Food used to be simpler. Just a few decades ago, one said "mouthfeel" or "artisanal." Gluten was an unknown element, and no one knew Anthony Bourdain. Oh how we long for that decade. We had the best music and Okay Ka, Fairy Ko! was at its prime.
Now all we want is to be Anthony Bourdain.
The '90s is the decade spent conceiving millennials, who are now taking over everything. Before the Gen Xers are completely edged out, let's look back at their incredible food scene and keep in mind: dito kayo pinaglihi. A lot of them are still around, but our collective interest have since waned in pursuit of more pompous food items.
Jamba Juice landed in the Philippines because someone had to make sure rich people got their fruit shakes from an establishment that hires people to open the doors for its customers. Before all that glamour, Mango Brutus humbly stood out with its no-BS menu: mango shakes. Lest we forget, our Philippine islands have the best tasting mangoes in the world.
Gourmet sausages were just too much to handle in the '90s. If we wanted a hotdog while our hip big sister "looked around" in Girbaud, we lined up at a Smokey's joint. Although you can still spot a few Smokey's here and there, many people just opt for high-end hotdogs these days!
Before the giant pizza fad, we simply cheered for longer hotdogs. Bread Connection's footlong was special because you can share it or go at it alone, and both options ought to make you feel good. These days, "long and full of sodium" doesn’t wow us anymore, as heart disease rates have gone up since.
If you happen to be walking along outside and realize you want a burger in your system, a Burger Machine would usually appear on the next corner. It's just how things worked in the '90s. These machines stand to this day, even if mankind had forsaken simple burgers for gargantuan creations served up in wooden slabs...to be eaten with a fork and a knife!
Every kid's dream and every parent's nightmare is buying candy by the gram. Sugar is one of the most addictive substances and a trip to a Candy Corner stall is pretty much an exercise in buying drugs. But how we loved our ultimate source of joy. Gummi worms, sour candy, Nerds, and sunflower seeds—Candy Corner had it all.
The ensaymadas in the '90s relied on regular cheddar cheese toppings, as queso de bola was reserved for Christmas. The thin strips of cheese over bright yellow fluffy bread topped with melted butter, sometimes salted egg (not that big a thing then, but still a thing), and sometimes a lone piece of ham make up for some delightful meriendas. And yes, everyone licked the cheese and butter off of the plastic wrappers.
Many parents didn't bother buying their children Dippin' Dots based on principle. It was just too expensive. Ice cream beads are ultimately pointless and they taste watered-down. We're not sure why they were invented at all, just as we're not sure why gastronomists these days insist on using liquid nitrogen in food. But the average man/child/manchild is susceptible to trends.
Everyone knows where to get the best brownies. Whether it's from the kitchens of Karen, Becky, or Chenelyn, brownies are pretty standard party or funeral chow contributions. People love them. But in the '90s, we just didn't have the time to call a bakery for an advanced order of special homemade brownies. We were just people at the mall looking to buy pre-assorted boxes of sugar. The chocolate chip brownie, to this day, is of death-row last-meal levels.
3M Pizza Pie
We don't know what "3M" really stands for, but we do suspect that 3M pizza pies have exactly three toppings: tomato sauce, melted cheese, and ham. Like Pinoy spaghetti, 3M's version of the pizza is ridiculously sweet and addictive.
Potato Corner recently made a comeback because the people behind it just knew that fries are the essential food group that science refuses to acknowledge. This potato stand that we all know and love started in the '90s, pioneering the belief that flavoring your fries is the meaning of life.