We Tried Ministop's New Pinoy-Style Fried Chicken; Could It Replace Your Uncle John's Habit?

We tried it in secret and here's what we really think.

ministop fried chicken
PHOTO BY Patricia Baes ILLUSTRATION Warren Espejo

(SPOT.ph) People drop by Ministop for lots of reasons. As a convenience store, they’re stocked up with just about anything and everything you might need—from snacks to drinks to toiletries to hair accessories—and they’ve got branches all around the Metro that are open 24 hours a day. True connoisseurs, however, know that Ministop’s best asset is its Uncle John’s Fried Chicken—the crispy-juicy fried bird that could totally rival even the best-known fast food versions. They sure know a thing or two about chicken—so we couldn’t be more excited to discover that they recently introduced the Pinoy-Style Fried Chicken, and we had to try it ourselves.

In the spirit of full disclosure, note that Ministop is owned by the same conglomerate that owns Summit Media and Spot.ph. This taste test, however, was not sponsored in any way and carried out with no notice made to company heads. 

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Also read: 10 Tasty Eats at Your Friendly Neighborhood Convenience Stores

ministop fried chicken
Meet Uncle John's Fried Chicken's Pinoy-style cousin. (Er.. Mang Juan?) 
PHOTO BY Patricia Baes
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Here's our take on the Pinoy-style version of Ministop fried chicken:

What Makes Chicken Pinoy-Style?

There doesn’t seem to be a consensus on this one—try googling “Pinoy fried chicken” or “Filipino fried chicken” and you’ll be met with different results. Some are similar to Western-style breaded chicken, but with a Filipino-style marinade of calamansi and other ingredients. But there’s the more common style, popularized by the likes of Max’s: One that isn’t breaded, instead highlighting how the chicken’s natural skin crisps up after a go in the deep-fryer. That’s likely the kind of Filipino fried chicken that Ministop is going for, though they do give it their own spin—more on that in a bit.

Ministop’s Pinoy-Style Fried Chicken

With that in mind, let’s dive into Ministop’s newest baby—er, chick—the Pinoy-Style Fried Chicken (P245). We ordered via GrabFood, where it goes for P315 for a whole chicken. Mind you, there’s a 20-minute wait when you order; according to our rider, they fry the chicken fresh.

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The packaging is as no-frills as you can get, as the chicken arrives in the same cardboard box that they use for Uncle John’s Fried Chicken. It also comes with three sachets of Mang Tomas Siga Hot & Spicy Sarsa. From the outside of the box, you can feel that it’s still hot—and once you open it, you’re greeted with a relatively small but substantial whole chicken with a glossy scarlet sheen.

ministop fried chicken
The chicken comes in a box, along with packets of spicy Mang Tomas.
PHOTO BY Patricia Baes

As mentioned, this fried chicken has no breading, so what you get on the outside is just the fried skin. With the exception of some parts (mostly at the bottom, where moisture would expectedly would pile up), the skin is definitely crispy—the kind that makes a faint crackle when you tap or slice into it. There are some charred parts, and some parts are even borderline burnt—but not to the point that they’re bitter. Heck, these extra-crispy parts actually happen to be our favorite.

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ministop fried chicken
It's got glossy, reddish skin with charred areas.
PHOTO BY Patricia Baes

Also read: Top 10 Roast Chicken in Manila (2018 Edition)

Cutting into the chicken—or, let’s face it, diving straight into it with your hands—you get a lot of the meat’s juices. Amazingly, it’s not oily at all; your fingers will be moist with juices alright, but not grease. The meat is truly tender and succulent, which is a beautiful contrast to the thin-crackly skin.

ministop fried chicken
We're fans of the contrast between the crisp, charred skin and juicy interior.
PHOTO BY Patricia Baes
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Things get even more interesting flavor-wise, as you get bites that are part-savory, part-smoky, and part-sweet—somewhat akin to good ol’ lechon manok. It’s also worth noting that this chicken isn’t as salty as many other fried birds out there; not that it's bland, but it's seasoned just right so it's flavorful for sure, but you still get the natural taste of the poultry shining through.

One drawback is that we don’t particularly love it with the Mang Tomas Siga Hot & Spicy Sarsa. The sauce is on the sweet side, and can be a tad saccharine. Our suggested alternative? Try it with a combo of sriracha and calamansi for a kiss of tanginess and heat.

Our Verdict on Ministop's Pinoy-Style Fried Chicken

Ministop's Pinoy-Style Fried Chicken gives you a wonderful combo of thin and crackly skin and succulent meat that's juicy without being oily. With its savory-sweet flavor, it almost evokes lechon manok—but with crispier skin that's well worth praising. Skip the sauce that comes with it and go for our suggested combo above, and you'll be in for a truly amazing meal.

Could the Pinoy-Style Fried Chicken replace your Uncle John's habit? Maybe not—these are completely different styles, and we'll always have a soft spot for the O.G. Rather, it shines in its own right and we can see this becoming a classic for casual meals and small parties in the years to come.

Where to Order

You can catch this chicken at your nearby Ministop shop, or search for Uncle John’s Chicken by Mini Stop on GrabFood. Though it doesn’t automatically come with rice, you can also go for their limited-time special combo, where it comes with four cups of rice and a 1.5-liter bottle of Coke for just P405.

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Ministop has branches at Bank of Commerce, Aduana Building, 409-A Soriano Street, Intramuros, Manila and G/F Glorietta 2, Park Square Drive, Ayala Center, Makati City. For delivery orders, find Uncle John’s Chicken by Mini Stop on GrabFood. For more information, check out Ministop Philippines' Facebook page.

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