Last weekend, we took a break from homecooking to try one of the food parks in nearby Marikina City. I understand that there are now five food parks there; the one we went to is called Foodtrip located at Sta. Elena Village near J. P. Rizal Avenue.
Understand: Marikina is a foodie city. Even the humble carinderias there serve good food. Naturally, we had expectations. But we were quite unprepared for what we experienced.
Let’s do this in descending order: from the good to the worst of the lot. There is no “best” because not one deserved superlatives.
In the photo above, an order of bagnet Bicol Express with rice. For non-Filipinos, “bagnet” is a specialty in the Ilocos region—boiled pork belly that is deep fried until the rind is puffed and ultra crispy. Similar to lechon kawali, yes, but bagnet is fried twice. Bicol Express is a spicy pork stew from the Bicol region. The two dishes were combined and the result is bagnet Bicol Express.
The bagnet Bicol Express from Oink was good. But at PHP140.00, we felt that the serving could have been larger. As it was, there was too much rice and not enough bagnet Bicol Express.
Overpriced, is that it? Well, overpricing seems to be the norm at Foodtrip Marikina. In fact, we surmised that the price of the rent for each stall must be pretty horrendous for the food sellers to consistently overprice their products.
The pork barbecue (kudos on the unique presentation) from El Viraz Urban Grill was perfectly seasoned. However, the pork slices were much too thin—so thin, in fact, that they could have been served a la yakiniku. But, at PHP160.00, there was enough meat (and veggies interspersed with the meat) and just enough rice to satisfy. And props to the cook who managed not to overcook the meat despite the thinness of the slices.
When Kanin Club opened a while back, it started a trend and a new dimension of pork belly craze. The Crunchy Belly crispy pork belly (PHP130.00) at Foodtrip Marikina was obviously borrowed from the menu of Kanin Club. The difference? The seasoning. Crunchy Belly crispy pork belly was obviously not seasoned before it went into the frying pan. If there were no dipping sauce, the crispy belly would have been so bland you’d think it was meant to entice septuagenarians who are watching their salt consumption.
Cristo Bistro’s beef and mushroom quesadillas… Oh, dear, what can I say? A single tortilla stuffed with ground meat, cheap cheese and canned mushrooms then sliced into four portions. Price? PHP165.00. Seriously, Cristo Bistro? At Felicidad’s on U.P. Maginhawa, there was twice as much quesadillas on the plate, the price was PHP120.00 and the quesadillas were infinitely better.
At this point, we once again murmured amongst ourselves that the price of a stall at Foodtrip Marikina must be truly high.
We now reach the worst experience we had at Foodtrip Marikina.
Ribs. The name of the stall is Ribs.PH.
The price of the plate of ribs: PHP 235.00.
The meat: sinewy as hell. I repeat: SINEWY AS HELL. Even old cows and hogs don’t develop as much sinews in their meat. The only time I encountered meat with that texture was when someone pulled a fast one on us at Mahogany Market in Tagaytay City and gave as carabao meat instead of the cow meat that we ordered.
The SINEWY AS HELL rack of ribs was served with the worst mashed potatoes and gravy we have eaten in our entire lives. SWEET mashed potatoes doused with SWEET gravy. We couldn’t finish it. To push ourselves to finish everything on the plate just to avoid wasting food would have been excruciating torture. Excuse me but we’re not gunning for canonization.
And guess what? That name… Ribs.PH is NOT even a registered domain.
I checked because I was looking for the website to lodge my complaint about the bad quality of the food. So what are the owners of the ribs.ph stall at Foodtrip Marikina thinking? That it’s cool to add .ph when they obviously don’t even understand the significance of the extension? So misleading.
Our Foodtrip Marikina experience was so unsatisfactory that we skipped coffee and dessert altogether. We left and visited a restaurant that we had passed by so many times but hadn’t found the chance to try. It’s called Papa Kim’s Korean Bakery & Coffee along Sumulong Highway in Antipolo.
There was so much good-looking bread, cakes, pastries and desserts at Papa Kim’s that we couldn’t decide what to order. Speedy wanted to try the shaved ice with mangoes but Alex preferred the sweet breads. Obviously, we couldn’t order everything. After all, a human has only one digestive system.
So, a compromise was reached. We’d try the sweet breads, bring them home and enjoy them with coffee. The blueberry bread was terrific! We’re definitely going back to Papa Kim’s.
And we’re definitely NEVER going back to Foodtrip Marikina.