looloo’s Siopao Blind Taste Test: Convenience Store Edition

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In our attempt to figure out who has the best siopao in Metro Manila, we did a Siopao Blind Taste Test: Quick-Service Edtion, pitting Chowking, Hen Lin, and Kowloon House against each other.

But then we realized–what about the convenience store siopaos?? They’re the ones we grab for breakfast when we’re running late for work, as well as for merienda when we’ve only got a few minutes to spare!

The Contenders

The Contenders

So yes, we stuffed ourselves silly with siopaos yet again because it was the fair thing to do (but mostly because we had A LOT of fun doing the first BTT). Read on to find out who bagged first place in our Siopao Blind Taste Test: Convenience Store Edition!

The Rules

The three most widely-accessible convenience stores in the country are 7-Eleven, Family Mart, and Ministop. And they all happen to have siopao, making them the perfect competitors for this blind taste test. To keep things equal, we ordered asado siopao from all the three places.

With blindfolds on throughout the entire taste test, judges Gwen I., Pam L., Peanut D., and Roegan T. of the looloo crew were only allowed to touch, smell, and taste the siopaos to determine if they were a hit or a miss.

Judges

The Judges

Using the same criteria as we did for the quick-service edition, the new set of siopaos were judged based on their 1) bun, 2) filling, 3) bun-to-filling ratio, 4) sauce, and 5) value for money. The lowest possible score for each criterion was 1 and the highest was 5.

The Results

The outcome of the BTT was a surprise even for the judges themselves! They already had their own winners in mind even before they began the taste test but they were shocked to find out that they had given low scores for their favorite and high marks for the one they least liked. Which goes to show that being blindfolded really does get rid of biases!

Siopao #1: 7-Eleven

7-Eleven

7-Eleven’s asado siopao

Criteria Peanut D. Gwen I. Pam L. Roegan T. Average Score
Bun (airiness, flavor) 4 4.5 4 4.5 4.25
Asado Filling (flavor, consistency) 4 4.5 3.5 3.5 3.875
Bun-to-Filling Ratio 4 5 4.5 5 4.625
Sauce (flavor, consistency) 4.5 5 4.5 4 4.5
Value for Money 5 5 5 5 5

The common consensus for 7-Eleven’s siopao bun was that it was just the right density. It wasn’t too soft nor was it too firm. They didn’t give it a perfect score though because they were looking for a little sweetness which they didn’t get from it.

7-Eleven

As for the asado filling, they found it tasty save for the lumpy bits. “There were huge chunks of meat that were very dry. It’s weird to bite into a huge chunk of pork like that. But I would have to say it’s pretty good, “ said Peanut D.

The judges were impressed with the bread-to-filling ratio, saying the siopao was perfectly balanced. And they were just as happy with the sauce which they said was sweet and served as the perfect complement to the bun and meat.

Siopao #2: Family Mart

Family Mart

Family Mart’s asado siopao

Criteria Peanut D. Gwen I. Pam L. Roegan T. Average Score
Bun (airiness, flavor) 3 3 3 3 3
Asado Filling (flavor, consistency) 3.5 3 3 3 3.125
Bun-to-Filling Ratio 3 2 2 1 2
Sauce (flavor, consistency) 2 1 1 1 1.25
Value for Money 4 4 4 4 4

Family Mart’s siopao bun didn’t fare as well as 7-Eleven’s. “The first one was way better. This one was bland. It’s not even siopao bun. It’s just bread,” said Roegan T. It got a rating of 3 across the board.

The asado filling left much to be desired as well. The judges noted that while the flavor was pretty good and it didn’t have dry chunks like 7-Eleven’s, there was just too much fat and not enough meat.

Family Mart Asado

As for the bread-to-filling ratio, everyone found that there was an overwhelming amount of bread versus filling. Peanut D. said that all she got was a mouthful of bun when she first bit into her siopao.

The sauce? Well, there’s a funny story behind that. The Family Mart branch we went to didn’t have any siopao sauce so they gave us chili sauce instead (yes, the one they use for their lumpia). The judges decided to try it out anyway but they all came to the conclusion that chili sauce should NEVER be put on asado siopao. Props to Family Mart though for thinking of an alternative!

Siopao #3: Ministop

Ministop

Ministop’s asado siopao

Criteria Peanut D. Gwen I. Pam L. Roegan T. Average Score
Bun (airiness, flavor) 3 3 3.5 3 3.125
Asado Filling (flavor, consistency) 2 3 3 3.5 2.875
Bun-to-Filling Ratio 3 2 3.5 2 2.625
Sauce (flavor, consistency) 3 3 2.5 3 2.875
Value for Money 4 4 3.5 4.5 4

According to the judges, Ministop’s siopao bun didn’t really taste like anything. They also said that it was way too thick and wasn’t as soft as the other two siopao buns. As Gwen I. put it, it was nothing special.

The asado filling didn’t get much love either. “The filling was too fatty. I didn’t get any actual meat. It was just fat and sauce,” said Pam L. The judges were pleasantly surprised though when they discovered that they had salted egg in their siopaos, which they admitted was a nice touch.

Ministop Asado

As for the bread-to-filling ratio, they all agreed that the bun overpowered the meat. Peanut D. did point out, however, that if you’re looking for a filling meal, this siopao could be a good option.

The sauce, which everyone found to be ordinary, didn’t really help boost Ministop’s overall score.

Aaaaaand the first place goes to…

Criteria #1 7-Eleven #3 Family Mart #2 Ministop
Bun 4.25 3 3.125
Asado Filling 3.875 3.125 2.875
Bun-to-Filling Ratio 4.625 2 2.625
Sauce 4.5 1.25 2.875
Value for Money 5 4 4
TOTAL SCORE 22.25/25 13.375/25 15.5/25

There’s no debating who the winner is for the Siopao Blind Taste Test: Convenience Store Edition. Beating its competitors in all the categories and garnering a total of 22.25 points, 7-Eleven’s asado siopao is the looloo crew’s winner of choice! Ministop, collecting a total of 15.5 points, comes in at second place. While Family Mart, with a total of 13.3 points, comes in at third place.

But of course, it’s totally fine if you have your own siopao favorite. Whether you’re a suki at 7-Eleven, Family Mart, or Ministop, go ahead and enjoy that siopao!

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About Author

Denise Jose

Denise is a recovering food addict. She distracts herself with photography and keeps off the pounds by doing pilates. She is still struggling, however, and has occasional relapses. Her food comas are mostly induced by oily burgers and chocolate desserts.