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Philippine Car Wash Sells Food For Customers While They Wait

Food at Merkanto is served as customers get their cars washed.

Food at Merkanto is served as customers get their cars washed.

A car wash in the Teaching Village of Manila, in the Philippines, has a unique offering for customers. Merkanto was originally a car wash, but the owners decided to open a restaurant on the property where they had some extra space. The restaurant is now listed as a top “food park” in the area. Food parks are like outdoor food courts and were introduced to the country just last year. Since then, several have popped up in interesting paces.

Business World reports that the restaurant, Merkanto, serves food from a handful of countries. There are chicken skewers in the Korean stall, pork belly from Brazil and pho from Vietnam. It’s a simple operation, so while the food is getting great reviews, it’s served on paper plates with cutlery you can toss after eating. It makes for a casual atmosphere frequented by young professionals and parents.

“Our price points in Merkanto, compared to other food parks, is a bit higher,” the co-owner Paolo Vergara said. “The food [is of] better quality. If you compare the food here [with that of] other food parks, it’s not like, burgers. It’s unique street food, with restaurant quality.”

Philippine Primer, a guide for expatriates in the country, lists Merkanto as the top food park in the area. Food parks are becoming popular there because they’re open during the day. The site describes Merkanto as an easier way to travel the world of cushiness: “If you’re in for a food trip around the world without needing a passport, this is the place for you.”

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