Taste Test

Battle of the Burger Steaks: We Try Burger Steaks and Pepper Steaks from McDo, Wendy’s, Tropical Hut and Jollibee

January 15, 2017

As of late, fast food giants McDonalds and Jollibee have been duking it out by both releasing their versions of a pepper steak within weeks of each other. While fast food aficionados and enthusiasts alike weigh in on the creamy dishes, we decided to gather up ALL the fast food burger steak platters we know of for a battle of the burger steaks.

The catch: all competing a lá carte dishes are within 5 pesos of a standard php50 price.

WENDY’S salisbury STEAK – PHP 55

The most expensive of the bunch, Wendy’s was glaringly the worst steak we tried. Thin as cardboard and suspiciously square shaped, the Wendy’s patty looked more like a cork coaster than a meal, and it may be better used as such. Floppy and doughy, the Wendy’s patty was neither filling nor fulfilling, and was partnered with an overly sweet and margarine-flavored gravy with weird, gritty white bits floating about (Cornstarch? Flour?): unanimously the worst in both sauce and meat. *Donald Trump voice* Sad.


They tell us it’s a beef patty, and the same patty they use in the Burger McDo, but we’re skeptical since its pale meat color and light-brownish exterior resembles chicken. Then again, it’s fast food, so we shrug it off and dive right in. The supposedly-beef patty comes smothered in a white pepper sauce with button mushrooms. McDonald’s takes the prize for best sauce, with the best consistency among the rest: it’s thick and creamy, flavorful and textured. But is it the best steak overall? Not quite.


If you are looking for that authentic home-cooked, carinderia feel, Tropical Hut’s burger steak is where you’ll find it. It is the only meat patty from the selection that actually looks and tastes like it is made of ground beef, and not some back kitchen mystery sludge. It also had a distinct taste of onions that reminded us what a Pinoy burger steak is actually supposed to taste like, and we easily elected it best patty. Too bad for their gravy, which looks like brown gawgaw and confusingly tastes like chicken gravy.


Immediately, the corn (which is typically served in the pepper steak we’ve grown to love in the Philippines; we’re surprised McDonald’s didn’t think of it!) and its golden sweetness sets Jollibee’s pepper steak apart. Though it is watery and less creamy compared to McDonald’s pepper sauce, its flavor is more exciting and complex. It uses the exact same patty as the regular Jollibee burger steak, with that distinct beefy flavor that tastes so uncomplicated and straightforward that it comes off as (and probably is) manufactured in a lab. Just the way we like it.


The classic Jollibee burger steak holds a special place in many Filipinos’ hearts, and today, when pitted directly against its competitors, we understand why. There is something so familiar to those who grew up with it, and so approachable for those who did not. Somehow, you just can’t shake that feeling of that first bite: like you’ve just come home. Though McDonald’s stands out in sauce, and Tropical Hut in meat, Jollibee’s classic burger steak stands out in its combination—and sauce and meat combined is, after all, just how a burger steak is meant to be eaten.

Have you tried these steaks? Weigh in what you think of the new pepper steaks on the market, especially when pitted against the market classic burger steaks. And tell us below if we’ve missed a fast food burger steak that you would like us to try.

Bea Osmeña SEE AUTHOR Bea Osmeña

Bea Osmeña is a healthy-ish eater who is just as likely to take you to a vegan joint as she is to consume a whole cheese pie to herself. A former picky eater, Bea has discovered the joys of savory fruit dishes, but still refuses to accept pineapples on her pizza. On the rare occasion you catch her without food in her mouth, you are likely to find her looking at books she can't afford, hugging trees, or talking to strange animals on the street.

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