If there's one thing that the pandemic showed us, it's that food is essential for everyone. Whether it came from a delivery service, fast food restaurant, or your local supermarket, good food is especially important. Eating and making food was not just for our well-being but also for uplifting our moods. The kitchen was transformed from being a place to eat to a cherished area in our homes, where many of us discovered our love for creating delicious food.
Some of us even learned to be better grocery shoppers because supermarkets and groceries also became more accessible online. Since many of us were prevented from venturing out of our homes to personally make our food choices, the online services for shoppers became essential, too. This made many of us more conscious of our food choices, especially our shopping budgets.
Yummy.ph's Good Food Awards is here to help you navigate all of these "new normal" challenges. We compiled some of the most common and well-loved supermarket food items that many of us keep in stock in our kitchens. These are ingredients for our favorite dishes as well as food that easily make our every task of cooking a meal a delicious and sometimes easy job.
We taste-tested some of our favorite brands in eight common food categories to see which would win a battle of tastes based on these three main criteria:
There's no need to scramble for a shopping list when you have this list of Good Food Award winners:
A kiddie favorite that is just as well-loved among the adults with a sweet tooth, the chocolate scoop-shaped cereal makes a fantastic breakfast as well as a snack. Plus, it's available with white chocolate cereal or in cookie form!
Price: P96, 170-gram box
Salty and creamy with a sharp tang, this timeless favorite cheese spread can be used as more than just a sandwich spread. The spreadable quality makes it also ideal for adding to pasta sauces, soups, and basically any dish which needs a touch of cheese.
Price: P159, 440-gram jar
There's no need to travel all the way to Baguio to get a decent bottle of strawberry jam! This is a great pairing to peanut butter for those who love that nutty-fruity combo in their sandwiches.
Price: P105, 320-gram jar
A boxed mix is a perfect tool for new bakers. This brand is a tried and tested favorite! It's easy to use and results in perfectly fluffy pancakes every time. You can even try the numerous hacks developed during the pandemic to create your own pancake creation.
Price: P63, 500-gram box
What food is just as popular as rice in the morning? Bread! This presliced white bread loaf is the reliable bread that many reach for in the supermarkets. When panaderias stop churning out pandesal, this is the go-to bread to spread with butter and dunk in your coffee cups.
Price: P68, 600-gram bag
Salty enough to be called "corned", this brand of shredded canned beef is a reliable favorite. It's got just enough juices to keep it moist in the can but it also has enough beef fat to help it fry in its own fat without the need to add more oil to the pan. It's even got beef chunks to give it a variety of textures from just pure shreds. The resulting corned beef dish is delicious and meaty, the perfect complement to the cubed potatoes you likely added to the mix.
Price: P171, 380-gram can
When you think of luncheon meat, this is the canned meat you probably think of. With its signature shape, the meat is just as salty as corned beef but with a decided difference: it's usually made with pork, not beef. This makes it extra appealing for the pork-loving Pinoy!
Price: P180, 340-gram can
You may want more tuna in the can but the seasoning of this canned tuna more than makes up for the superior flavor that it's marinated in! The tuna flakes in this can are seasoned in salty and spicy brine. It's a sauce that you won't want to waste. Drizzle it on top of your rice or toss it with pasta for a fast and easy but incredibly tasty tuna pasta.
Price: P42, 180-gram can
You can't beat how affordable this canned fish is! Boasting a classic tomato sauce that's tasty and tangy, the sardines are plump and juicy. Serve it as is with a squeeze of calamansi juice or add it to misua for a unique soup dish.
Price: P21, 155-gram can
A creamy salty cheese that delivers on the cheesy flavor, this is easy to grate as well as add to dishes. Transform a sandwich into a cheesy one with a slice or melt a cup of this into an easy two-ingredient cheese sauce that you'll spoon over nachos.
Price: P50, 165-gram box
Creamy milk is made extra milky in taste when it's been made into evaporated milk. This is a classic can of milk that will make your leche flan milky and creamy at the same time. You can trust that it's milk, not a non-dairy creamer substitute.
Price: P43, 370-ml can
Along with the same brand's evaporated milk, this canned milk is a trusted kitchen staple for all your no-bake desserts. Use this to help transform the eggs in the Brazo de Mercedes into the decadent filling or add a few spoonfuls to deliver the sweetness needed in your desserts.
Price: P57, 300-ml can
Need milk? This is a great choice to pick up! Delicious and creamy in texture, this fresh milk is best chilled when drunk as is or with cereal. It's a great addition to a cup of coffee, especially if you prefer creating a little froth on top.
Price: P87, 1-liter box
If you love the soft buttery taste and texture of real butter, this butter delivers on both counts. The subtle saltiness is perfectly balanced to give this enough flavor to enhance the natural flavor of the butterfat. Perfect for spreading on toast but just as reliable for your cooking and baking needs.
Price: P129, 227-gram bar
You can't go wrong with a hot dog that is a classic kiddie favorite. Tender and juicy, just like its name, these hot dogs are meaty and savory, plus it is tinted red to give it its signature look. These come in various sizes apart from regular, including jumbo and cocktail sizes.
Price: P64, 230-gram pack
A favorite breakfast ulam, serve this sweet and tenderized pork slices with the requisite sinangag and fried egg to enjoy this silog pairing. Remember to caramelize the sugar to achieve that signature sweet taste and charred look! For those who prefer their pork with less fat, there's a fatless version, too.
Price: P74, 220-gram pack
The traditional pairing to your continental pancake breakfast, this bacon is a great balance of flavor: sweet and savory at the same time without being overly sweet unlike the tocino. For those who love the crunch, these pork belly slices crisp up well when cooked perfectly but can still remain soft and tender when undercooked if desired.
Price: P150, 200-gram pack
When it comes to ice cream, sometimes all you need is just one serving to stave off the craving. If your willpower is just enough for one, the creamy vanilla ice cream in this cone is enough. Plus, it doesn't hurt that it is encased in a deliciously sweet and crunchy wafer cone with a chocolate tip for that delightful final bite!
Price: P22, 110-ml cone
You might be transported to your childhood with this classic flavor! This ice cream flavor is still a favorite among those who love their chocolate studded with mix-ins such as the big marshmallows, peanuts, and chocolate bits that it's known for. You'll be glad to know it tastes even creamier than as you remember it.
Price: P250, 1.3-liter canister
This is a departure from the usual ham you might be more familiar with but this budget-friendly ham is widely available with a delicious sweetness that caters to the Pinoy taste. It's even got just enough fat in the ball so that should you want to bake it, it remains moist and juicy, even if it's been pre-sliced for your convenience.
Price: P580, whole, pre-sliced, 1-kilo ball
Also known as queso de bola, this aged cheese is the most popular cheese served during Christmas. It's salty with a burst of umami and tang as an after-taste that's quite delicious. It's got good flavor and feels smooth when sliced.
Price: P589, 600-gram ball
If you're not a fan of the overly sweet syrup of the traditional fruit cocktail mixes, this is a great option for those who prefer their fruits on the lighter side. This makes it easy to drain the syrup from the preserved fruits so you don't end up with a watery fruit salad to serve at Noche Buena.
Price: P58, 432-gram can
When you want a touch of basil and oregano flavors without buying these ingredients on their own, this spaghetti sauce is what you need. Also seasoned with Parmesan cheese, this spaghetti sauce is the tangy pasta sauce choice for those who prefer their pasta not overly sweet. Season to taste with sugar if desired, but the overall consensus is that it's a great basic sauce to start any pasta dish.
Price: P54, 500-ml pack
A time-tested kitchen staple, this all-purpose cream is the no-bake dessert essential, especially during the holidays. It's the ingredient necessary for fruit salads as well as the creamy Pinoy pasta, the cream-based carbonara. Since it's a shelf-stable ingredient that's incredibly versatile for both cooking and baking, it's easy to keep your kitchen stocked up on these early.
Price: P59, 250-gram pack
The original thin noodles are back, but whether you prefer the thicker noodles or the thin, the flavor is what makes this instant noodle choice irresistible. Fast cooking without any fuss, this pancit canton is a late-night meal or an affordable merienda. It definitely packs a flavor punch!
Price: P13, 80-gram pack
Best served with a crispy fried egg on top, this stir-fried noodle is the sweeter version of our pancit canton. The sweetness is from the Indonesian sweet-style soy sauce instead of the salty Chinese sauce. It's delicious as is or leveled up with some shredded cabbage and carrots.
Price: P12, 85-gram pack
No adobo is complete without this important ingredient. A kitchen staple along with its sister condiment, it has the right amount of sourness to give our unofficial national dish that distinctive tang.
Price: P16, 350-ml bottle
Did you know that many of our favorite everyday ulam recipes use tomato sauce? From the fast-cooking giniling na baboy to the calderetang baka, its smooth taste and a strong tomato flavor make our dishes deliciously tangy.
Price: P21, 250-gram pack
There is soy sauce and then there is liquid seasoning. A powerfully umami-loaded seasoning, this incredibly salty aroma is not as salty as it tastes. It's offset by the incomparable flavor that you will instantly recognize in the dish or sawsawan you add it to.
Price: P50, 130-ml bottle
Few sauces are as frequently used as ketchup. This simple dipping sauce is a tasty balance of sweetness, sourness, and umami. It can be used beyond mere the topping for your hot dog. It can play a key role in quick barbecue sauce recipes as well in a variety of recipes that need tomato sauce but without the effort of seasoning it first.
Price: P103, 14-ounce bottle
If there's an ingredient more important in dishes, few can top the ability of the stock cube to deliver overall flavor. Loaded with all the seasonings and the meaty flavors that are present in the liquid version of this concentrated cube, it creates a flavorful canvas for you to elevate with other ingredients. Plus, it's so easy to plop one into the pot for an instantly delicious soup!
Price: PP33, 60-gram pack
The other essential ingredient in almost every adobo recipe, this dark-colored soy sauce is the extremely salty, umami-packed seasoning liquid that perfectly complements the sourness of the vinegar. Whether added to a dish or simply mixed with vinegar for a classic dipping sauce, this soy sauce is one ingredient that is essential to cooking as well as as a condiment on your dining table.
Price: P19, 350-ml bottle
Sweet, tangy, and spicy, this well-loved bottle of faux tomato ketchup is the classic dipping sauce for a Pinoy-style fried chicken and the kamote fries that usually comes with it. Made from bananas instead of tomatoes, the fruity condiment is an important ingredient for pork barbecue marinades and baked macaroni recipes.
Price: P35, 275-ml bottle
Are you guilty of tipping the bag over your mouth when you spy the crushed potato bits in the bottom corners? The potato chips are thinly cut yet ridged to hold the spicy seasoning, making each chip super flavorful. The barbecue seasoning is really the highlight of these local potato chips. It's a testament to the love affair we have with the sweet, tangy, and spicy combination of flavors.
Price: P74, 155-gram pack
Pillowy-soft yet firm enough to not crumble easily, this mamon proves that a simple cake recipe can hold its own in a market full of overly loaded and stuffed snack cakes. It also makes the perfect chiffon cake substitute for those who want to make an easy no-bake crema de fruta this coming holiday season.
Price: P167, 516-gram pack of 12
This local cookie-filled sandwich is made of two super crunchy chocolate cookies with a creamy vanilla filling. It's a childhood favorite that many still prefer! You can't miss that stamped house outline on every cookie face, especially if you twist and dunk instead of immediately biting into it.
Price: P21, 90-gram pack
* All food products are available in major supermarkets in Metro Manila. Approximate prices are listed as of press time.