We're suckers for value-for-our-money meals. If you haven't noticed, we've been dead serious lately about sampling the many meal options available to us, especially during times when payday's still a few days away and our budget's dwindling fast. We're not particularly choosy—we've done instant pancit canton, guilt-free snacks, even rotisserie chicken recently. You can see we're so ready to switch from processed goodness to healthier fares in a jiffy as long as they guarantee our tummies get filled and our energies partly restored as we finish our day at work strong. For this particular quest, we willingly sacrificed our hard-earned abs feasting on a total of 13 hot dog sandwiches so you can make better-informed dining decisions when you get to the office today.
Read on for our findings:
1) Bacon & Cheese Hot Dog Sandwich (P29): Unless they can do something quickly about this crumbly offering, it will be quite hard to take this one seriously. It's no fun eating something billed as a bacon and cheese hot dog when it turns out to be not quite cheesy and not at all bacon-y.
2) Cheesy German Hot Dog Sandwich (P29): Aside from the fact that it wasn't cheesy enough for our taste (cheese is love, cheese is life), this one tasted like a pretty standard German hot dog. However, the texture was also quite a disappointment. Maybe the hot dogs in the branch we visited have just been sitting in the steamer for far too long?
3) Spicy Chicken Hot Dog Sandwich (P39): After two lackluster hot dogs, we finally got to the only one with a fighting chance to please. Ministop seemed pretty serious when they made this one: the Spicy Chicken Hotdog Sandwich is spicy with a capital S, and it can easily be enjoyed sans condiments. We were extremely grateful for the bun, which tempered the hotdog's intense flavor.
The verdict: Not only were this store's hot dogs the least photogenic of the lot, but its hotdogs' overall flavor profile was also lackluster. The steamed buns were also difficult to pry open, making hotdog assembly extra challenging. The Spicy Chicken Hot dog thankfully rises to the occasion, but due to its too-intense flavor, it might not be for everyone. On a brighter note, Ministop gave away the most condiments. Aside from ketchup and New York dressing, we were also given packets of cheese spread so we can have the extra cheesy hot dogs we craved for.
1) Big Bite Spicy Hungarian (P29): We were still reeling from Ministop's Spicy Chicken hot dog sandwich when we tried this, so our tastebuds might have been compromised. But to our relief, the Spicy Hungarian's spiciness was more tolerable. The heat creeps up, but not in an unpleasant way. Add some Manhattan dressing, and it'll be perfect.
2) Big Bite Spicy Jumbo (P29): Like the Spicy Hungarian, the Spicy Jumbo was also just mildly spicy, which is perfect if you want something different, but not too hot. It's also great with some Manhattan dressing!
3) Big Bite Jumbo Classic (P29): A classic, no-fail cheese dog. Tastes even better with any of their condiments. You can't go wrong with this if you're craving for a quick bite.
4) Big Bite Tuna Cheese Dog (P29): We've never fully warmed up to the idea of tuna hot dogs (we're blaming that “hot dog ni Aljur” commercial), so we approached this particular one with a bit of trepidation. It wasn't so bad, aside from the slightly mushier texture and the light tuna aftertaste. Pair it with a Manhattan-ketchup dressing combo for best dining results. It'll never taste as good as the usual hotdog, but it's as good as it can get for our more health-conscious bros!
5) Creamy Cheese (P29): Given its name, we were expecting a cheesy explosion in every bite. It's a perfectly OK hot dog, but it wasn't very cheesy at all, and the few cheese bits we found weren't creamy.
The verdict: There's a good reason why 7-Eleven's hard to beat in the hot dog game: They've got a lot of flavors at a decent price, their hot dogs and buns are nicely sized, and their Manhattan dressing is a classic. Plus points to the staff at the branch we visited who put the hot dogs in individual bags! We also like that you can get chili con carne and cheese sauce to further spice up your hot dogs, though it'll be better if they just let us pick two condiments for free. On the downside, the difference between the hot dog variants isn't really that distinct—we found ourselves asking “ano nga bang hot dog ulit 'to?” a few times while trying them out. They've got a lot of options, but in this case, variety isn't really the spice of life.
1) German Franks (P55): We were really looking forward to trying Lawson's eight-inch German Franks as we saw an in-store poster trumpeting its deliciousness. When we finally had the chance to eat it, we found out that it wasn't as groundbreaking as we thought it would be. We found it a bit too firm (it took some effort to bite into it), and bland. Load up on the condiments for this big boy.
2) 8" Classic Hot Dog (P35): This one's your go-to iconic red hot dog, with a couple of extra inches. It's a no-fail crowd pleaser, with a slightly softer bite compared to the German Franks, and it was great paired with the ketchup and mustard.
3) 8" Cheese Dog (P35): The cheese dog, however, was the brightest star among Lawson's offerings. It was very cheesy—maybe even a bit too cheesy—and creamy. Add some ketchup to balance the richness for a perfect hot dog!
The verdict: Lawson's hot dog offerings are passable run-of-the-mill wieners, with their prodigious length setting them apart. If the Lawson hot dogs were human beings, they'd be Africans, hands down. The only downside of being extra long? It's hard to fit in small, tight spaces...like Lawson's hotdog buns. Step up your bun game, Lawson.
1) Chicken Cheese Hotdog (P35): Family Mart's Chicken Cheese hot dog is a good, safe option for your hot dog cravings. The cheesiness was just right (finally, a cheese hot dog that lived up to our expectations!), and it's got a nice, solid bite. It was also good enough to eat sans condiments.
2) Johnsonville Sausage (P65, comes in Garlic, Smoked, and Cheese variants): The first thing you'll notice about Family Mart's Johnsonville Sausage is its high price tag. At P65, it better be worth it! Fortunately, it pretty much delivered: the Cheese variant (which was the only Johnsonville available when we visited) had a nice, firm bite that can almost be described as crunchy. It also didn't feel as processed as the others, taste and texture-wise. Let's just say it's one johnson we'd nibble on with gusto.
The verdict: Family Mart's hot dogs stand out from the rest due to one simple reason: They're fried, not steamed. The result: firmer, better-tasting sausages. It's a hit or miss, with some preferring their hot dogs steamed, but come on, if you're going to indulge in an unhealthy chunk of processed meat, you might as well go all the way and have your hotdogs prepared the way the hot dog gods intended them to be! Bonus points for their cardboard packaging, which kept the hot dogs safe and snug.