The Philippine food scene may be entering a new era with the industry now looking at the food truck craze that will be starting very soon.
Some may think it is an old concept. Mobile food shacks already prowl the streets on three wheels courtesy of modified motorcycles, or the famous “Jolli-jeeps” ironically situated in permanent locations along the Metro Manila business districts.
- Jolli Jeep Image source: http://brailledskin.blogspot.com/2011/02/jolly-jeep.html
- Jolli Tricycle Image source: http://pinaybook.blogspot.com/2011/12/what-is-jolly-jeep-in-makati-goto-at.html
None, however, seem to embody the whole idea of a mobile cooking station that dishes out more quality food wares with a more personal touch, nor do you find it at a size and scale as those food trucks famous along the streets of New York, USA.
Image source: http://joonbug.com/newyork/firstcourse/Black-Market-Food-Trucks/pgPOizCtCJc
This is where it becomes different for the group that has may be the catalyst for the food truck revolution in Manila: Shawarma Bros.
Shawarma Bros is an idea of a circle of friends who have decided to bring their passion for the Persian kind into a mobile package, with their own unique twist for the Philippine market. Their first foray into the Manila food scene was entering their one-of a kind food truck into the recently concluded 2012 Manila Auto Salon with this teaser pic that circulated around some groups in Facebook:
Quite inviting for the male species, which is the market of the Manila Auto Salon.
That Saturday of the show, this was how the Shawarma Bros Food Truck was displayed, fully functional with all gas ranges firing, tooting its bells and whistles to attract quite a consistent line of hungry showgoers. (Sorry male readers. The female truck washers aren’t here anymore).
Quite humorously, aside from the Autoindustriya.Com Gran Turismo 5 racing tournament, Shawarma Bros food truck was the only display that all male (and some female) show-goers were crowding over where there were no female models wearing articles of clothing comparable to the size of paper napkins. It seems that having the fully functional food truck inside the event became quite an advantage. So much demand was for the shawarma that they were practically wiped out of inventory when evening comes.
It was not only that, it was because the food was quite a crowd pleaser as well. Interestingly, though, it does not have the vertical spit that shawarma is normally associated with.
Below is a sample of their Beef Shawarma Rice (PHP 150.00) In it is some generous portions of beef, biryani rice, cucumber, tomatoes, and your choice of garlic yogurt sauce, hot sauce, or the popular cheese sauce. there is also Chicken Shawarma Rice (PHP 150.00) and Lamb Chop Shawarma Rice (PHP 170.00). As part of their policy, the containers used are biodegradable.
Currently, no shawarma wraps are on their menu, although Shawarma Bros have mentioned that this is in the works.
If taken as the meat alone, it can come out quite salty. But once combined with the rice, the saltiness seems to mellow down. Taken with the cheese sauce, however, this becomes quite addicting. It may be of different cooking style than the regular shawarma such as those of Food Channel or the authentic Turkish Doner of Jacob’s Shawarma. It shows that shawarma is also something evolving depending on the culture it is set, much like the LebaneseTaagen Shawarma in Mana-Ish and More.
The price for the beef and chicken are on the high side, but people seem to still take in second helpings. The lamb is quite soft and does not have the gamey taste that lamb is normally associated with.
What makes Shawarma Bros a different food truck experience than what is currently in the Philippine market is that the whole setup is a kitchen in itself, complete with refrigeration, washing, cooking, and serving. The meat strips are cooked only on the spot, so freshness for the meat is guaranteed.
And with a great looking, originally designed truck, Shawarma Bros bagged Best Light Commercial Truck award in the 2012 Manila Auto Salon.
Looks like the food truck scene is off to a roaring start with Shawarma Bros. Their style might actually become the pattern for all other food trucks to follow in the new foodie scene that it’s sizzling into. Here’s to the promising Philippine food truck industry.
To know more about Shawarma Bros and where they will be cooking next, visit their Shawarma Bros Facebook Page.
Disclosure: One of the owners of Shawarma Bros is related to En Route. En Route was a part of the taste tests when the recipes were being formalized.
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