by SOL VANZI
Images by NOEL PABALATE
Caring for the planet and helping the less fortunate are not primary considerations when deciding where to eat. We, therefore, found it gratifying that our satisfying and very affordable lunch was contributing to make the world a better place while improving the lives of its inhabitants.
We were at the WOK2GO restaurant at the Double Dragon Plaza along Macapagal Avenue for a unique lunch, which had us doing everything but the actual stir-frying. The ambiance is very casual and friendly, not intimidating, with unfinished concrete walls and white faux brick accent. The simple metal chairs complement tables covered in wood laminate. The kitchen is open so customers can watch cooks in action.
We chose the protein (pork, beef, chicken, tuna, prawns, etc.), the vegetables, and the sauce (oyster, teriyaki, curry, adobo, sinigang, honey garlic, binagoongan, Korean) and our dish was cooked and ready immediately. We each ordered a wok dish and shared, family style, with the addition of lumpiang Shanghai and siomai.
The dishes turned out exceptionally tasty, light, and generous. Around 300 combinations are possible, so diners are guaranteed variety with each visit.
All the food was served in ceramic, glass, or stainless steel containers. Disposable spoons were made of wood. Real metal dinner spoons and forks were set on tables. Not a single plastic item was in sight, and there was no single-use mineral water bottle available for diners. Absent, too, were sachets of sugar, creamer, ketchup, hot sauce, and other condiments, which were replaced with bottles.
The restaurant’s philosophy was explained by Kim Garcia, who established the business in 2017 with co-founder Angie Mead King.
“From the start, we tried to do away with plastic. We’re conscious about these things. We don’t sell drinks in plastic bottles, not even mineral water. We encourage our customers to bring their own tumblers, which we refill with water. All our utensils are made from bamboo, and all our take-out materials are from paper.”
I noticed that they still use disposable wooden chopsticks, which some environmentalists frown upon. It has been pointed out that millions of trees are chopped down to produce some 80 billion wooden chopsticks thrown away annually. Perhaps the restaurant will switch to non-disposable chopsticks for dine-in customers soon.
AIDING THE IMPAIRED
Hearing-impaired workers are employed by WOK2GO at Macapagal and Uptown Mall branches, where they receive normal, not 70 percent compensation as practiced by other employers. They studied at the Philippine School for the Deaf, which along with the Philippine National School for the Blind is financially supported by the restaurant.
Angie Mead King gave details:
“For every wok dish that we sell, P10 is donated to the institutions we support. The money is shared by the Philippine School for the Deaf and the Philippine National School for the Blind. This is a lifetime commitment. Our biggest source of satisfaction is the smile we put on their faces when we deliver their checks.”
The funds are used to help rehabilitate classrooms and send some kids to a Braille reading contest in Thailand, from where they just recently brought home the top prize for three categories.
The victory made Angie proud yet humbled. “When we hear news like that from them, we are reminded that what we are doing is worthwhile. It also pushes us to improve the business because the more we improve the business, the more assistance we can give them.”
As we finished our meal, we felt so much a part of the universal effort to make this planet a better place for all.
WOK2GO has an in-house delivery service, which covers a radius of 10 kilometers, reaching most parts of Makati, Pasig, up to Eastwood in Quezon City. Customers can also opt to order through GrabFood, Foodpanda, or Lalamove’s purchase service.
(02) 869 6828 | (+639) 27 5200 209