands down my favorite. Their ice cream was the highlight of my evening.

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As the name suggests, this stall serves Japanese food in takeout boxes. They have noodles, tempura, donburi, and misono.

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Sweet Nothing
Dessert had me at a crossroads between this stall and the one with Nitrogen. Although the latter prevailed, I'm still wont on trying Sweet Nothing's cotton candy milkshake one time. Yup, this one's all about milkshakes.

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Not sure of the name, though, but this stall seems to be an extension or something of Sweet Nothing. Their waffles are served as a cone, with a couple of variants available.

No surprise, Kapitolyo Gastro Park is most popular on weekends, particularly in the evening. Parking can be a problem, too. But once you get past that hiccup, a variety of good food that's easy on the pocket awaits.

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Kapitolyo Gastro Park is located along 1st Street in Kapitolyo, Pasig City. Open daily from 12noon to 12midnight.

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