Words by Oriana Cuenca
Life gets busy and not everyone has the time to cook or even go to a restaurant. Sometimes even fast-food chains are out of reach for those rushing out of the house with only 15 minutes left to spare. When time (and money) is low, there will always be one unlikely place for a very quick meal: the convenience store.
While it’s far from a gourmet lunch, you could be out of the store within 10 minutes with a filling meal and some change to spare. Food in these places isn’t all about cutting corners. If you look hard enough, even the humble convenience store has some hidden gems. Here are some ideas to put together your own 3-course meal with Php 200 or less.
1. Appetizers and Snacks (Php 20 -Php99)
7-11’s Ham and Cheese Fried Bread (Php 20)
It’s far from healthy, but there’s something about the crunch of bread stuffed with ham and cheese that makes it a satisfying snack. The fried bread is served warm over the counter, and you’ll find the golden snack to be light and fluffy on the inside.
FamilyMart’s California Maki (Php 99/6pcs)
California Maki is the kind of dish that can be wolfed down while rushing to the elevator. The imitation crab, mango, and cucumber wrapped in rice is a mini-meal with every bite. The California Maki is the definition of food on the go.
Mini Stop’s Kariman (Php 28)
A Kariman is Mini Stop’s version of a flat fried sandwich with sweet and savory fillings. Mini stop has had many different flavors throughout the years. Pepperoni and Cookies and Cream have been some of the public favorites.
7-11’s Big Bite Hot Dog Sandwiches (Php 25-35)
7-11 claims that its Big Bites are “Gram-for-gram and peso-per-gram the best and most sulit hotdog sandwich in the Philippines”. It’s a bold claim to make, but these sandwiches are surprisingly juicy and great for a quick snack on the go.
2. Main Course (Php 29 – Php 155)
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Mini Stop’s Uncle John’s Fried Chicken (Php 85/1pc, Php153/2pc)
Fast-food chains are usually the kings of fried chicken, but Uncle John’s Fried Chicken is a rising star. The 1pc chicken comes with rice and gravy, the two staples of Philippine fried chicken. This convenience store meal has such a loyal following that Uncle John’s Fried Chicken is even available for delivery through food delivery apps.
FamilyMart’s Katsudon (Php 155)
Japanese food is known in the Philippine for its mild flavors and steep price tags. Recently, restaurants have been popping up to give everyone a taste of Japanese cuisine. FamilyMart has a selection of budget Japanese meals that can be ready in 10 minutes tops. FamilyMart’s Katsudon is heavy in the stomach and comes with the flavored egg that makes Katsudon stand out from other chicken chops dishes. While it’s far from the authentic experience, these meals are definitely satisfying.
7-11’s Pork Sisig Busog Meal (Php29)
A decent meal for less than 50 pesos? 7/11 has the answer to that. The convenience store has several packed and ready to eat meals for Php 29. The Busog meals usually come as rice topped with either Pork Sisig or Pork Giniling, but there’s also a Tuna omelet for something a little healthier
3. Dessert (Php 25 – Php42)
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FamilyMart’s Chocolate Walnut Cookie (Php 42/pc, Php 240/6pcs)
If there’s a convenience store find that can truly be called delicious, this is it. FamilyMart’s Chocolate Walnut Cookie is surprisingly loaded with chocolate chips. It’s a large cookie, and its price tag makes every bite that much more satisfying. FamilyMart also has a Dark Chocolate Chip Cookie (Php42) that is every bit as good without the nuts.
Lawson’s Ice Cream (Php 25)
Lawson changes its ice cream selection every few months, and it’s always interesting to see what new flavors they’ll come up with. Lawson has had some fancy flavors like Sweet Caramel, Green Tea, and Bamboo Charcoal. The soft serve is a sweet treat on a hot day, and the large wafer cone is what really makes it worth it. It’s not quite as creamy as gelato but it’s a quick dessert that’s a quarter of the price.
Three course meals don’t always need a four-digit budget. Convenience stores have the kind of fast, filling, and even tasty food accessible to anyone on a budget.
Which one’s your favorite? Let us know!