Food

Grub Hub: Your Guide to this Overloaded Food Park

If the stall dedicated to sisig and bagnet won't make you dizzy, then the rest of this Instagram-ready food park will.
IMAGE Pia Babao Guballa
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A freshly baked cookie big as a face then covered in ice cream. A plastic cup stuffed with skewers of isaw, charred and crunchy on the outside, meaty on the inside. Really rich, thick milkshakes in flavors like cookie butter, salted caramel, and chocolate. Bacon reinvented in the most bizarre dishes. Every single permutation of fried chicken—wings, tenders, you name it. 

Today, food parks are sprouting like mushrooms all over the Metro. Only a few years back, one had to drive some distance and only on certain days to be able to enjoy that variety, now, we're so spoiled for choice that we need more than a couple of days to get through each one.

One of the newest and certainly the most creative of these parks is the hip Grub Hub. On the long and often traffic-stricken intersection between Visayas and Congressional Avenues, its trippy apple-green colors stand out against the other structures in the area. The makeshift PVC pipe facade catches attention right away. 

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The property was formerly a branch of Fiesta Island Seafood Hub (FISH), but when Mika Baron Ong, her husband Ron, and her brother Jamo acquired it, they decided to repurpose the materials from the old restaurant. “Practically everything you see here is recycled.” Jamo excitedly shares, gesturing to the details around us. They took old wood from the floors to add accents to the food stalls. Wooden pallets make interesting light fixtures in one area. Old tires are painted bright colors and provide comfy seating in another. Ron, who is in the construction business, lent his expertise to make the most out of the leftover furnishings.

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The food park has four unique dining areas. The Junkyard, aptly named for having the most repurposed adornments, is an open-air section complete with comfy tire seats and art-covered upcycled tables. The Hobbit Hall is a long hallway lined with stalls patterned after J.R.R. Tolkien's Hobbit Holes. The Greenhouse is an enclosed, air-conditioned garden perfect for families who want a little quiet. At the back is the Hippieyard, which is beach-y with its whitewashed wood and colorful knitted lanterns. Temptingly laidback, this is where budding artists can perform against a very hip, giant Godzilla mural.

Every single corner of Grub Hub was designed to be photographed and viral. There are murals on every wall, and even the stalls themselves—designed by Mika—are all wonderfully done, with small but important details that reflect the cuisines available. Even the restrooms weren't exempted from such creativity—doodles of sperm lead to the men’s room, while eggs go for women’s. A common toilet is also available because it's 2017.

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The Must-Tries 

The Grub Hub has 17 stalls, all carefully chosen for the uniqueness of their cuisine or concept. The owners tried to make the food park as diverse as they could, choosing different cuisines, with the stalls, in turn, offering twists on the usual.

We know how dizzying it can be when someone confronts you with so much food, so here's a little something to get you through.

Start with appetizers: Chica's Chicharonia, Yzzy Eats, and Mang Larry's

Look for the hot pink stall with a flirtatious pig beckoning you over. This is Chica’s Chicharonia. The theme is crispy pork: chicharon, bagnet, sisig—all dishes few Filipinos can resist. Their Bagnet Platter with Chicha Flakes makes for a great crunchy start. If you come here for a few drinks, this is the spot you need to go to for some bar chow.


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Chica's

Bacon is a logical next course after crispy pork. At Yzzy Eats, you can something called Bacon Fried Like Chicken. Originally served as an appetizer at Café Terminal in the Congressional area, these salty, crunchy strips are pretty addicting, and it’s easy to demolish a whole serving on your own in minutes.

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Mang Larry's

Mang Larry’s Isaw is exactly as how you remember it in UP Diliman, but without the long lines. Go easy though. There's more to try.

 

The Mains: Brooks, Noble Comida, Miggy Piggy, and St. Mick’s Wing Bar

It's easy to stand out with comfort food. There’s a Grilled Cheese Sandwich Burger from Brooks, a stall dedicated to soulful American staples. This sandwich is as rich as it sounds. It is, in essence, a really juicy burger covered in nacho cheese embraced by two saucer-grilled cheese sandwiches. In life, only a few things satisfy better than a dish that oozes with cheese.

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Noble Comida

For those in the mood for Mexican, Noble Comida has a great selection of flavorful dishes that are based on family recipes. Their Nachos are possibly the best dish to share among friends at the park—a huge serving of chips with beef, lettuce, salsa, and, of course, an insane amount of cheese sauce. They also have an assortment of Pollo de Noble or fried chicken with a twist: Flameado for those who like in-your-face fire, Lima Pollo for advocates of the tangy, and Coco Pollo for those who enjoy an unusual but pleasant flavor of the tropics in their poultry.

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There's something comforting about a tastefully done messy dish. At Miggy Piggy, the Chori Friedwich, with its sweet and juicy chorizo patty smothered in barbecue sauce, is something you should try before leaving. To even things out, a greek salad manages to wedge itself between the two fried pieces of bread. Chubby house fries are served on the side. 


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St. Mick's

Our favorite among the meaty mains would be the wings at St. Mick’s Wing Bar. At P180 for eight, these wings aren’t just a bang for your buck, they’re also some of the best things you’ll have at this food park. The Sriracha Honey and Salted Egg flavors are fast traps. Served with crispy flavorful skin and tender, juicy meat, make this your last stop because it might as well be your only destination. The unsual kropek add-on helps balance the flavors of the chicken.  

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Dessert: Wicked Kitchen, Subzero, and Café Fratello

A final tip: Always leave room for dessert. Even after 20 sticks of isaw or three orders of chicken wings, there's nothing like closing your meal with something sweet.  


Wickedly sinful are the consistently rich and well-done giant cookie desserts at Wicked Kitchen. The Greed is your traditional s'moresdark chocolate hiding under a toasted, gooey marshmallow top, with graham crakers as spoons. The Gluttony, on the other hand, is a freshly baked skillet chocolate chip cookie topped with ice cream and whipped cream. Both such warm, comforting ends to a good meal. 

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On hot days be sure to end your meals at Subzero, where the gelato selection is impressive. They have flavors such as New York Cheesecake, Watermelon Sorbet, Brazo de Mercedes, Black Sesame, and Caramel Cereal. Alternately, be sure to pick up a cold, indulgent fratccino at Café Fratello, where the dessert frappes are made of some of your favorite things: Horlicks, Matcha Green Tea, Oreo Pretzel, Pocky, and Speculoos

 

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As with all food parks, there are hit or miss dishes in the stalls, but there’s definitely enough well-executed comfort food to keep one coming back for more. With student-friendly prices, dining area options, not to mention ample parkingit’s clear that the owners were considerate enough to ensure a fun dining experience for all. At the very least, you’ll never run out of opportunities to snap that perfect food shot for Instagram!

 

Grub Hub is at 47 Visayas Avenue corner Congressional, Tandang Sora, Quezon City; open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. (Monday to Thursday) and 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. (Friday to Saturday) and 11 a.m. to 12 a.m. (Sunday).

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Pia Babao Guballa
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