January 30, 2019 – Vinz Lamorena
alike.com.ph—It’s funny how at just the other end of Lane P’s unending queue for bobba remains BGC’s newest and best-kept secret: BirdBox’s creamy Thai Milk Tea and refreshing Calamansi Wintermelon Fruit Tea—probably the most affordable tea options in the area at just P50 each.
Yes, the price is unreal for drinks that pack a punch. But that’s not all this take-out stall has to offer. In fact, BirdBox wants to be known for the Asian flavors they have on the menu. Their food’s novelty lies in the countless combinations customers can come up with—all spiced up by the familiar tastes of Korean and Japanese cuisine that we love.
“There seems to be a limited options [in our menu], but we wanted to make sure that you can try out different flavors and combinations. You can come back everyday and come out with a different kind of meal,” BirdBox brand manager Nina Capistrano told alike.
With BirdBox around, BGC folks are treated to generous servings of juicy boneless chicken bites without the hefty price tag and long wait. Getting a loaded, non-fast food meal under P200 in the area used to be plain wishful thinking, but now, one can look forward to lunches that only cost as low as P149.
They make you build your own fried-chicken boxes. The first step requires you to choose between rice and fries, and then it’s an option between three Hero Sauces—the bestselling gochujang-based Yangnyeom, Tebasaki, and Karē. BirdBox also lets you play with additional spice and textures, offering flavor enhancers like shichimi and furikake, and sides like kimchi (P10), pickled cabbage, and Onsen egg (P20).
BirdBox discovered that a lot of people are surprisingly into spicier options, so they turn to shichimi or Japanese chili powder, for that added kick. For saltier flavors, Furikake would be your best bet. In every meal, customers are given three complimentary toppings—they can choose to experiment with three different toppings, or have three servings of the same thing.
“We saw the need to add to the variety [of the food available in the area] and introduce something that was a bit different. So when it came to the food, we really wanted something that was comfortable, something familiar, but a cut above the rest,” Nina said.
Just think about it: Who wouldn’t like the combination of fries, crunchy chicken poppers doused in yangnyeom sauce, and kimchi? Called the Yangnyeom Signature Set (P179), BirdBox offers your next Korean quick-fix.
Its two other signature sets are Japanese-inspired. The recommended Tebasaki mix (P169) has sweet-and-salty chicken bits and a soft-boiled egg topped generously with furikake—a mixture of chopped seaweed, sesame seeds, and flavored salts—resting on top of pipping hot fluffy rice. Other than the battling taste of sweet and savory, Tebasaki has fresh and bold notes of ginger and garlic.
This mirin-based sauce resides on the lighter side of the palate, so the addition of an Onsen egg blends in a richer texture to your rice box meal. For a different kind of crunch, ask them to toss in some pickled cabbage into the mix!
“We wanted to be a little different even with the way we serve our eggs. So instead of going for the typical sunny side up or scrambled eggs, or even the ramen tamago, we decided to include soft-boiled eggs on the menu because it adds a lot of body to your food. It’s something you can change up as well—you can choose to have egg today and decide not to tomorrow,” Nina shared.
The Karē sauce is BirdBox’s take on the Japanese curry rice. We find this flavor’s inclusion on the menu quite a smart move, a nod to the fact that curry rice remains as one of Tokyo’s most popular take-away meals. It is rich and savory—a perfect pairing with rice. Sprinkle some shichimi for that sure fiery zing in your meal.
“All of our recipes were developed by our co-owner and head chef, Steven Chen. He conceptualized the food, drinks, and how well everything would pair with the sauces. Our team, whenever we think of comfort food, it’s instantly Asian cuisine. So that was definitely something we wanted to play with and hopefully bring out in our dishes,” Nina shared.
If you’re laying low on carbs, you can get BirdBox’s chicken poppers in ala carte orders (P299), too. BirdBox has a strict fried-to-order policy when it comes to the chicken they serve, and that’s how you know you’ll be getting fresh, flavorful, and crunchy bites from this trusty take-out place every time. The batter is light and addictive, featuring hints of Taiwanese spices.
But the food isn’t the only thing people rave about. Its regular customers have been flaunting BirdBox’s traditional Chinese boxes online. People also take time to capture pictures of their “Bok Bok Baby” neon sign in their phone’s camera roll.
BirdBox likes to think of itself as an immobile food truck, a space where the industrial look meets pop art—arguably the signature look of Asia’s contemporary metro hangouts. The Asian fried-chicken stall reminds us of the various storefronts we see all over Hong Kong’s Central and Mong Kok districts, frequented by local millennials and tourists alike. The monotony of its cement facade is broken by its white tiles, mustard yellow countertop, navy window frames, and magenta roof.
The team behind this modernist food concept is detail- and design-oriented. We see it on their take-out packaging, storefront and menu designs, and even the graphics they post on social media.
“We wanted our branding to speak for itself. We really tried to elevate it in a way that people would want to engage and interact with it. That’s why we invested heavily on dressing up our storefront and in creating our Chinese take-out boxes,” Nina revealed.
“The boxes does its own marketing. We had it in traditional dimensions, something you don’t get to see a lot these days. It’s the kind that people will want to take photos of and post on Instagram. It wasn’t just an ordinary box to begin with, but I think adding that pink string was the real gamechanger,” she added.
BirdBox encourages trial. They want people to experiment to find their own favorite combinations. It’s a current favorite during working hours, but the stall is looking to be your next after-beer hangout, too. Its menu is also seen to expand soon, getting inspiration from citrusy Asian dishes and Taiwanese street food staples.
One thing’s for sure: Whatever the flavor, whatever the combination—your take-out is sure to be a bite above the rest.
Find BirdBox at Lane P cor. 9th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig.
Photos by Vinz Lamorena
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