I confess that my son is one of the millions of children raised on fast food french fries. Even I, who had recently gone vegetarian in the hopes of entering a healthier lifestyle, still struggle to resist the siren song of a steaming hot potato strip, deep-fried to a perfect sunshine-yellow crunch outside and creamy mealiness inside, all wrapped up in crispy flakes of salt. It is, after all, a vegetable.
So we headed off to SM Cubao to satisfy his potato craving for our afternoon snack.
Understand your product’s strengths. If you’re selling a classic product, know when to innovate on its best attributes. If not, just crank up its quality to the best that it can be. Either way, it increases your chances of standing out from the competition.
One of my son’s favorite french fry stores is Potato Corner. I recall buying fries from this store well over a decade ago, way back when I was in college, and I’m glad that what was once a small-time operation has grown successfully, with over 300 outlets in the country and 13 outlets in the US — and it’s still growing. This is one of the stores I look back on with a particular fondness because the first time I saw it, my then-boyfriend-now-husband and I deliberated at length on what creature the company’s mascot resembled. Over shared fries, of course.
Fast-forward to this year, my son is now enjoying the same fries I used to as a teenager, only with a wider selection of flavors: plain salted, cheese, sour cream and onion, barbecue, chili barbecue, and wasabi. They also serve seasonal experimental flavors such as vanilla, chocolate, and Italian parmesan, and have expanded their potato product line to hash browns and baked potato.
My son’s favorite flavor is chili barbecue, but he decided to try the wasabi fries. They’re a lovely shade of broccoli stalk green.
This was also my first time to try the variant, and I’m happy to report that it’s delicious. There is definitely that spicy sinus-clearing wasabi kick without the momentary headache that ensues afterward, and the punchy horseradish fragrance wafts gently up your nostrils with each bite.
We needed something cool to wash down the spiciness with, and my eyes landed on a nearby tea stall called Tea-Riffic. Now since the milk tea craze has caught on and looks like it’s staying in the market for a while, countless tea brands and franchises have cropped up all across the country. After you try a few brands they tend to vanish into obscurity, just because there’s too many of them. I’m not even very picky with my drinks nor am I an aficionado of such, but even for an average consumer like me only a handful of tea variants and brands have made it to my favorites.
Naturally, I had my doubts about this new tea brand, so I chose a familiar flavor, wintermelon. And like with the wasabi fries, it was a roaring success.
So far I have tried at least four different brands of wintermelon milk tea — I kept trying it because I couldn’t understand what the hype was all about — and they all ranked middling to me. But not this one. The flavor is a little hard to describe, but if there is an umami category for sweet food, this would definitely fall under that. It’s mildly fruity without being too overpowering, and the sweetness only stays long enough on the tongue for you to recognize the flavor, without the throat-clogging sugariness that is the pitfall of many sweet drinks. It was the kind of drink that made me crave more after each sip. Not many drinks do that to me.
It’s also relatively inexpensive — PhP65 for around 750ml. One cup was enough to quench my and my son’s wasabi-induced thirst. For a business operation still in its infancy, I have fairly high hopes for Tea-Riffic, if they maintain or even surpass their current product quality.
All in all, this is one snack break that is worth repeating. I hope you have also had one today.
CINCO Corporation Head Office
869 Katarungan Street, Barangay Plainview, Mandaluyong City
Telephone no.: (+632) 534-5845/46
Fax no.: (+632) 534-5849
Email (look for Ellaine Bautista): firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Tea-Riffic SM Cubao
Basement food court (fronting SM Supermarket),
SM Cubao, Araneta Commercial Center, Barangay Socorro, Cubao, Quezon City 1109