US-Inspired Food Trucks Come to Asia

Manila is probably the most pro-US city in Asia except for Guam, and whenever something new becomes trendy in the US, you can expect the same idea to be in Manila within months. However, when it comes to food, these Asians have a discerning taste and generally adapt the idea to fit their local culture and taste buds.

Even before food trucks were popular in the US, Manila already had food jeeps which would ply the streets selling food to construction workers, office workers, and anyone walking along the streets. These jeeps however are considered underground businesses operating without a license and therefore not followed the general sanitation and cleanliness standards required of restaurants. They also sold their food at very cheap prices.

This 2012, an LA-inspired food truck came to town bringing with it the upgraded badly needed for street food. Guatruck or Guacamole Truck sells burrito bowls in fancy food trucks that even have room for a few tables for patrons who would like to sit and enjoy eating in an air-conditioned area. Keep in mind that Manila is a tropical country where the heat can sometimes be very oppressive. The success of Guatruck has inspired a large local multinational to come up with a food truck market in one of their commercial parking lots. It will begin operations in 2013 and will be called Cucina Andare or Kitchen-On-The-Go.

The location of the food truck market is in front of one of the city’s top hotel which was recently voted as one of Asia’s top hotels, the Shangri-la. Obviously, all the pre-selected food truck concepts are upscale food businesses with menus that cannot be considered cheap. Some of them have prices that are on par with restaurant fare which means that instead of following the American tradition of affordable and delicious street food, Manila hopes to make their food trucks the new upscale trend for those willing to spend at least five times the cost of what a meal from a food jeep would charge.