Updated September 2016
There’s a new food park in the neighborhood! Merkanto, located inside 38 Autocare Car wash in UP Village, serves international street fare. I love sampling street food and eating in hawker centers when I travel to other countries. Street food is really big in other countries and it looks like the trend is catching on in the Philippines. Though there are a lot of restaurants and food parks already in the Maginhawa area, I have to say the concepts here are pretty unique. The dishes are affordable, and so far from what we’ve tried, everything tastes delicious.
Opened in April 2016, Merkanto currently has 6 food cart-type stalls serving a few street eats from Korea, Vietnam, Morocco, Indonesia, Brazil and India plus one beverage stall specializing in craft beer from the Philippines. It’s fairly new, so it doesn’t get as crowded as some of the other food parks even during weekends. However, I’m sure once word gets around, people will start to flock here as well. Below are some sample dishes per stall and the price range so you can get an idea of the offerings.
PHILIPPINES (CRAFT BEER)
Merkanto now serves local craft beer aside from the usual San Mig beers! As of September 2016, their line-up includes some choice beers distributed by PT Corp. San Mig Light, San Miguel Pale and Red Horse cost P50 per bottle, while craft beer ranges from P150-P180/bottle. They have three beers on tap (Pivo Praha Weizen, Pearl of the Orient and Midnight Blur) for P180/glass.
- Pearl of the Orient Filipino Pale Ale (Great Islands Craft Brewery)
- Pivo Praha
- Summer Sessions (Craftpoint)
- Kalinga Kolsch (Crazy Carabao Brewing Co.)
- Midnight Blur (Nipa Brew)
- Indio Pale Ale & Signal No. 1 Stout (Katipunan Craft)
- Dakkochi (Korean Chicken Skewers) – P60
- Maekjoek (Korean Pork Skewers) – P60
- Korean Pancake Pizza – P130
- Kimchijeon (Korean pancake) – P100
- Dakgangjeong (Korean Fried Chicken) – P160
- Tteokpokki (Korean Rice Cake Stew) – P170
- Pho Bo Ko (Braised Beef Pho) – P160
- Mi Xiao Mem (Vietnamese Stir Fried Noodles) – 145
- Che Bau Ma (Vietnamese Halo-Halo) – P85
- Nasi Goreng – P140
- Chicken Satay Skewer – P50
- Fish Satay Skewer – P50
- USDA Beef finger satay – P100
- Beef Kefta Briouat (ground beef triangles with Baba Ghanoush eggplant) – P80
- 3-pc Maakouda (potato fritters) – P60
- Kebab (fish/kefta/charmoula chicken) – P50
- Grilled Pita Taco (beef kefta/charmoula chicken) – P130
- Chicken Tagine (w/ couscous, raisins, olives, chickpeas and lemons) – P180
- Acaraje (Fried Bean Balls) – P50
- Coxinha (Chicken and cheese croquette) – P50
- Churasco Skewers (chicken/fish/pork belly) – P50
- Churasco Rice box (chicken/fish/pork belly) – P140
- USDA Beef rib finger (skewer) – P100, Rice box – 180
- Paratha (flat bread) – Mushroom & Cheese / Chicken – P80
- Roti Paratha (flaky pancake) – P60
- Samosa 3-pc (fried triangles w/potatoes and peas) – P100
- Tikka rollup (chicken pita wrap) – P100
As you can see the dishes here are all interesting and unique. When you order, each stall will give you a chit which you have to pay in the cashier’s stall. They also sell beverages like soda, bottled water, and beer. San Mig and Red Horse cost P50 per bottle while local craft beer starts at P140.
We’ve tried food from all the stalls here from various visits including Paratha from India, Beef Kefta Briouat, Pita Tacos and Chicken Tagine from Morocco, Nasi Goreng & Chicken Satay from Indonesia; Pork/Chicken/Beef Rib Churasco Skewers from Brazil, noodles and Bahn mi from Vietnam; and skewers from Korea. Everything is really good. I highly recommend the Nasi Goreng and Chicken Satay from the Indonesian stall and the Chicken and Beef Churassco Skewer topped with Chimichurri sauce (get the rice box for a full meal) from Brazil.
There’s a lot of thought put into the design of the space, with well-designed stalls and Instagram-worthy details like the bicycle sink and pipe tree/light fixture. The dining space is inside a covered area at the back of the car wash, so you have a nice place to grab a bite to eat while getting your vehicles washed. The place is also bike-friendly with proper bike parking. I foresee we will be having our bikes washed more often.
It’s nice to know I don’t have to travel far to get a taste of good street food. Everything is already in the neighborhood!
Merkanto International Street Food Fair is located at #38 Mayaman St. corner Mahinhin Street, UP Village, Quezon City, Philippines. Restaurant hours: Tue-Sat: 5pm-12mn, Sun: 3pm-10pm. Closed on Mondays. For inquiries & reservations contact: Merkantoph