Weekend at Mandala Park
October 1, 2015
Rain was pouring but the crowds kept coming last Saturday, opening day of the trendiest and easily the most popular weekend market in the Metro today—the Mandala Park, in what used to be Liberty Park along Shaw in Mandaluyong.
White canvas tents, erected very close to each other, kept everyone dry, including half a dozen toddlers who were swaying, thumping, and waving to the beat of a 12-man country rock band led by Basti Artadi.
Hundreds of low-watt light bulbs, viewed through a blue misty haze, gave Mandala a dreamlike ambience, which made the well-dressed crowd look like an army of supermodels attending a Mick Jagger concert. No Woodstock grunge there, that’s for sure.
WELLNESS IS KEY
Following the master plan of JJ Yulo, the opening night of Mandala Park was a sneak preview of the most innovative pop-up restaurants offering vegan, organic, natural, and really delicious food and drinks.
Standouts were the preservative-free ice cream from Fog City Creamery; cold-pressed juices from Fruit Magic; cookies made on the spot by Scout’s Honor, and bottled ginger ale freshly brewed by Stanford and Shaw. Keeping up with the motif, Orich offered nonalcoholic, homegrown beverages.
Yulo, founder of Pinoy Eats World, is always on the lookout for food entrepreneurs who are passionate about their products and are enthusiastic to show them off, thereby widening the market for healthy options.
The Mandala Park Weekend Market, which opens at 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, was literally mobbed by enthusiastic diners who wipe out the day’s supply of perfectly smoked, juicy ribs and barbecue items grilled by Ribs Manila, hearty ramen from Iroha; personalized bibimbap from IAmKim; burgers from The Burger Project, and spiced up Mexican dishes from the B&T Mexican Kitchen. An unusual superfood was dried and baked kale in several flavors, matched perfectly with soy-based drinks in several variants: melon, chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry.
As the band played on, our media group tried Edgy Veggy’s soft tacos and crunchy gyoza. Long lines were forming in front of the guy preparing them, telling one and all that the dishes must be good. Well, they were, and cheap, too. The Tacos (P50) were fully stuffed with tomatoes, onions, beans, shredded lettuce, cheese, and fresh mushroom sisig. Several sauces were available for squirting on the tacos: Mexican chili, salsa verde, and sour cream.
Edgy Veggy’s gyoza was properly steamed, then fried for a crisp bottom crust. At P50 for three pieces, they were among the hottest bargains in the food haven. The crowd could not get enough of them.
Mandala Park’s weekend events are integral to the overall concept of an integrated in-city living and wellness district. Its planners seek to set a new standard where people will become more conscious of what they consume as well as the activities they participate in, making sure that they are not negatively impacting the environment around them.
Going to Mandala Park this weekend? Forget about thrown-together baggy pants and loose t-shirts. Dress as though you’re a rock concert guest or performer. Dress up, not down. And get ready to have a real good time.