This Pop-Up's Proof That Boracay Can Be the Next Big Food Destination
How about some coconut ice cream and piri-piri chicken?
(SPOT.ph) Many were pretty bummed out when it was announced that Boracay will be closed for six months. Imagine missing sunbathing by the sea, partying the night away, and just living the beach-bum life. But for many of Boracay's residents, the impact is much greater. "Our priority really was to provide our employees with some income," shares Nowie Potenciano, who owns The Sunny Side Café Group, which includes Boracay eateries like SpiceBird, CocoMama, Poketo, and Fat Rice.
Luckily for Nowie, they've found a temporary space at Hole In The Wall in Century City Mall with the help of some friends—and he's managed to bring with him 40% of his employees, too. At the Best of Boracay pop-up, you can try out some of the island's well-loved food destinations like SpiceBird, CocoMama, Poketo, and Fat Rice until August 15. They've only brought a fraction of their tasty offerings to Manila, but it's enought to make you look forward to Boracay's reopening even more.
Piri Piri Chicken Board (P320/quarter chicken, P545/one-half chicken)
Piri Piri Pork Belly Board (P390)
The sauces are also available in take-home jars for P250.
Piri-piri restaurant SpiceBird is one of Nowie's older concepts, having been open in Boracay for three years. "We wanted to do something grilled in Boracay, but we didn't want to be the usual grill restaurant," shares Nowie. "So we chose to do piri-piri." The platters at SpiceBird are intended to be had after swimming or lounging by the beach, which is enough to get anyone pretty hungry so expect huge servings of chicken or pork belly paired with spiced rice, honey vinegar, salad, vegetable chips, and a milky bread roll. Be sure to grab any of their sauces—the classic Piri Piri sauce has an addicting sweet-spicy-tangy profile.
Cha Ca "La Vong"
Though Fat Rice offers pretty familiar Asian classics like Beef Rendang (P390) and Cereal Salt & Pepper Spare Ribs (P390), a must-try is the Cha Ca "La Vong" (P390), a dish Nowie and his friends had in Hanoi: "We had it 12 years ago and we kept thinking about it since." One bite and it's easy to see why—the blend of herby fresh dill, flaky cod marinated in tangy Greek yogurt, the crunch and spice of peanuts, and chewy noodles is a magical treat your taste buds won't forget any time soon.
The Yakitori Bowl (P320) from Poketo is a meal you should get when you don't want to think too much about what to eat but want something tasty. And boy is it delicious. An order will get you your choice of three yakitori sticks—we recommend the classic chicken yakitori and the boneless chicken wings—plus furikake rice with a delightful crunch from tempura flakes, a savory onsen egg, and the acidity of pickles to round out all the flavors.
Coconut Ice Cream With Mango
You've probably seen this coconut dessert all over your feed—if you haven't, it's sure to make its way onto your own IG. But this tropical treat isn't just eye candy. Though inspired by Thai coconut ice cream, CocoMama's version is significantly creamier, you almost won't believe it's vegan. "We don't use milk or add sugar," says Nowie. "It's all coconut milk." The Coconut Ice Cream With Mango (P140) has all the flavors that'll remind you of the beach: Sweet mango and refreshing coconut ice cream and coconut meat, with sticky rice and pinipig to spice things up.
Hole In The Wall is at 4/F Century City Mall, Kalayaan Avenue, Makati City.
Photos by Hans Fausto