Taste Test

S&R vs Landers: Who Makes Better Pizza, Burgers, and Fried Chicken?

August 6, 2018

More than being specialty supermarkets the imported goods in bulk, S&R Membership Shopping and Landers Superstore have become especially known for their in-house dining options. With comfort grub like pizza, burgers, fried chicken, and more at satisfying portions and affordable prices, they’ve become eating places in their own right, thus justifying their membership fees—and even leading to the opening of S&R’s own standalone pizza spot (which does not require membership, and which are located at areas more accessible than the original stores). The question is, who does which item better?

Round 1: Cheese Pizza

L: Landers’ NY Cheese Deluxe, PHP 99/slice | R: S&R’s Cheese NY-Style Pizza, PHP 99/slice

Landers – Pizza, NY Cheese Deluxe: On Landers’ pie is a crust that’s on the chewy, stretchy side rather than soft, coming slightly thin that you could fold it and eat New York-style but still bearing enough of a thickness that you could just bite into it straight up. It’s bordered by puffy cornicione (a.k.a. the edges, #TheMoreYouKnow) with barely any char, but which comes more narrow than S&R’s and feels chewier and crisper in some parts. Topping the pie is a slightly sweet tomato sauce, being just salty enough and coming at just enough an amount that it enhances the mozzarella without taking over. Each bite of this more minimalist, less-greasy pizza is balanced, allowing you to pair it with the other items on the menu.

S&R – New York-Style Pizza, Cheese: S&R’s take flaunts a crust that’s more on the soft and pillowy side with just enough chewiness. Coupled with its thickness (which isn’t quite to Pan Pizza levels, but definitely is thicker than Landers’ and difficult to fold), it doesn’t quite live up to its “New York style” moniker except in diameter (these things are humongous). Its cornicione also comes wider and thicker than Landers’, bearing stretchy, doughy feel within. On top is tomato sauce that’s saltier, zestier, and offered at a more generous amount than Landers’; it tends to overpower, but does wonders to heighten the milky, mild-tasting layer of gooey mozzarella on top—and distract you from all the grease.

THE VERDICT: Landers. With its thinner, chewier crust, greater emphasis on the cheese, and overall better balance of components, Landers takes the crown on this battle.

Round 2: Fried Chicken

L: Landers’ Chicken, PHP 149/2 pieces with rice | R: S&R’s Southern-Style Fried Chicken, PHP 149/2 pieces with rice

Landers – Chicken: Landers’ fried chicken comes with a thin coat of flour that’s well-seasoned (garlic powder comes to mind), clinging tightly onto the meat underneath, and bearing a crisp, and crackly feel without being greasy (plus, it does not get soggy when left to sit at room temperature). The meat within feels juicy and is a touch saltier than S&R’s, but you can find refuge from all the sodium through their mushroom soup mix-tasting, not-too-salty gravy.

S&R – Southern-Style Fried Chicken: On S&R’s entry comes is a thicker flour coating that can tend to separate from the chicken, but is seasoned well (we can detect black pepper). Though it can get soggy as it sits (we don’t suggest having it for takeout), it’s wonderfully crisp consumed right as it’s served. The said coating is on the salty side but the meat comes seasoned just right, carrying ample moistness whether you go for the dark or white parts of the bird. Accompanying it is gravy that flaunts a bouillon-esque, pepper-y taste and a floury, slightly greasy feel; it goes great with the chicken (or even just as a “sauce” with the clumpy rice).

THE VERDICT: S&R. Landers’ thinner coating puts it at a slight advantage, making for a better take-out option. Ultimately though, the better balance of flavors (and its thicker coat, for the skin-lovers of the team) of S&R’s is what wins our hearts and stomachs.

Round 3: Cheeseburgers

L: Landers’ US Angus Beef Burger, PHP 169 / ala carte | R: S&R’s Cheeseburger, PHP 119 / ala carte

Landers – US Angus Beef Burger: Though sold as a “burger” and not a “cheeseburger”, Landers’ contender comes with cheese by default. You get a bun that’s of the plain white sort that’s mostly-soft but is relatively firmer than S&R’s; and standard fixins’ of lettuce, tomatoes, and American cheese. By default, it comes dressed with a sauce with a sweetish, tangy, mayo-y profile (think Thousand Island dressing)—a feature which displeased the purists of the team, but at least deems the addition of other condiments unnecessary. Either way, it’s the patty is where Landers’ especially shines: employing a quarter-pound US Angus Beef number, it carries the meaty, seemingly pure-beef feel that’s thick and mildly juicy (even being pinkish at the center; though no, not raw), thus satisfying our inner carnivore.

S&R – Cheeseburger: S&R’s contender employs a sesame seed-topped, sweet white burger bun that’s softer and squishier, easily get soggy as it sits. Like Landers’, you get fixins’ of lettuce, tomatoes, and American cheese; unlike Landers’ though, it arrives with no sauce or condiments by default. Though its patty is pegged to be half a pound in weight, it’s of the processed fast food-y sort, carrying an onion-y taste and dry, spongy (if not gummy) feel. The flavor profile is nostalgic in a way (in particular, we’re reminded of the patty on Jollibee burger steaks), but it’s not what we’re looking on a burger-burger. If anything, its mediocrity makes for a neutral canvas to pile condiments on—take your pick from ketchup, mustard, pickles, chopped onions, or even hot sauce (!) from the communal counter.

THE VERDICT: Landers. With its stellar patty and better integrity, Landers takes the prize hands down.

The (final) verdict: Landers

We’re torn as we’ve been S&R loyalists since time immemorial, but Landers proves to have great grub under their sleeves that might just make you switch teams. Being available only for members (and only at their store locations), what they could use is better accessibility—but for these bites, we’ll gladly take the trip.

Are you team Landers or team S&R? What are your favorites from each store? Hit us up in the comments!

 

Patricia Baes SEE AUTHOR Patricia Baes

Trish thinks too much about everything—truth, existence.....and what’s on her plate. Her ongoing quest for a better relationship with food has led to a passion for cooking, gastronomy, and a newfound interest in its politics. She dreams of perfecting the art of making soufflé with her crappy toaster oven.

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