THINKING INSIDE THE BOX: The dishes at Asian Box come in convenient compostable paper containers.
Fast Food isn’t going away anytime soon. Nor should it. Sit-down meals are a great and necessary part of life, but so is a quick meal when you’re short on time and money.
These days, we seem to have more time for the latter than the former. Such is life in Silicon Valley. The trouble is that greasy, unhealthy, industrial fast food dominates the quick-meal landscape. But Palo Alto’s new Asian Box offers something different.
Asian Box’s executive chef is Grace Nguyen, a former chef at San Francisco’s Slanted Door and Out the Door. Based on flavors from Vietnamese and street-food traditions, Asian Box offers quick, fresh and flavorful boxes of food.
Yes, boxes. Whether you eat inside the Spartan dining room at the central communal table, outside on a metal table or in your car, all the food comes in a brown, compostable paper box. It’s basically the rice or noodle bowl concept served in a box. It’s easy to see more locations popping up and indeed two more Bay Area restaurants are in the works.
The ingredients Asian Box uses are several steps above what you find at the vast majority of fast-food restaurants. The produce is locally sourced, much of it organic or sustainably produced. The meats come from sustainably minded purveyors like Niman Ranch. The shrimp comes from the Philippines, but is farmed with ecologically sound methods, the restaurant says.
On weekdays at noon, the place is mobbed by Palo Alto High School students who cross the street from their campus to the Town and Country Village mall to grab a fast lunch, testament to the Asian Box’s fast-food concept. But the crowds move in and out rather quickly. People eat and go.