Esquire's Quest for the Best Damn Bacon in Manila

We pit artisan and supermarket bacon against each other in this meaty taste test.
IMAGE Majoy Siason

Some wise person some indeterminate time ago said the now immortal words: “Everything is better with bacon.” While this may be true, we have to admit that not all bacon is created equal. There are slabs, there are crispy-thin. There are dry-cured, there are air-dried. There are ones with honey, ones with chili, ones that taste like other deli meats. There’s even turkey, but we’re trying to forget that fowl piece of blasphemy.

There’s never any excuse not to indulge in bacon, so, of course, we did. Here’s a rundown of bacon that you might want to stock up on.

Homemade bacon, The Cure, Smoke 'n Sweets, Hormel, Santi's Air-dried Bacon, Santi's Applewood Smoked, New York Classics 

The Cure Artisanal Bacon

All of The Cure’s bacon is smoked in mango wood and they come in three flavors: original, honey maple, and chili honey maple. Notice the easily browned edges? They are a telltale sign of that there’s sweetness lurking amid the saltiness. Cook it low and slow to create that desired crispiness. Once you get to your second strip, things start to get salty. This one works as a garnish, in pasta, or with lots and lots of rice. Go and get some eggs, too.


Contact 0927-310-2917; e-mail [email protected].

Hormel’s Black Label Original Bacon 

Red and white stripes race through each strip of this supermarket find. Nothing much stands out flavor-wise, except that it’s juicier than most thanks to those glossy lines of fat. It also reminds us of grade-school lunch.

Available at Rustan’s Marketplace

Santi’s Air-Dried Bacon

Subtly smoky, and slightly chewy, these ribbons of air-dried pork find themselves somewhere between jamon and jerky. The fat has dried up so those averse to that cushy succulence might prefer the chewiness of this Santi’s product. You can enjoy it as is, but get a bunch of good cheeses, maybe some grapes, a bottle of wine, and have yourself a mini dinner party.

See a list of Santi’s branches.

Smoke ‘n Sweets

This has to be listed under dangerous. Each strip of bacon is a gorgeous two- to three-millimeters thin, a layer of clear fat lining the ruddy pork. It creates the perfect canvas for that crackling texture. What’s impressive about this Sidcor bestseller is that the meaty flavor shines on top of everything else. It’s not so salty that you can’t enjoy them a la chips, but we would totally love this with anything else. Quality bacon, this is it.

Available at Sidcor Sunday Market, Quezon City; [email protected]

House of M’s Applewood Smoked Bacon 

This handcrafted piece of work is slightly sweet and very smokey. The corners curl up and darken—the best bits for sweet and sticky perfection. Each strip is long and wide, with mouthwatering lanes of fat alternating the pork. This bacon isn’t the crunchiest in the bunch, but it would change the way you make homemade pizzas. Not that it’s not good on its own, just the opposite, thanks to that melt-in-your-mouth fat ratio.

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Contact 0917-831-1058; [email protected].

New York Classics 

This grocery-store variety is wonderfully lean, ideal for a post-workout protein sesh. If you’re in a picky mood, this bacon might need a little bit of help. Add it in a meal, preferably with garlic rice and ketchup.

Available at major supermarkets

Santi’s Applewood Layer 

The thin traces of skin on top make this bacon feel more like crunchy liempo. We like how the fat crisps up when it hits the pan, creating a softer, contrasting crunch against the hardy protein.

See a list of Santi’s branches.

Styled by Francis Lim of Nav, Tipple & Slaw; shot on location at Tipple & Slaw, Forum, 7th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City

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About The Author
Sasha Lim Uy
Sasha eats to live and lives to eat. For five years, she handled's food section and edited the last two installments of its Top 10 Food books. She also recently participated at the Madrid Fusion Manila as curator.
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