THE CORNED BEEF BATTLE
Often cooked ginisa-style (sautéed with garlic and onion), corned beef is a staple Filipino breakfast. It is delightfully flavorful which typically has a considerable amount of brine with few herbs and spices. I love corned beef. I love that it melts in my mouth in every spoonful. I love when it gets a bit crispy after sautéing it. I love that it goes well with sinangag (Pinoy fried rice).
When I was having my usual corned beef breakfast with my friend, she told me about her new discovery – Highlands Gold, the new corned beef in town. This new corned beef is a premium offering from Highlands Corned Beef. Though premium in quality, I am glad it won’t leave a hole in my wallet as it is priced at par with the usual and popular corned beef brand. Although I’m already used to my nakasanayang brand, I wanted to give this new corned beef product a try when my friend described her very pleasant experience with it.
And so I tried Highlands Gold. Looking at the can, I saw that it is not only made from 100% pure beef, it is also made with Angus beef. Of all the corned beef products in the supermarkets, I believe only Highlands Gold is made with Angus beef. Knowing that Angus has a distinct marbling that makes it naturally flavorful and tender, I had high hopes for it. How will this new product stand against my nakasanayang corned beef? Is it worth the big switch? Why my friend, who has the same nakasanayang corned beef brand as I do, is suddenly raving about it?
Finally, I had the chance to compare the appearance, quality, taste and price of the two corned beef products – Highlands Gold vs. Brand X (nakasanayang corned beef brand). Based on these, I also came with overall rating. Here’s my honest verdict –
Looking at the corned beef in the can, I can clearly see the difference. In terms of corned beef strands, Highlands Gold appears to have leaner, meatier, and longer beef strands than Brand X. I am surprised to realize that Brand X, my nakasanayang brand, has significantly thinner and shorter strands. Meanwhile, in terms of oil, Highlands Gold has a thin layer of white substance (I suspect this comes from real Angus) while Brand X appears to be more oily and has small pellets of fat. These pellets of fat remind me of hardened cooking oil I normally experience and see when in Baguio. Lol.
Upon pouring contents in a plate, I notice white strips in Brand X. Upon further examination (I really took time to figure out what these are), I realize these could be litid or ligaments. There are a lot. I tried squeezing these in my fingers; these would not break apart which tells me these should not be eaten. Now, I remember the times I would take these out of my corned beef during breakfast meals. On the other hand, my impression of Highlands Gold after pouring in plate is similar to how I see it in the can. Well, one thing that became more apparent is the product’s leaner and longer beef strands when I had the product in plate. See actual picture.
Both Highlands Gold and Brand X claims to be made from 100% pure beef. The only difference is that Highlands Gold has additional claim – it is made with Angus beef. Angus is renowned for its perfect quality that’s why it is always sought after in steak houses. Angus is second to none.
I really hate extenders in food. Whenever I learn that the food I eat has extenders, I usually feel cheated especially if the product is priced at premium. Comparing the two products, I suddenly realized how my nakasanayang corned beef always have the white strips – litid or ligaments – which I subconsciously remove from my corned beef. Is this an extender?
In the actual picture above, you can clearly see the quality of beef strands Highlands Gold has. After cooking the corned beef, I just can’t wait to get a forkful of this lovely comfort food in my mouth.
I finally did a taste test of the two corned beef products. I must admit that Brand X has the usual and familiar taste. While Brand X does not taste bad at all, I became a believer of Highlands Gold the moment I tasted it. Oh my, my friend was absolutely right! Highlands Gold has natural and rich beefy taste. I say natural because the flavor does not seem to come from added spices. Highlands Gold does not have complicated flavors; it is just beefy as it should be. When I bite on it, the natural beef taste is coupled by juiciness in every strand too. I am beginning to love this corned beef with Angus. This must be the Angus effect!
In the supermarket I went to, Highlands Gold and Brand X have the same prices at P87.50 for the 210-gram can. Though the prices are the same, one gave me better value for money when I made this side-by-side test comparison. Highlands Gold is really a discovery.
Just when I thought corned beef cannot get any better and cannot be elevated anymore, Highlands Gold arrives. Made with Angus beef, it brings breakfast and comfort food dining to the next level.
I am actually surprised with how this taste test comparison turned out. Who would have thought that a new brand will win me (and my friend) over? Well, I realized that the competition among food manufacturers can be beneficial to us, the consumers. With competition, each would always try to give the consumers the best value for their money. In this case, Highlands Gold, the new corned beef brand that challenges my nakasanayang corned beef, just gave me more. It gave me a whole new level of corned beef experience!
Days after my taste test comparison, I met the same friend who introduced me to Highlands Gold over lunch this time. As I was narrating my Highlands Gold experience, she quickly told me she has a more recent discovery. Another corned beef? No. “Piolo!” she blurted. I learned later on that Piolo is the endorser of Highlands Gold when she showed me its new commercial in Facebook. Watch it here –
Highlands Gold wins in all aspects – appearance, quality, taste and overall rating. Piolo, their endorser, double-sealed the deal. I’m happy I made the big switch.