Manila gastronomes nowadays, particularly millennials and Gen Ys, observe a plethora of diet programs. The boom of dining places and convenience stores specially made for health buffs has become not only a trend but a dining revolution.
Farm-to-table, organic, slow food... the list goes on and on. However, there is nothing that offer healthy alternatives to various snack favourites. Hence, the people behind the haven of activated charcoal-infused yogurt BLK 513 opened 80 Queens.
Named after a Hong Kong address, 80 Queens serves fries and nachos that may look weird for its colours but does optimal health effects in the body. Its Red Fries are made of beet root crusted with toasted corn. Meanwhile, 80 Queens’ Black Stax is made of white corn chips and has activated charcoal, just like BLK 513’s famous yogurt.
80 Queens was the sequel of BLK because we saw this demand for snacks,” Fernandez said. “We found out that there is a market that needs healthy snacks, that’s why cassava chips, zucchini-made chips and others are now sold commercially. But this means they still have preservatives. With the same philosophy of BLK—the ingredients are fresh and served a la minute—80 Queens targets the market who looks for healthy alternatives for snack indulgence,” she explained.
Now 80 Queens has four branches all found in the most frequented malls around the metro. The interiors of both dining concepts are inspired by posh hole-in-the walls found in Singapore and Hong Kong, delivering a dining experience that is distinct compared to other dining outlets here in Manila. Just like their first concept, 80 Queens’ snacks are available for take-away only—perfect for young professionals taking a break from work or even families strolling the malls, looking for something healthy to munch on while shopping or watching a movie. Fernandez shared that although their target market is generally the yuppies, they were able to entice even young kids as well as the elderly as more and more diners become intrigued of what they are offering.
“I think the word ‘healthy’ is not enough to describe our food,” Fernandez said. “Maybe we could also call them ‘beneficial’. That’s why we use the tagline ‘more than the usual’ because we give you a replacement on what you usually get. Fries go to your body and does not do anything good. While on the other hand, beet root is a liver detoxifier and it reacts on your body naturally, without adding anything to it.”
Fernandez explained that with their simple, guaranteed fresh, and familiar ingredients, 80 Queens give a less sinful combination of guilt-free indulgence. “For our customers, we want them to be free from anything. Free from being deprived and just relax and enjoy,” she said.
80 Queens’ fries and nachos are served with a sauce and garnish of your choice, all guaranteed with no MSG. Diners may opt for some familiar flavours like cheese, tomato, gravy, or a more premium variety like truffles and matcha. Garnishes include spring onions, crispy bacon, jalapeño, parmesan, caramelised onions, and mixed nuts. 80 Queens also serve delicious concoctions such as the Hongkie Soymilk, Matcha Summer, Uphill Sangria, Sunset Tea, and Rooftop Breeze. These mocktails have impeccable flavour even without alcohol (green tea was used as a substitute for the sangria) and are essentialy rich in vitamins.
“Don’t stress yourself from eating healthy but just enjoy a little snack that will be greatly beneficial to you,” she said. “We want our diners to experience a little tastebud adventure without feeling bad after.”