Battle of the Chicken Nuggets pt 2: Which Convenience Store offers the Best Cheap Nuggets in Manila?March 27, 2017
Last month we had a contentious nuggets battle featuring international fast food chain heavy hitters. But this time we wanted to explore the more widely available chicken nuggets that most people are familiar with, and probably have eaten at some point for lunch (on top of rice and doused in sauce!). By your request, we are pitting the affordable and accessible convenience store nuggets. Though these nuggets are often eaten with rice as a cheap, quick meal for office workers on-the-go, we decided to consume the nuggets by themselves, with and without the provided sauce, to best appreciate their true taste.
So here we go with our round 2 on the chicken nuggets battle. Let the chicken fight begin!
MiniStop Nuggets – 35 PHP for 5 pcs.
These nuggets were suspiciously orange, appeared shriveled and dry, and were significantly smaller than its competitors. One bite resulted in one clear emotion: instant regret. It is very possible that we were served yesterday’s nuggets refried and devoid of any of that juiciness that we love so much in our nuggets. In any case, its insides resembled cardboard that had been soaked and blended, smushed into a somewhat nugget shape and dried under the sun. The orange is explained by the nuggets’ spiciness—perhaps they thought dousing it in cayenne would distract from the fact that it was totally flavorless? But I must admit, as a fan of cayenne, I did appreciate the fact that it was in the nuggets at all and was perhaps their only saving grace. We thought we got a bad batch so we hit a different MiniStop and strangely, the second batch was shockingly wet and squishy like it was undercooked. We encountered an inconsistent texture with surprise crunch like biting into cartilage, and rubbery bits like biting into offal. Zero points on consistency here. Instead of serving it with ketchup as many people take their nuggets when eaten with rice, MiniStop gave us chicken gravy. It was a deeply confusing choice since the snack resembled neither chicken nor nuggets, and we were grateful to move forward.
7-11 Nuggets – 35 PHP for 4 pcs.
Thank goodness for some nice, juicy nuggets with a soft, chewy inside with a texture that is fibrous. You get four pieces with 7-11 instead of the 5 pieces that MiniStop provides, though they are noticeably larger. Ripping the nugget produces lines faintly similar to actual chicken. On the outside, the nuggets resembled McNuggets with golden-brown edges. Alone, they had a distinct saltiness to it that we enjoyed. 7-11 nuggets came with not just one but two sauces! A sweet, light colored sauce and a dark, more robust and still sweet dark sauce were our options that tasted like coffee, and we appreciated that the experience could be compared to selecting sauces to suit your taste at a fishball stand. The saltiness of the nuggets and the sweetness of the sauces created a nice balance. We went to a different 7-11 to check for consistency, and we received only the brown, coffee-tasting sauce. When we asked about the lighter sauce, they told us it was meant for another snack, so while service was not quite consistent, the nuggets certainly were.
FAMILY MART NUGGETS – 39 PHP for 4 pcs.
Family Mart’s nuggets were remarkably similar in appearance and texture to 7-11. It had a toasty, browned crust that gave its flavor more depth and strength. The nuggets had a nice, chewy bite in the inside while being crunchy on the outside, a beautiful contrast that you dream of in any nugget. Unlike the chunky MiniStop nuggets and the fibrous 7-11 nuggets, Family Mart’s nuggets had a more homogenous texture. Its taste was closer to chicken than the artificial chicken nugget taste you usually expect, which we think in this case works against it, especially as that taste was very faint. The nuggets are served with a sweet and subtle tomato ketchup that reminds us of eating nuggets with rice and ketchup for breakfast as little kids. These were the largest nuggets of the bunch, justifying the 4 pesos they charge over the average amount. Again, we visited another Family Mart to check for consistency and in the second round we received paler (pictured) nuggets that were likely cooked in a shorter time than the first batch, thus losing its toasty flavor.
An extremely close race between 7-11 (whose nuggets stood out for its consistency across different branches, the distinct nugget-y taste that we crave for, and it’s texture) and Family Mart (whose nuggets were the largest, served with our favorite and most classic sauce with nuggets, and offered the benefit of the browned edges—in the first batch, at least). It is because of the consistency that we declare 7-11 the winner of this round. As for MiniStop, we’ll stick to their famous fried chicken.