It was an exciting year for foodies in the Philippines as a couple of international food chains announced their plans to expand to the country—brands including Panda Express, Red Lobster, Popeyes, and Shake Shack. And while Filipinos are happily anticipating the opening of these restaurants, it made us think of all the other foreign food brands we’d absolutely LOVE to also have here in the Philippines.
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So we asked our WIM Squad Facebook community: “What international food brands do you wish would also come to the Philippines?” After all, hey, if we create enough demand, maybe these brands will hear and heed our prayers. 😉
Here are the top 10 brands that got the most votes from our readers!
10. Five Guys Burgers and Fries
Five Guys is a casual restaurant chain whose focus is on hotdogs, burgers, and fries. Although originally from Virginia, USA, Five Guys Burgers and Fries has over 1,000 locations all over the world, and some of our readers think they should open here in the Philippines, too.
But while they’re not in Manila yet, here’s the nearest location where you can try them out: Hong Kong.
9. Trader Joe’s
Trader Joe’s may be a grocery chain rather than a restaurant, but people voted for them and we agree. Trader Joe’s is known for their affordability while maintaining a high-quality standard, and that’s because most of the products they sell are from their own label; not commercial brands.
Where you can find them: Hundreds of stores across USA
8. MOS Burger
If you’ve ever been to Japan then you must have tried or at least heard of MOS Burger. This Japan-based fast food chain is the second largest in their country, next to McDonald’s. Their products are not only affordable, but oh-so-good, too. What we love: their fried chicken, onion rings, and the one you must not miss: the MOS Rice Burger. Yum.
Nearest locations: Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, Indonesia, and South Korea
Technically, we’ve already had A&W here, but they closed their last branch in Manila in 2004. A&W served a typical fast food menu—burgers, fries, onion rings, fried chicken, etc.—but it was for their draft root beer and root beer floats that they were most known for. In fact, the drinks were so good that 14 years after, people still want them back.
Nearest locations: Indonesia, Japan, and soon, Singapore (to open in 2019).
Nando’s originated from Johannesburg, South Africa, but their Portuguese-style peri-peri chicken dishes are what made them famous around the globe, even to Filipinos! The casual dining restaurant has over 1,000 locations around the world, and is worth trying if you ever encounter one while traveling.
Nearest locations: Singapore and Malaysia
5. Whole Foods Market
As the name suggests, Whole Foods is a US-based grocery store that specializes in whole, organic products. If you’re health-conscious, this is the brand for you, as were the people from our community that wishes the grocery chain would open shop here! The products are pretty expensive, but well, you can’t really put a price tag on health.
Where to find them: USA, Canada, and UK
The fifth most-voted food brand by members of our WIM community is American fast food chain Chick-fil-A. The restaurant’s name is a play on the words “chicken fillet”, as they are most known for their chicken sandwiches. Chick-fil-A has more than 2,000 branches in and outside the US.
Where you can find them: USA, Canada, and South Africa
3. Chipotle Mexican Grill
When it comes to Mexican food, you bet it’s Chipotle that Filipinos are calling out for. The American restaurant chain is most loved for two things: their tacos and Mission-style burritos. Two specialties that made them famous, and paving the way to their 2,000 plus locations in North America and in Europe.
Where you can find them: USA, Canada, UK, France, and Germany
2. Ichiran Ramen
Hailed by Forbes as the “best ramen in the world”, it’s clear why a country of ramen lovers (that’s us) would want one of Japan’s leading ramen chains to come to the Philippines. Ichiran Ramen is not only known for, well, their heavenly bowls of the hot broth, they are also one of the pioneers for the solo booth dining concept that is now so popular in Japanese restaurants. (The ramen will be served from behind that native partition in front of you!)
Nearest locations: Hong Kong and Taiwan
1. In-N-Out Burger
And, winner by a landslide, the most voted food brand that our readers want here in the Philippines, is none other than In-N-Out! Surprised? Us, not really. And we also wouldn’t be surprised if they eventually do open here. After all, it seems like they have been testing the waters, opening pop-up stores in Manila a few times in the recent years. If you’re not familiar, In-N-Out Burger is an American chain of fast food restaurants specializing in kick-ass burgers that people absolutely love.
Where to find them: Sadly, you can only find them in six states in the US, although In-N-Out has been teasing the Asian market with “in and out” pop-up stores for the past few years, including Thailand, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and the Philippines.
How about you? What international food brand do you wish would come to the Philippines? Tell us in the comments!