The Most Popular Fast Food Chains in the Philippines
Oct 26, 2020 9:46:00 AM
We Filipinos love to eat, but most of us are generally too busy to prepare home-cooked meals. Thus, it is not surprising that many of us rely on quick-service restaurants (QSRs) to satisfy our cravings for quick, delicious, filling, and affordable meals. A recent survey by market research firm Cint revealed that close to 46% of Filipinos eat at fast food restaurants one to three times a week on average, which is significantly much higher compared to the 2% of people who do not eat at such places at all.
While the months of lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic may have prevented many Pinoys from dining at their favorite fast food chains, it is fortunate that a number of these restaurants have also adjusted their services to meet the new, unique needs of customers. From making cashless payment options available to partnering with reputable online food delivery platforms, the top QSRs in the country adopted new ways of doing business to continue providing their food offerings while keeping health and safety a priority.
If you’re not already familiar with the Philippines’ bustling fast food scene, you will be pleased to discover that the country has a selection of remarkable fast food destinations that offer delectable meals at reasonable prices. Here are some of the most popular food chains that you will surely enjoy.
Jollibee is a local fast food giant that has more than a thousand branches in various parts of the country and hundreds more abroad. The brand is synonymous with hearty food, celebration, and love of family. Your trip to the Philippines will not be complete unless you try Jollibee’s Chickenjoy, their popular crispy fried chicken served with their signature gravy, as well as Jolly Spaghetti, the restaurant’s saccharine take on the classic pasta dish.
Chickenjoy is arguably the number one fast food treat that most Pinoys miss during lockdown because of its crispy and savory coating, juicy and tender chicken meat, and tasty gravy that elevates the fried chicken’s flavor even more. Partner it with Jollibee’s sweet-style spaghetti, which Anthony Bourdain once described as “deranged…yet strangely alluring,” for an incredible and unique experience.
If you are on the lookout for an authentic Filipino grilled chicken dish, you should try ordering from Mang Inasal restaurant. Inasal, which means “charcoal-grilled t” in Hiligaynon, is a type of barbecue dish that uses soy sauce, turmeric, garlic, vinegar, and other local spices as a marinade.
Mang Inasal—which has its origins in Western Visayas where inasal was originally developed—offers chicken inasal, their version of this variant of inasal, which they serve on banana leaves with steaming rice and chicken oil on the side. If you like pork, try ordering their pork barbecue marinated in soy sauce, sweetener, and local spices. Cap off your meal with a bowl of Pinoy Halo-Halo, the restaurant’s take on the quintessential Filipino dessert consisting a base of shaved ice that is doused with milk and adorned with tons of yummy ingredients, such as sweetened banana, purple yam, tapioca pearls, leche flan, and ice-cream.
Chowking is another home-grown fast food chain that specializes in Chinese-Filipino cuisine. If you are in the mood for dim sum, fried rice, and a steaming bowl of noodle soup topped with beef, wanton, or both, you will have your fill when you order online or visit any of their stores. Make sure to also try their buchi, a deep-fried rice cake ball with a sweetened bean paste filling and sesame seed coating.
Greenwich is a local pizza chain that has been around for over 40 years. This pizza place offers “Pinoy pizza” that is characterized by a thin crust with massive amounts of toppings, such as pepperoni, ham, vegetables, and cheese. Order an All-In Overload if you are not sure what variant to get since this bestseller has everything you want in your pizza. You can also enjoy their delicious lasagna, carbonara, and fried chicken.
Red Ribbon Bakeshop
With over 450 branches all over the Philippines and 30 outlets in the United States, Red Ribbon is one of the most successful bakeshops in the country today. They offer fluffy and moist cakes, tasty slices of bread, and delectable pastries that are surprisingly affordable.
Order a pack of their cheesy ensaymada, which is a Filipino soft bread that is covered in butter, sugar, and grated cheese.It’s the perfect snack to have while traveling or during picnics. You can also try their cakes in classic Filipino flavors, like ube (purple yam) cake and yema (custard) cake.
Another bakery and fast food chain that will satisfy both your sweet tooth and your cravings for savory favorites is Goldilocks bakeshop, which has been around for over half a century. While Goldilocks is the go-to destination for many Filipinos in need of cakes for special occasions, or those who are craving for some classic Filipino ulam options, Goldilocks is most famous for its polvoron. Polvoron is a type of crumbly shortbread made with toasted flour, powdered milk, sugar, butter, and sometimes nuts. You can enjoy it as a dessert or as a snack.
Perhaps you are craving American and Mexican classics like burgers and burritos. If so, then you should try the food at Army Navy. Savor their California Burger packed with a quarter-pound Angus beef patty, tomatoes, onions, and cheese. If you love steak, you may also enjoy Army Navy’s Starving Sailor, which is a sandwich filled with thin slices of steak, cheese sauce, caramelized onion, and other veggies. You can also enjoy their wrapped burritos, which come with different meat fillings, steak, chicken, adobo flakes, sisig, and longganisa.
While you can almost certainly find a McDonald’s in or near your hometown, no matter where in the world you’re from, you may want to give McDonald’s Philippines a shot, at least to try their menu items that are exclusively sold in the Philippines or a few other markets. Order a regular or spicy Chicken McDo with rice or a side of Filipino-style spaghetti. They also have interesting rice meals like chicken katsu bowl, mushroom pepper steak, and chicken fillet a la King, which may even make you doubt if you are truly ordering from a McDonald’s store.
Whether you want to try Filipino food or stick to meals you are familiar with, the fast food chains above will undoubtedly satisfy your cravings for filling and comforting food. Another great thing about these restaurants is that they offer cashless payment options, like PayMaya’s digital payment solutions, when you order in-store, via drive-thru, or online using food delivery apps. Contactless payment methods offer not just convenience but also peace of mind for fast food aficionados who want to reduce their risk of contracting COVID-19 in the new normal.