In the Philippines, Food Parks are concepts born out of an ever-growing demand for a unique food experience… “Instagram-able” food experience, to be exact. Its popularity surged in 2016 according to a global market research firm Euromonitor International in a 2017 report on “Street Stalls/Kiosks in the Philippines”. They usually cater to the growing number of workers in the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry or to some of the prominent schools and universities in Metro Manila.
Related post: 6 Interesting Food Parks in Quezon City
In recent years, along with the popularity of social media influencers, many people are traveling the world in search of new cuisines. Some of these food places has become an instant tourist destination for many: the popular street foods of Japan, Taiwan, and Korea… the floating food markets of Thailand and Vietnam… the hawker centers in Singapore and Hongkong, among others. Indeed, these food park phenomena become in itself a global culinary revolution where each place still embodies their culture and culinary traditions.
In Qatar, we can find a very limited place where traditional food is sold and made available on a year-long basis (if not during food festivals only). One of these places is the Souq Waqif where traditional Arabic restaurants and cafes can be found.
But while embracing modernity, and with the popularity of Western concepts and coffee culture, a lot of the new burger joints, speciality coffee shops, and food trucks came together in a common place where their popular games are played – the local football club stadiums. And in the last few years, in high anticipation of the country’s upcoming World Cup hosting in 2022, some of them had already created a food park that has become a gathering place for food and sports enthusiast alike.
These food parks are not the seasonal type… they are permanent and are a good place to hangout whatever the season is!
Destination Box, which is also popularly known as the Night Market, is probably one of the biggest food parks in Qatar. It sits on the parking lot of Al Duhail Sports Club in Al Daayen Municipality. According to its website, AlDuhail Sports Club (Lakhwiya Football Club) is the most modern club that was recently founded in the State of Qatar. The area is also strategically located close to Qatar University which is a target market for food and coffee lovers.
Another growing place for food trucks, burger joints and coffee shops located near Doha Westbay area. It is one of the largest local stadia in Qatar (prior to the opening of the World Cup venues), which has recently diversified into sports other than football including various athletic disciplines (javelin throwing, long jumps and sprinting).
Al-Sadd Sports Club is another Qatari sports club which has seen a growing number of food trucks and outdoor coffee shops within its perimeter.
It is also known as the National Stadium, which has undergone a major renovation to accommodate a capacity of 40,000 spectators for World Cup in 2022. As one of the official venues of the event, more and more establishments are slowly taking early positions and securing good spots for their businesses.
HOW DO THEY OPERATE DURING SUMMER?
Indeed, these food parks are very ideal during cooler months. But customers can still enjoy these venues during summer, too! As I’ve observed during my visit, the latter part of the night is much bearable compared to the early evenings, so even an outdoor setting is also possible. Those who have indoor/air-conditioned spaces have the advantage to accommodate dine-in customers. But interestingly, in many places especially at the Destination Box, a drive-thru system is happening. Cars are lineup in their favorite shops and staff would hand them the menu and take their orders. Kudos to all the staff who are bearing the 40+ degrees heat at work!
Most of these shops are also available thru online delivery apps. Another option that is more convenient where your food will be delivered right at your door steps!