Reviews

Taco Bell’s Man vs. Food Specials End in a Serious Loss

August 16, 2019

The Philippines shares a lot of similarities with Mexico: from its deep history with Spanish colonizers, fruits and vegetable staples like avocado, Catholic culture, to marvelous realism in our literature. Yet despite these common threads, Mexican food isn’t as popular as Italian, Japanese, or American dishes in our local commercial eating scene. Authentic or at the very least, better inspired Mexican food has only popped up in the last few years in places like El Chupacabra and Chihuahua. But the majority has yet to taste and witness what distinct freshness and flavor Mexican cuisine has to offer. Unfortunately Taco Bell is the last place for anyone to find what popular treats like burritos and tacos actually have to offer.

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Taco Bell’s latest menu offering banks on such an appeal with its “Man vs Food” challenge of a 12 inch XL Grilled Stuft Burrito and a 12 inch-long XL Beef and Cheese Quesadilla.

Metro Manila’s Taco Bell franchise focuses on quantity rather than quality. Their latest menu offering continues to bank on such an appeal with its “Man vs Food” challenge of a 12 inch XL Grilled Stuft Burrito and a 12 inch-long XL Beef and Cheese Quesadilla. Both items are sold with fries and a softdrink for PHP 189, while the a la carte option is at PHP 139. Both prices appear overpriced against the usual PHP 100 to PHP 150 range one usually pays for in other fast food chains like McDonald’s, Jollibee, and KFC. Perhaps the promise of a longer and heavier version would justify the additional charge?

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The presentation of both orders, however, immediately warned me that the PHP 300+ total was a waste of hard earned money.

The presentation of both orders, however, immediately warned me that the PHP 300+ total was a waste of hard earned money. Their menus promised fries, but instead we were given cheese chips as the side dish. Then you have a promo that banks on a “Man vs. Food” challenge. Using this popular show sets up a lot of expectations: apart from the promised 12-inch length, the extra price should also guarantee more fillings within each order. But both the quesadilla and burrito appeared sad and unappetizing. The burnt marks on the pita bread didn’t exactly call us to a first bite. The quesadilla measured 12 inches according to a ruler, but it still appeared as thin as a regular quesadilla. Looking closer into its fillings, we found an abundance of processed cheddar cheese masking the tomato, soft potato bites, a few bits of beef, onions, spring onion bits, and cilantro. But we could taste none of the other ingredients, save for the soft potatoes since the cheese was compensating for the quesadilla’s lack of balance. Although the middle parts of the quesadilla were oozing with the listed ingredients, the cheese was still the only thing I could taste.

Both the quesadilla and burrito appeared sad and unappetizing. The burrito was the biggest letdown.

The burrito was the bigger letdown: it not only appeared smaller than 12 inches, but it measured around 7.8 inches on our ruler. The burrito was mostly yellow rice and we weren’t sure what it was flavored with since it was bland. The rice was made “heavier” through soft potato bits, canned beans, and beef. Although the potatoes were decent, the burrito’s canned beans and bland beef left a taste of deep regret in our mouths. The quesadilla suddenly seemed better thanks to the cheese masking everything else.

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Save yourself the trouble and don’t bother with this challenge: remember, it’s always wise to choose your battles.

The man versus food fight challenges us to consume food and not let its tricky flavor or large quantity deter us from finishing the meal. In Taco Bell’s case, it’s not that the flavor is too spicy or sour, or that the size is too thick or long to fit in the mouth. Both offerings are just badly done and bland when eaten. The processed ingredients aren’t worth the extra calories as there is no feeling of pleasure after. I can think of so many other fast food combos worth less than PHP 139 or PHP 189. Save yourself the trouble and don’t bother with this challenge: remember, it’s always wise to choose your battles.

Have you tried the “Man vs. Food” meals of Taco Bell? What do you think of their heavier burrito and quesadilla? Sound off in the comments section below.

Gela Velasco Gela Velasco

Gela is a young adult slowly settling into her late twenties. She likes to make a mess in the kitchen when no one’s looking, dance till dawn on long weekends, and dream about beef on lazy afternoons. On some days she learns how to write good in graduate school. Her life goals include sashaying somewhat like Beyonce and to write a cover story on Leonardo di Caprio.

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11 comments in this post SHOW

11 responses to “Taco Bell’s Man vs. Food Specials End in a Serious Loss”

  1. hehehe says:

    most items in Taco Bell are overpriced.

  2. Volts Sanchez says:

    “The burrito was the bigger letdown: it not only appeared smaller than 12 inches, but it measured around 7.8 inches on our ruler. ”

    Inflated measurement? That’s why you DON’T let the burrito measure itself.

    • Carl Tomacruz says:

      Reminds me of Jacob’s Shawarma, as of late. The last time my girlfriend and I ate there, the 12-inch shawarma was shorter by 2 and a half inches.The meat was dry, and the bread was mediocre.

      Can’t believe I paid 200 for that thing.

  3. Adrian De Leon says:

    Even in the US, Taco Bell is considered a joke. They’re a popular topic for the opening monologues of late night show hosts, and the usual punchlines are about their food being for drunk/stoned people with little cash to spare. Also, they apparently cause diarrhea, though that never happened to me while eating the local versions hehehe.

  4. Paul says:

    The best Mexican restaurant in Manila (and is recommended by many Mexicans I know) is Orale in the Fort Strip. But even that is really a imitation of Mexican food. The good: they use freshly made corn tortillas, they sometimes have awesome specials (tamales, chilaquiles). They also have Mexican beers and sodas (jarritos!). The bad: the sauces always have way too much garlic, and for me the variety of sauces is a highlight of Mexican cuisine.

    El Chupacabra is OK but nothing special, and Chihuahua’s is pretty mediocre, though they do sometimes have authentic Mexican sauces.

    I’ve been to Mexico many times and my wife is Mexican.

  5. Paul says:

    The best Mexican restaurant in Manila (and is recommended by many Mexicans I know) is Orale in the Fort Strip. But even that is really a imitation of Mexican food. The good: they use freshly made corn tortillas, they sometimes have awesome specials (tamales, chilaquiles). They also have Mexican beers and sodas (jarritos!). The bad: the sauces always have way too much garlic, and for me the variety of sauces is a highlight of Mexican cuisine.

    El Chupacabra is OK but nothing special, and Chihuahua’s is pretty mediocre, though they do sometimes have authentic Mexican sauces.

    I’ve been to Mexico many times and my wife is Mexican.

    • Adrian De Leon says:

      I love Orale! They’re my favorite joint for burritos. A bit pricy, but really sulit considering their portions and near-authenticity.

      • Paul says:

        I guess the burrito is a great example of how regional Mexican food is when you are there. My wife and all my wife’s friends and family who I meet would not consider a burrito “Mexican”, but rather Tex Mex. But it did in fact originate from Mexico (from the Chihuahua state) and is apparently still somewhat popular there (I’ve never been). I was constantly amazed at the variety of food in Mexico travelling around, in the North (Monterrey), Goat is very popular and the diet is very meat based. Further south in Pachuca Esquites (a small white corn snack) is very popular (and possibly my favourite food item). In Guadalajara tortas ahogadas are very popular (and I never saw these anywhere else). And so on and so forth.

        But pretty much every Mexican I know would say burritos are a tex mex invention 🙂

        • Adrian De Leon says:

          Yeah, I remember reading about that somewhere. If I recall right, traditional Mexican burritos usually only have meat and refried beans in them. I guess that means I really have to go to Mexico to get the real thing. 🙂

  6. Dylan Dylanco says:

    Taco Bell is fast food. There’s not much to expect, except busog factor. If you want the real deal, go to Oralé or Hermanos. Two of the best Mexican joints here.

  7. JJ Chua says:

    I only eat their Cheesy Potato Fiesta. Because it’s kind of hard to fuck up an order of fried potatoes, cheese and sour cream. People can say all they want about how “artificial” their cheese is but the same people have most likely put cheese whiz in their pandesal before.

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