BirdBox’s New Asian-Flavored Wings Are Worth the QC Drive-By

Their takeout is best served hot in a parked car.

BirdBox QC
PHOTO BY Dan Rivera

BirdBox
2/F Techno Plaza II, Eastwood City, Quezon City
09178168334
Open daily from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

(SPOT.ph) In the middle of a pandemic, the closest you can get to a convenient, comfy, and safe dine-in experience is eating your still-hot takeout in the car. It hasn’t been easy—but when you already know about BirdBox’s takeout concept from their BGC branch, then you know that it adds an enjoyable aspect to eating out. Now that they’ve added new items to their menu and opened a new branch in Eastwood, you can expect a more convenient and flavorful (and a quite literal) food trip ahead of you.

BirdBox Eastwood Techno Plaza
You can't miss the bright-red sign above their counter at Eastwood's Techno Plaza.
PHOTO BY Dan Rivera
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BirdBox Eastwood Techno Plaza
PHOTO BY Dan Rivera
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BirdBox, which is owned by college-friends-turned-partners, Steven Chen, Nathaniel Benedicto, and Nina Capistrano, started out as a “hole-in-the-wall” in BGC. Benedicto recalls, “We just opened up in a little space under the stairs of a building. We actually had to build the kitchen from scratch.” But it’s something that made them stand out. Capistrano says, “You’ll see that in BGC, we’re along the street, underneath a staircase with a window, which definitely worked to our advantage when we were opening up because we felt that that gave us a sense of novelty. And it fit the whole idea of the brand being kind of an ‘immobile food truck.’”

While it’s far from being a food truck, we did the next best thing and drove the new Toyota Corolla Altis Hybrid to get some takeout from BirdBox’s Eastwood branch. The sleek sedan smoothly and quietly drove through the streets of Quezon City. The light feel of the leather-covered steering wheel and the car’s responsiveness make it a great companion for the traffic-ridden roads of Manila. It automatically runs on “EV Mode” at low speeds, so the fuel-efficient engine saves you from frequent trips to the gas station.

Toyota Altis Hybrid
We drove to Bird Box's Eastwood location in the new Toyota Corolla Altis Hybrid.
PHOTO BY Dan Rivera
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When you’re finally out of a traffic jam, you can cruise up to 70kph on the electric motors. That means you can save on gas even when you’re on the expressway. The advanced Toyota Safety Sense is also perfect for new drivers on the busy streets of Manila, with features like automatic high beam, pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, lane departure alert, and lane tracing assist. The ride is made all the more enjoyable with the 7-inch built-in touchscreen "infotainment" system.

The car's spacious interiors made it easy to enjoy BirdBox’s new additions to their menu. Loyal customers might already have a favorite flavor from the original sauces used for their tender, boneless fried-chicken, which include the Japanese Kare and Tebasaki and the spicy Korean Yangnyeom. The new flavors again take their cues from Asian palates: the Chinese Orange sauce made with actual orange extract, the Filipino-inspired Patis, and the crowd-favorite Bokonomiyaki.

You’ll be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t immediately fall in love with the Bokonomiyaki, which is, of course, inspired by the okonomiyaki, or the Japanese pancake. The Bokonomiyaki Signature Set (P229) already comes with Tebasaki Sauce, Onsen Egg, and rice. The tebasaki sauce’s sweet-salty flavor will remind you of the distinctive, lip-smacking flavors of the okonomiyaki glaze, especially when complemented by the richness of the mayonnaise and umami from the bonito flakes.

BirdBox Bokonomiyaki
The Bokonomiyaki has a sweet-salty tebasaki sauce that'll remind you of okonomiyaki glaze.
PHOTO BY Dan Rivera
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“People who like Bokonomiyaki don’t order anything else. When they come back, they just order that,” Benedicto shares. “The idea for that dish specifically was really just to test out this mishmash of ingredients to quite literally mimic an okonomiyaki. When we were doing our R&D for it, the purpose behind it was really just very playful. We just wanted to play with the food and then it ended up resonating well and being received well by the market so we kept it,” Capistrano reveals.

The Orange Signature Set (P209) that comes with Japanese dry seasoning or furikake and fries was also a best-seller upon its launch. It’s no surprise why—you can taste the zest of the orange extract without it being too tangy. It’s a different sweet-and-salty experience that elevates your classic fries.

BirdBox Orange Signature Set
Digging through the fries in the Orange Signature Set is half the fun!
PHOTO BY Dan Rivera
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The Patis Signature Set (P189) shouldn’t be missed, either. With a little bit of spice from the shichimi or Japanese chili powder and the richness of the onsen egg, the savory and somewhat briny flavor of the sauce hits just the right spot as it seeps into the juicy fried chicken.

BirdBox Patis Signature Set
Spicy-food fans will like the Patis Signature Set's sprinkling of Japanese chili powder. 
PHOTO BY Dan Rivera

BirdBox’s compact and budget-friendly menu doesn’t take away from its quality, especially since they know their customers and their needs. “As with any BirdBox branch, our goal is really to provide consistent food, consistent quality. Same with BGC, we wanted Eastwood to offer something that’s quick, cheap, but still of quality in terms of food,” says Benedicto.

Now that they’ve gotten their boneless fried chicken in a box down pat, BirdBox has also added Chicken Wings (P249) to their menu. Each box comes with a generous serving of eight pieces and it’s available in Yangnyeom, Tebasaki, and Patis flavors. The sauces are flavorful but not overpowering and you’ll find yourself reaching for more.

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BirdBox Chicken wings
Purist? Go for the straightforward chicken wings.
PHOTO BY Dan Rivera

“I think a big part of the Filipino market who love chicken are actually very used to chicken wings. A lot of people really love it and they were asking if they could have our sauces with wings,” Benedicto shares.

BirdBox has kept its customer base’s needs and convenience in mind ever since its conception. “When we were starting out, we received a lot of inquiries asking about whether or not we can open in Pasig, Ortigas, and Eastwood. What we found that was common was that these were all heavily oriented as office spaces or for office-goers. That was really all there was to it, which coincided with our greater goal of making BirdBox chicken more available to these people,” says Capistrano. “One common thing between our BGC location and Eastwood is this idea that it’s kind of this small city within itself wherein you have the joining of commercial spaces and residential spaces.”

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BirdBox Takeout
The Altis has plenty of room for your takeout, which is perfect because you probably won't be able to wait till you get home to dig in!
PHOTO BY Dan Rivera
BirdBox Takeout
PHOTO BY Dan Rivera

Aside from their Eastwood branch, they’ve also since opened a cloud kitchen set-up in San Juan to cater to those who live in the area. Now, all their branches are available on GrabFood, Foodpanda, and pick-up via other couriers like Lalamove or MrSpeedy. You can even make a day of it and pick up your takeout food yourself and enjoy it in your car, if you’d like.

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It’s been tricky to adapt to the ever-changing rules of the pandemic, but with customers and their employees in mind, the takeout concept became a strong leverage for BirdBox. “A lot of the adjustments that we had to do was to expand our reach as far as delivery was concerned, hence our investing in more of these cloud-kitchen types of locations,” explains Capistrano. “We’ve also received enthusiastic inquiries from our customers asking us to open in Alabang. So, who knows? Hopefully, that’s something that we can achieve within the next year or so.”

With their new flavors and wings on the menu, it probably won’t be long till you drive out to yet another BirdBox branch for some takeout.

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