Words by Kevin Choa / Photos by Hannah Beltran / Graphics and GIFs by Jillian Bueno
Meet The Wood Park in downtown Marikina, a park that not only serves up delicious and unique dishes, but also the greatest gigs and the smoothest sounds in the city. Hoping to break the norms of the traditional food park, this wooden masterpiece adds in a concert stage, a karaoke room, and even a fashion bazaar featuring various local brands and designers!
Here are 10 of our favorite food finds in The Wood Park, plus some other stalls opening soon to look out for!
Our 10 Favorite Food Finds in Marikina’s The Wood Park
10. Mizala Kebab and Shawarma
Clockwise from left: Kebab with Rice (P130), Shawarma Rice (P110), Shawarma Pita (P100)
This unassuming stall located near the back of the park serves up big flavors at affordable prices. What it lacks in size, it makes up for in flavor. The Shawarma Rice is the better deal here, with a balanced mix of hearty rice, tasty sauce, and just the right amount of savory meat for every bite. For those who want a bit more, try the shawarma pita, which replaces the rice with a warm tortilla and adds in tomatoes and onions.
9. Chef Bong
Spicy Buttered Chicken (P169) and Bourbon Chicken Lollipop (P149)
Buttered Chicken and Chicken Lollipops sound like standard party fare, but Chef Bong tries to change that notion by adding in a flavorful kick. The flavors he hoped to add are there in both dishes, but if only there were more spice in the buttered chicken and a bit more meat in the lollipops, these birds would’ve ranked higher on this list.
8. Rustic Box Steakhouse
T-Bone Premium (P229)
As far as steaks go, this is worth every penny for its size. With that price, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better one. That being said, this steak is great for garlic lovers as every single element of this dish has a garlicky flavor without being any bit overpowering. Personally, I’d recommend the steak cooked medium, but feel free to order it the way you enjoy it. The flavor always makes up for it in the end.
7. The Milkshake Project
From left to right: Oreo milkshake , Strawberry milkshake, and Nutella milkshake (P89 for 12 oz., P149 for 16 oz.)
Milkshake Project? More like milkshake heaven. With the cutesy designs, overflowing toppings, and overall sweetness; these shakes are short, sweet, and satisfying all at once. Even with so many more souped-up varieties of milkshakes available in Manila, there’s not much that can compete with a shake that gives fans the creamy sweet goodness they crave at a fraction of the cost and less of the hassle of going through all the fancy flavors.
6. Wings & Flings
Maple Tabasco and Garlic Parmesan Wings (P190 for 1/2 pound, P370 for 1 pound) with Salted Egg Fries
Bye-bye, Buffalo; hello, Tabasco. The Maple Tabasco wings offer as much sweet as they do heat, and with a punch of salt to boot. The Garlic Parmesan wings, meanwhile, add a savory bite with just the right amount of garlicky goodness. Don’t forget the Salted Egg Fries, as they offer another dimension to what has been an exploding trend of salted egg-flavored food. Don’t forget to pair all three items with a drink to avoid falling into a food coma!
5. BTB – Sausages and Eggs
Pancake Story: 3 pancakes, 2 sunny-side up eggs, and your choice of sausage (P150)
Who says you shouldn’t have breakfast at dinner? From the fluffy pancakes to the luscious eggs to the heavenly bites of sausage, there’s almost nothing not to love. These are three comfort foods that will please even the pickiest of eaters at just the fraction of the price of someone making this dish at home. Few can stack up to this truly comforting plate.
4. La Pareja
Bed of Pares (P199)
Consider this sandwich the Pinoy version of a cheese steak. With a hefty serving of tender beef pares and heaps of creamy cheese all tucked into a soft roll, this sandwich is both the perfect comfort food to either drown yourself in all day or to sleep on all night. This is truly a bed of paradise – ummm, pares.
3. Toyo Karaage
Karaage (P499 for 1 box, P159 for 300 grams, P129 for 200 grams)
There’s something magical about Japanese chicken karaage that sets it apart from other variations of fried chicken. In its perfect form, it has that crisp and golden brown skin, juicy and tender meat, and that zesty flavor from the spice marinade used to make it. For all the talk about buttermilk, lard, and beer; Toyo’s variety stands out for balancing the flavor, tenderness, and crunch – something a lot of other restaurants lack in their versions.
Moringa Seafood Pasta (P185) and Five Cheese Pizza (P239)
I’d like to think the people behind Papparoni are geniuses. Their Five Cheese Pizza has everything a lot of people look forward to in a four or five-cheese pizza: a crunchy thin crust, a generous serving of cheese, and less grease that leaves them wanting for more. The same eggheads behind the kitchen also did the same magic on the pasta, turning moringa (malunggay) leaves into a light pesto sauce that adds just enough flavor to tie the seafood and the al dente pasta together.
1. Burger Brewster
Who can say no to this Hallucinator? (P265)
Adobo in a burger? Why not? Brewster’s version uses just enough sauce and the luscious texture of egg yolks to replace mayonnaise. The patty might not be exceptional, but the combination of that, the sauce, and all the toppings give it a flavor and texture that puts even the biggest fast food burgers to sleep. The Hallucinator, meanwhile, lives up to its name thanks to its massive size and more powerful punch of flavor. The combination of the same beef patty it uses for its burgers, three sauces, and massive slices of bacon can happily place even the hungriest diners in a food coma. These are truly worth the number 1 spot on this list.
Hungry for more? Here are two more stalls opening soon:
Vigan Longganisa Empanadas with Honey Mustard Sauce, because why not?
Bagnet with Ilokano Pinakbet and Mango Salsa
Combining his Ilokano heritage and the fusion techniques chef-owner Sam learned in culinary school, Manganen is shaping up to provide a major shake-up to Wood Park’s already-expansive lineup of stalls. The Bagnet has a distinct crispy skin and is a nice touch paired with the sweet salsa and the salty pinakbet. The empanada, meanwhile, has a distinctive crunch and savory bite and is great with the sweetness of the honey mustard.
Asan si Diwa at Ila?
Spicy Garlic Shrimp and Corn with Dahican Cooler
Beef Hinalang Noodle Soup
Inspired by their travels around the Philippines and in some destinations around the world, Asan si Diwa at Ila is the namesake couple’s outlet for their creative take on the different dishes they have tried along the way. Their best-seller, spicy garlic shrimp and corn offers a flavorful kick and is a great contrast with the Dahican cooler. The Beef Hinalang, meanwhile, is their take on a soup from General Santos City. Hinalang, meaning “maanghang” or “spicy”, is a spicy, clear soup with nothing but beef cubes. This re-invention, though, contains noodles, beef sukiyaki, and shiitake mushrooms; definitely something to try and look forward to.
At the end of the day, though, the most important part of any food park is you – not only as a customer, but also as a valuable part of the team. Speaking of which, Wood Park still has plenty of space for interested tenants! Just pitch your idea to the contact details below, and the team will be glad to have you on board.
Do you agree with this list? What other stalls or food items should’ve been ranked higher or lower? Try it out for yourself and tell us in the comments!
Here’s a handy map below to help you find every place mentioned on this list:
The Wood Park
E. Santos Street corner J. Molina, Concepcion Uno, Marikina (across Concepcion Elementary School)
4PM to 12 midnight, closed on Tuesdays
0956 504 7223