The long wait is over as the New York institution gets ready to shake up local diners with a menu featuring classic offerings as well as new treats that are exclusive to the Philippines

"Who ever wrote the rule that fast food can't be great food?" is the question asked by Danny Meyer in the introduction to Shake Shack: Recipes & Stories, a book that tells the story of what has become one of the world's biggest restaurant success stories. Why not, indeed, in light of the fact that his Shake Shack has expanded from a hot dog cart in New York's Madison Park into a global phenomenon in over 200 locations worldwide - a number that now includes its first outpost in the Philippines.

While the restaurant officially opens its doors to the public on 10 May 2019, Philippine Tatler had the privilege of being among the first to see and taste what Shake Shack has to offer on 29 April at its soon-to-open outlet on the ground floor of Central Square in Bonifacio Global City. The event was graced by Shake Shack's culinary director Mark Rosati who spoke of the brand's history, its growth, and how it adds local flavour to the menus of each of its branches abroad.

Mark was particularly impressed by the love Filipinos have for food, their willingness to explore new flavours, and the way local artisans are able to modernise and elevate classic tastes.

"From halo-halo, lechon, adobo, and garlic rice, to calamansi and ube in every imaginable form, Manila is serious about its love for great food and ingredients!" he exclaims with regard to his culinary experiences in the country. "As we spent time exploring the unique and eclectic landscape that is Filipino cuisine, we were inspired by the flavours and artisans we met along the way, and by the food that they're passionate about. We're thrilled to introduce our Manila-exclusive menu that features just a few of the flavours and ingredients we fell in love with, and are humbled to become part of this vibrant community."

The Shake Shack menu in Manila includes such favourites as the Shack-ago Dog, the hotdog that served as the brand's foundation; the classic ShackBurger; Crinkle-cut Fries, and the hefty 'Shroomburger. Among the treats exclusive to this particular location are the Calamansi Limeade, a refreshing version of its classic lemonade that uses local citrus, and the Ube Shake where the signature vanilla frozen custard is whipped with purple yam.

For those hankering for the Concrete, Shake Shack's divinely decadent frozen dessert, there are three flavours made with local ingredients that are bound to please: Uuuube-by Baby, a spin on halo-halo, with vanilla frozen custard, ube, coconut marshmallows, ube cookies, toasted coconut, pinipig, and leche flan; Shack Attack which features the cocoa-forward chocolate frozen custard, chocolate brownies from local purveyor Bucky's, and 55 per cent dark chocolate from award-winning Filipino chocolatier Auro Chocolate; and the Calamansi Pie Oh My which blends vanilla frozen custard with the tangy calamansi pie from Wildflour Bakery.

Anton Huang, president of the SSI Group which is responsible for bringing the brand to the Philippines, is pleased to note that the local store won't just bring a taste of the Big Apple to the country, but will also share the Shake Shack ethos for natural and sustainable ingredients.

"We're thrilled to bring the NYC Shake Shack experience to the Filipino community, and are proud of [its] mission to Stand for Something Good," he says. "Our burgers and hot dogs use 100 per cent all-natural beef, free of hormones and antibiotics; non-GMO potato buns; and the custard is made from real sugar - no corn syrup - and milk from dairy farmers who pledge not to use artificial growth hormones. We're proud to finally unveil our Manila menu that was created with high standards of excellence: thoughtful ingredient sourcing and preparation, hospitality, and quality that will provide a value that is accessible for our Filipino customers.

Shake Shack Philippines opens 10 May 2019 and the first 100 guests to get in line are in for a treat as there will be exclusive giveaways and a number of fun activities from 9:00am until the doors officially open at 11:00am.