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It's a no-brainer: food carts at the mall, in office buildings or at train stations offer a speedy respite from hunger pangs. Offering quick meals on the cheap, food carts serve just about anything–from flavored French fries, dimsum, to the well-loved Pinoy bibingka.
Carts have been in the Philippines since the 1980s, with the earlier carts having wheels, echoing the appearance of a carriage on wheels which could be pushed to one's chosen location. According to Entrepreneur magazine's Philippine edition, Popperoo Popcorn was the very first cart business that entered a local mall in the 1990s. Now, food carts–sans wheels–are a ubiquitous bunch, occupying space near the grocery, train terminals, and even walkways to parking areas in malls. SPOT.ph munched on food from 10 of our favorite "carts." (Never mind if the term is now a misnomer.)
Best-seller: Pork and shrimp siomai (4 pieces for P25)
Food cart appeal: Cheap, tasty dimsum
Probably the best-tasting "food cart siomai," an order comes with four hefty pieces of pork and shrimp siomai, generously topped with chili garlic bits. Rarely soggy, Siomai House's dimsum is steamed just right, and for P25, a real steal. They also serve ice-cold gulaman for a measly P10.
Bestseller: Steamed or fried dumplings (P35) and dumpling meals with rice (P45 to P48, choice of Hainanese, Lemak, or plain rice)
Food cart appeal: Affordable dumpling rice meals
In the age of penny-pinching, office workers and students are equally drawn to Paotsin with their array of dumplings and rice meals. Either steamed or fried, the dumplings are tasty and best dipped in their spicy soy sauce. The rice meals, on the other hand, come with a generous serving of green-colored steamed rice, (which is cooked in pandan leaves, lending the green color to the cooked grains) Hainanese, or Lemak rice. Some Paotsin carts offer their version of Laksa, a spicy noodle soup, that's both filling and hearty at P53.