Chicken nuggets are one of the all-time favorite, go-to convenience foods. Processed nature aside, they’re vouched for by moms and dads for their affordability and ease of preparation (just fry or bake and serve with rice—a godsend when prepping baon on weekday mornings), but also by kids and adults for their comforting umami-packed character.

We’ve tried versions from fastfood joints and convenience stores, but of the different brands available in the supermarket, which bag should you stock up on?
Note: We cooked all nuggets according to their brands’ respective package instructions. (Note that some but not all brands recommend toasting in the oven; the cooking method that was common across all brands was pan-frying or deep-frying.) We also tasted the sauces wherever provided, going for the Barbecue sauce variety for uniformity.

Bingo

For lovers of luncheon meat. | Php39.75/200g

Texture: Coming as small (roughly 2″x1″) rectangles, Bingo’s nuggets are dense within, having a hint of fibrousness but a mostly doughy, pasty consistency that’s dry and floury.

Taste: It’s savory and meaty-tasting, but not distinctly chicken-y (even though the ingredient list confirm it’s made with chicken). The flavor hovers closer to that of pork, reminding us of luncheon meat—but with an odd, paste-like note to it.

This brand does not come with sauce.

CDO Barn

Not the most realistic, but utterly nostalgic in its processed, nugget-y nature. | Php64/200g

Texture: Within these star-shaped nuggets are a filling that’s also dense and chewy, but not nearly as floury as Bingo’s. While there’s slightly elastic, bouncy quality to it (somewhat like a hotdog), there’s still enough coarseness to it that it somewhat evokes the idea of meat.

Taste: While it doesn’t taste distinctly of chicken, it’s savory and meaty-tasting with ample umami, which can feel exaggerated (almost as if they mixed in powdered broth to enhance the taste) but makes for a full-flavored sensation. The effect is slightly reminiscent of hotdogs, minus the sweetness.

This brand does not come with sauce.

Fat & Thin

More like dimsum than chicken nuggets, but we dig it. | Php156.20/400g

Texture: Fat & Thin’s nuggets come in pieces that are inconsistent in shape, but are bigger and fatter compared to that of the other brands. It has a uniform consistency within, similar to fishballs or streetside siomai, but much more moist and spongy that you won’t need sauce to go with it.

Taste: The fishball-esque characteristic rings true here as well. It flaunts being made of chicken breast and there’s some chicken-y flavor there, but you also get a vegetal (somewhat chive-y) zestiness to it—and though it could be our minds playing with us, a sweet fishy or shrimpy umami character comes through too. It’s great for what it is, but the sum total of all flavors better evokes streetside kikiam than chicken nuggets.

This brand does not come with sauce.

Purefoods Crazy Cut Fun Stuff

Be the envy of all your friends with their crazy-fun shapes, we guess?? | Php78/200g

Texture: Clearly marketed towards kids, you get different shapes of nuggets here—from triangles to stars (and even hearts). It’s similar to CDO Barn’s in consistency, but much juicier, and it feels a touch more coarse and spongy in a way akin to homemade meatloaf.

Taste: Flavors in general come mild here; for starters, its crust is bland. Inside you’ll find a light meatiness—one which also isn’t specifically chicken-y—and it’s significantly less salty than the other brands, ending on a relatively sweet note. The overall taste reminds us of red hotdogs, as with CDO Barn’s, but more mellow.

Sauce: The accompanying barbecue sauce stays goopy, even from the freezer. While it lacks the smokiness of what we consider a good barbecue sauce, it provides a great balance between sweetness and sourness. But it tastes a tad sugary with the already-sweet nuggets—we’re even left looking for salt or Knorr seasoning for balance.

Purefoods Chicken Breast

A tad salty, but the most realistic-tasting of the lot. (If anything though, its breading has the tendency to come loose and get soggy whether the nuggets are fried or toasted.) | Php78/200g

Texture: This slightly more upscale offering from Purefoods offers the most realistic, homemade feel from the appearance alone, bearing varying irregular shapes. While the consistency is generally uniform and somewhat smooth (as with Fat & Thin’s), you feel a sense of fibrousness in some parts. And though juicy, it offers more resistant bite similar to actual chicken breast (when not overcooked).

Taste: While these nuggets are on the salty side, they’re also the clearest, most distinctly chicken-tasting of the lot—tasters even point out that it comes close to evoking McDonald’s famed version.

Sauce: A packet of what turns out to be exactly the same sauce as the Crazy Cut Fun Stuff nuggets accompanies each package. Its sweet-sour profile works much better here, helping temper the nuggets’ saltiness in this case.

Swift Mighty Meaty

Not only do these tiny nuggets not resemble the product on the packaging in any way, they’re also our least favorite taste-wise (sorry Swift—we do love their hotdogs though!) | Php67/200g

Texture: These are the tiniest nuggets of the lot, coming as rectangular wads that are even smaller than Bingo’s. It has an especially firm consistency (akin to a rubber eraser), and a more spongy but dry quality that reminds us of Filipino tokwa (but even denser).

Taste:  Swift’s take on chicken nuggets bear a less chicken-y, more pork-y taste that’s at salty and umami enough. But it ends with an out-of-place sweetness and overwhelming fattiness, resulting in a sensation that reminds us of sweet longganisa or tocino.

Sauce: The so-called “barbecue sauce” that comes with this bears a goopiness similar to Purefoods’. With less tartness than Purefoods’ version though, it tastes less like a barbecue sauce and more like a brown sugar-heavy ham glaze. It does wonders to cover up the nuggets’ unpleasant flavor, but we don’t particularly dig the sweet-on-sweet combination.

The Verdict: Purefoods Chicken Breast

With its clear chicken taste (sauce or no sauce, it’s great) and almost-homemade feel, Purefoods’ Chicken Breast Nuggets are a standout. Meanwhile, though very different with its great meaty flavor and more processed, chewy texture, CDO Barn comes in second place for us. Also on the tasty end—albeit more akin to kikiam than chicken—is Fat & Thin’s.



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