Food and Leisure

Pork chop most ordered lockdown food; here's more to try

Kathleen A. Llemit - Philstar.com
Pork chop most ordered lockdown food; here's more to try
Grilled porkchop with rice & vegetables
The STAR/ File

MANILA, Philippines — Filipinos affirmed their love for pork and sugary treats as revealed in the 2020/2021 food trend report by GrabFood.

Pork chop with rice is the most popular dish ordered via the delivery service app, especially in Manila, Cebu and Pampanga. Chicken barbecue with rice, on the other hand, is more popular in Davao.The Grab Next: Food Trends Report 2020/2021 also revealed that apart from fast food, Filipinos also indulged their sweet tooth by ordering baked treats like cakes and doughnuts.

In fact, the Top 10 food categories searched on the app are fast food, pizza, cake, bakery, Chinese, doughnuts, milk tea, burgers, coffee and chicken.

It also found that cake orders grew by 2.6 times in 2020 as compared to 2019. It also pointed out that while home cooked meals are still preferred by many, there are still dishes that Filipinos are not able to cook at home. These are pizza (70%), cake (56%) and pasta (33%). Pizza, in fact, was searched more or less six million times in the food delivery app in 2020.

Time-consuming, lack of equipment and difficulty in cooking are the reasons cited why these three dishes are not most often cooked or prepared at home.

Even though Filipinos adore their fast food fixes, there is still a rising trend of health-conscious choices. The report found that three in four Filipinos want to eat healthier with 60% willing to pay for healthier food options.

They consider healthy food to have the following qualities: organic/natural ingredients, nutrition monitoring, less salt/sugar/oil, immunity boosters, fresh, high grade ingredients and digestion friendly.

Dishes they consider healthy include salad, sandwiches, smoothies, soup and steamed food.

The Trends Report 2020/2021 is based on the research conducted by NielsenIQ. Data collection was from April 15 to May 10, 2021. It includes interviews with food industry professionals, restaurateurs, consumer surveys and focus groups. It also includes insights derived from Grab's internal database between 2019-2020.

Food updates

Judy Ann Santos-Agoncillo is new sardines brand ambassador

Judy Ann Santos-Agoncillo
Photo release

Loyal fans and admirers of Prime Superstar Judy Ann ‘Juday’ Santos-Agoncillo have a new cause for celebration as she has been named as the newest Mega Sardines ambassador. The award-winning actress, restaurateur, and super mom now represents the country’s no.1 sardine brand as she remains one of the well-loved Filipino celebrities with her exemplary passion and attributes.

This exciting partnership is truly a festive announcement as Juday signs her contract with Mega Sardines, a Filipino household staple loved by the Filipino people nationwide. Juday, after all, reflects the passion and malasakit behind Mega Sardines.

Kickstarting the partnership is Mega Sardines’ TV commercial with Juday for the Mega Sarap, Sustansya at Saya campaign. The commercial features the Bautista Family, alongside Judy Ann, playing a shadow puzzle game until they are able to successfully form an image using their combined shadows with the help of Mega Sardines’ benefits such as the Omega-3 for a healthy heart, and calcium and protein for strong bones and teeth. The newest Mega Sardines’ commercial shows what a can of Mega Sardines can give to an entire family.

Be sure to not miss out on this TV commercial through https://bit.ly/WinnerAngPamilyaSaMegaSardines.

Moms vs malnutrition

The Knorr Nutri Sarap Nutrition Program serves as another chapter in the brand’s mission to help eradicate malnutrition and involuntary hunger in the Philippines. 
Photo release

Every mom wants what’s best for their child. This is especially true when it comes to their future. Securing a bright and successful life for their kids is what moms obsess about the most.

“How do I make sure my child will always live a happy life?”

“What else can I do to help my child succeed in life?”

While there are many factors that affect a person’s chance at success, one element that studies have found to be especially critical to this is proper nutrition. It is not unknown knowledge that nutrition—especially in the early stages of development—can have significant effects on a child’s ability to learn, as well as their overall health. Sadly, in the Philippines, malnutrition and food insecurity remain to be prevalent.

In a recent report by the World Bank, surveys show that in September 2020, seven months into the community quarantine, 31% of Filipino families reported experiencing hunger in the past 30 days, with 9% suffering with severe hunger. Both cases were the highest levels recorded in more than 20 years.  The same report discusses the prevalence of micronutrient undernutrition in the country. Recent data show highly alarming rates of anemia both among children (38% among infants 6-11 months, 26% among children 12-23 months old) and pregnant women (20%). 

Now more than ever, moms need to have access to more resources for healthy home-cooked meals. And as an answer to this, global food brand, Knorr recently launched Nutri-Sarap Nutrition Program, an enhanced nutrition program that aims to curve malnutrition and provide Filipinos a better chance at a brighter future. 

Under the Nutri-Sarap Nutrition Program, Knorr strengthens its partnership with various government agencies and NGOs—including the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Education (DepEd), Scaling Up Nutrition Business Network, National Nutrition Council as well as Pilipinas Kontra Gutom—to educate parents (moms especially) on how to prepare healthy, delicious, and abot-kayang home-cooked meals for their families.

The brand believes that the greatest weapon one can use in this battle is knowledge. And through its different partners, it is giving moms the ammunition they need to win this battle. 

But what information are they giving out, specifically? Through its partnership with Food and Nutrition Research Institute (DOST-FNRI), for the Nutri-Sarap Nutrition Program, Knorr developed a proprietary 21-day Nutrition Plan that empowers parents to build healthy eating habits for their kids and diversify their family’s diet. The program makes it easier for everyone by telling them exactly what they need to eat and how to prepare them.

In addition to this, the launch of the Nutri-Sarap Nutrition Program also comes with the release of Knorr’s strengthened commitment towards bringing nutrition closer to people through its products. The popular Knorr Sinigang sa Sampaloc Mix Original now contains Vitamin C, while kitchen staple Knorr Chicken & Pork Broth Cubes is now a source of iron. With these developments, Knorr further solidifies its position as a leading force for good nutrition among Filipino families.

And just to prove all that nutrition really is a major factor to success, Knorr recently shared the inspiring stories of three individuals who were able to win against all odds thanks to their moms’ cooking. These are the stories of PBA legend Marc Pingris, multi-awarded educator Teacher Fe, and Doc Otit, the first Tigwahanon Manobo medicine graduate.


All-in-one 'bilao'

The Bento Bilao is a one-of-a-kind “JaPinoy” feast with flavors spanning from “Mabuhay!” to “Kawaii!” The bento includes Max’s Lumpiang Shanghai, Dencio’s Pinaputok na Pancit and 10 pieces of Teriyaki Boy’s Gyoza and eight pieces of its Maki Rolls.
Photo release


Max’s Group, claiming to be the country’s largest casual dining restaurant operating, is introducing an all-in-one Bento Bilao combining Filipino favorites from classic homegrown brands Max’s Restaurant and Dencio’s with signature delights from the group’s Japanese concept Teriyaki Boy. It’s a spread big enough to satisfy the appetites of four to five hungry diners. It starts at P1,099 for take-out.

Orders are exclusively available for take-out and delivery from the following Max’s Group stores: EDSA Eats—Cubao, Taytay, Jupiter, SM Bicutan, Pasig Kapitolyo, Antipolo, Commonwealth Fairview, Tagaytay, SM Fairview, Sumulong, Kawit, Cavite; Las Pinas, Malate, EDSA Caloocan. Delivery orders can be placed through 888-79000 for Metro Manila customers, or online at delivery.maxschicken.com. 

Ready-to-heat meals

These no-cook, easy-to-prepare meals are a good choice for individuals and families who have a limited budget to spend and no time to spare.
Photo release


Officially launched late last year, the various HottaUlam! selections are now for sale in over 2,000 7-Eleven stores in Luzon. Customers can choose from any of the eight HottaUlam! single-serve variants to take home: Rico’s Lechon Binagoongan, Rico’s Lechon Sisig, Pork Laing, two sticks of Pork BBQ, Chicken BBQ, Fried Bangus, Pinakbet, and Ginataang Langka; at P55 to P79 per pack. 

Larger servings for families and barkadas are available too! Ready-to-heat lutong bahay viands such as Pork Steak, Chicken Curry and Beef Caldereta are priced at P159 each and are good for two to three pax. Baliwag Liempo or Lechon Manok are also available at P115 each. 

7-Eleven has always been about making lives easier for the community, moreso during the pandemic when it launched the Bayanihan Savings and Selections initiative, which was to make grocery items available at more affordable prices. Contactless payment methods like CLiQQ app and GCash are also encouraged to further ensure safety.

For Vietnamese food cravings

Claiming to be Vietnam’s #1 Pho Chain, the brand serves authentically delicious Vietnamese pho noodle soup. Each hot bowl is from a secret family recipe with a signature beef bone broth that is slow cooked for eight hours with 24 herbs, spices and flavorful ingredients. Enjoy various toppings like Tender Beef Fillet or Beef Brisket among others. 
Photo release


Satisfying your Vietnamese food cravings is now made easier with PHO24’s new online store. Customers can now place their orders via order.pho24ph.com and enjoy their authentically delicious pho noodle soup favorites while at home or at work.

The new online store has delivery and pick-up options, making the ordering processes more convenient and accessible. As a treat to its valued customers, PHO24 is offering free delivery for all orders placed until September 30.

“Ensuring safety and convenient access to our food remain to be our top priority, especially during these times. Our new online store allows customers to track and customize their orders, choose between pick-up or delivery, and enjoy their favorites with just a few clicks. We will also be offering exclusive promos and discounts in the online store,” said Ned Bandojo, Business Development Head of the brand.

This new online store also covers long distance delivery to select areas in Pasay, Parañaque, Makati, Taguig, Las Piñas, Muntinlupa, Bacoor, Pasig, Pateros, Mandaluyong, Quezon City, Marikina, Rizal, Manila, San Juan, South Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas and Valenzuela.

Apart from its signature pho dishes, their menu also offers flavorful Vietnamese rice meals that include Saigon Fried Chicken, Savory Pork Chop, and Shaking Beef, among others.

Black Pepper Steak arrives in the Philippines

This savory new dish is made up of tender steak slices with freshly chopped string beans, onions, red bell peppers and mushrooms in a flavorful black pepper sauce. With only 180 calories and packed with 19g of protein and plenty of crisp, hand-cut vegetables, Black Pepper Steak is a delectable option for guests who are looking for a balanced and satisfying meal with bold flavors.
Photo release


Panda Express, claiming to be the world’s largest American Chinese dining concept, is adding another highly-anticipated dish to its Philippine menu. Guests can now enjoy its newest wok-seared entrée, Black Pepper Steak, across all of the restaurant's branches in the country. 

“Black Pepper Steak brings a sensorial flavor experience to our guests through the heat and smoke from wok cooking. As you take a bite, the umami and spice from the black pepper sauce lingers on your tongue, further bringing out the flavor of the tender steak. This new core item signifies our commitment to quality by offering fresh ingredients and interesting, bold flavor profiles I’m confident our guests will crave,” said Panda Express Head of Culinary Innovation, Jimmy Wang. 

The Black Pepper Steak can be paired with other entrées and sides such as Panda’s Orange Chicken, Honey Walnut Shrimp, Mongolian Pork and Chow Mein.

Guests can enjoy Black Pepper Steak for takeout and delivery in restaurants located at SM Megamall, SM North Edsa and DD Meridian Park Pasay. 

For delivery transactions, guests may directly order via Facebook Messenger and other food delivery apps including: GrabFood and foodpanda.

Cream O's hexagon box returns, URC marks 65th anniversary with classic treats

Filipinos love to eat. This appetite has turned classic Pinoy treats into go-to snacks to satisfy cravings and food habits. For some, these goodies not only satisfied their tastebuds, but have become part of life’s unforgettable moments.
Photo release


The classic treats you’ve grown to love might just be some of Universal Robina Corporation’s (URC) variety of food and drinks.

Did you know that your fave childhood snack, Chiz Curls, is URC’s first branded snack product? And the kiddie characters in the packaging? They have names: Carl and Curlette! So, the next time you grab a bag of Chiz Curls, remember to say hi to them!

Since the 60s, the crowd-favorite Chippy has been part of barkada trips, recess moments, and weekends at home watching morning cartoons and anime. Good thing it’s always been such an affordable and yummy snack! Speaking of which, Jack 'n Jill named the snack Chippy because it was sold at a friendly price during its launch back then.

Remember the hexagonal box filled with Cream-O you get after finishing all chores or doing great in school? Those were good times, indeed. History tells that the first Cream-O product URC released are the chocolate-coated cookie sandwiches packed in those iconic hexagonal boxes. These are now called Cream-O Premium, a limited-edition Cream-O variant. You can grab this, and many other cookie variants of Cream-O, in select stores nationwide.

Great Taste Coffee has always been one of the Filipinos' go-to coffee brands. This popular coffee brand has many firsts in the Philippine coffee market, pioneering the 3-in-1 coffee mixes and Twin Packs. It is also the first to launch White coffee, a creamier coffee mix formulated to cater to the taste buds of coffee drinkers.

Speaking of coffee, did you know that Blend 45 was the largest-selling coffee brand in the market when it was launched in the 60s? For years, Blend 45 had the monicker “Pinoy Coffee”! So, why not make a mug and enjoy reminiscing the good old times with Blend 45?

Since its launch in 2006, the C2 brand has long been a well-loved ready-to-drink tea of Filipinos. But did you know that apart from the Philippines, there are also lots of C2 fans across Southeast Asia? It’s also quite popular in Vietnam! So, when traveling is allowed again and you get the chance to visit the country, make sure to grab a bottle of some of their unique C2 flavors while you enjoy the sights of your trip! 
Are you busy with school or work? You can brighten up your day with enjoyable treats like Maxx Candy. It is one of URC’s first candy brands launched in 1993. And the late actor, Max Alvarado, was one of the first endorsers of Maxx. 

Filipinos are known to have a sweet tooth with a particular liking to chocolate. One of the go-to sweets of Pinoys is Nips. First launched in the 1960s, Nips is URC’s first branded chocolate. The name came from the reversed word spin, which is the first step in the manufacturing process of these candy-coated chocolate lentils. 

Jack ‘n Jill’s Nova, the first locally manufactured multigrain snack in the Philippines, has made a name for itself amongst the healthy snacks available in the market. Each chip is made from 4 fiber-rich grains making it a delicious guilt-free snack so you can have as much as you want!

Satisfy your cravings for these classic Pinoy snacks the next time you visit the supermarket near you. For a more convenient shopping experience, you can also order these online.
For 65 years, snack and beverage maker URC has been delighting Filipino consumers with good food choices. As an innovator, the company intends to always offer something fresh and delightful for everyone.

Addressing frozen food mix-ups

Filipinos love reusing ice cream tubs as frozen food containers. However, this can lead to frustration for some members of the family, who expectantly open a tub labeled Mango Sorbet to find frozen squid. Or discover chicken legs in a tub that was supposed to be Mint Chocolate Chip. 

Pepsi and BBDO Guerrero are advocating against being shortchanged in their current campaign “No More Maling Akala” (No more disappointments) for the new Pepsi Go bottle which is larger and thus less frustrating than its leading competitor.

"Pepsi is not here to tell you off. Instead, we’re here to turn those frustrations into fun,” shared CSD Marketing Manager, Gutzee Segura. She added that the cola brand wants to make its connection to the younger audience stronger and having executions that are relevant to their truths can help make the brand more relatable to this emerging group of audience.

“It started out as a scene in the video. But it resonated so well we decided to give people the tools to create the customizable labels that would stop the feeling of being short-changed,” said Creative Chairman David Guerrero.

Since its launch, Tubaware’s announcement earned organic engagement roughly 30% higher than the average post, with more and more people sharing it on Facebook, Twitter, TikTok and other social media platforms. Clicks to the website have been  times more effective at 1.8% CTR compared to the usual 0.2%, while a visit lasted 300% longer than the average showing, like the product, just how much of a hit this idea is proving to be. 

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