The now-forgotten fast-food chain has been revived thanks to efforts from social media users!
Now now, we don’t do food reviews, after all this is a tech blog. But I’ll make an exception as I personally want to share my experience with the long-forgotten yet timeless classic restaurant Tropical Hut. It is owned by the same person who created Mercury Drug, a local drugstore in the Philippines. I guess that’s one reason why this 57-year-old restaurant hasn’t died yet, it’s on life support.
It is actually my first time trying out Tropical Hut. The interiors give me an early 90s or 2000s vibes. We’re not sure if that’s really the company’s aesthetic, or if they are really just outdated. Either way, it really needs renovation. We’re hoping that they use all this newly generated hype to improve the quality of food items and renovate their stores, otherwise, the hype will die out and Tropical Hut will fall into obscurity again.
Above are some food items that the restaurant offers on its menu. The prices of these meals are not really that bad to be honest, although if they need to be competitive, they need to adjust their prices similar to what a happy and joyful bee is doing. For instance, the Spring Chicken meal costs Php 208 (approx. USD 4.00) which is actually decent given the size of the chicken, and it’s also served with rice and ketchup dip. Although there should have been more rice so that it is proportionate to the chicken.
The restaurant itself is open for 24 hours which means you can order and eat at the restaurant at any given time. The interiors looked dull and outdated, and as we mentioned, this is probably one of the reasons why the restaurant faded into obscurity up until recently, when it had a spike in popularity, so much that the company is suddenly understaffed and there are order delays. My first impression of it was a poorly maintained convenience store which is not a good sign.
Also, by ‘outdated’, I mean that entering the restaurant feels like travelling back in time, back in the 90s.
WHAT WE ORDERED:
I went to Tropical Hut with my dad and my brother. All in all, the order total was less than Php800 (~USD 15) and for that price, you actually get a full meal that is worthwhile and can really make you feel full. Our order is listed below:
Note: the image above is for illustrative purposes. The Spring Chicken meal does not come with fries but all meals come with a drink. The spaghetti we ordered comes with both fries and drink.
- Double Burger with drink – Php 219
- Spring Chicken with rice and drink – Php 208
- Hawaiian Glee Burger with drink – Php 164
- Spaghetti with Regular Burger and Fries – Php 119
- Large Fries – Php 60
- Iced Tea – Free Upgrade
The Iced Tea that was served from us was originally Coke, but you can replace this with Iced Tea (Nestea Lemon) or Pineapple Juice for free.
FLAVOURS, TEXTURE, QUALITY:
As mentioned earlier, the restaurant got revived thanks to social media hype. Most of the posts actually came from the nostalgia of eating there and how underrated the restaurant is. Due to the company’s poor marketing and outdated atmosphere, it was quickly defeated by the likes of McDonald’s or Jollibee. We don’t think the prices are to blame because they are priced fairly, if not slightly more expensive than its competitors.
The Spring Chicken meal tastes really good and when I told my friends that I would be eating at Tropical Hut, they asked me constantly what it tastes like. It is also the restaurant’s main meal. Overall, it was a solid meal, and for a price of Php208, it’s worth trying and is definitely high quality. The meat isn’t dry in comparison to other restaurants, and it’s quite tasty and juicy, even without the sauces. The skin is crunchy and flavourful. However, one complaint. The rice serving feels insufficient. This can be offset if you order an unli-rice meal although that may depend on the branch.
The Double Burger I ordered is quite large and can actually fill one’s stomach for long periods. It also contains naturally-cooked double beef patties and various vegetables such as lettuce and interestingly, pineapple. It also has cheese to add to the flavour.
The burger itself actually feels soft and satisfying to eat and looks appetizing, but I’m not that fond of the taste or texture. It feels cheap as if coming from a second-rate burger stall. My standards probably got too high after tasting the Big Mac and Burger King’s Whopper, but for a price of Php 219, surely the quality or texture should be on par. Thankfully though, it is actually big and it’s still worth a try. I didn’t manage to taste the regular burger and Hawaiian Glee so I could not form a conclusion in this review.
There is also Spaghetti but they’re nothing special. If anything, it’s comparable to cheap spaghetti in some carenderias but slightly improved. It also looks like the spaghetti shown on every spaghetti sauces’ serving suggestion which isn’t really a bad thing by the way.
The fries (as well as the separate Large Fries side dish) are probably one of the best fries I’ve eaten in a fast-food chain. It is crunchy and flavourful. It is also not as vapid as Jollibee’s or as salty as McDonald’s. The quantity of it is also valuable for its asking price at least for the large fries. The size of each french fry (or chips if you’re British) is typical of other affordable restaurants.
I wanted to order a Macaroni salad but they sadly don’t have stocks of those. What was left was the Tuna salad and I don’t want to order that.
The massive resurgence and attention it got from social media is certainly a great thing. People flocked for nostalgia and there are those like me, a first-timer, who are curious why it suddenly got popular. My colleagues told me that everything in Tropical Hut tastes great, and they’re right. The pricing is not terrible either, and for a total of Php770, it is worth coming back again, just like the company’s slogan says.
However, I can see why it was left into obscurity. The lack of innovation or renovation for their meals. Most felt like it came from a cheap carenderia which makes it feel like the food is quite expensive for the price even if it isn’t. The burger patties aren’t what is seen on the menu illustration and the spaghetti also feels cheaply made. I also forgot to mention that the restaurant does not have its own condiments and instead uses third-party ones. The hot sauce and ketchup, for instance, were made by UFC. Also, the iced tea is not a house blend, it is actually Nestea Lemon, but we’re not complaining since it’s supposed to compete against the likes of Jollibee or McDonald’s. The staff though, is very accommodating and is polite, so that’s a plus
It was a solid experience overall. It’s a restaurant that needs to be updated desperately or the hype will fall flat and the restaurant will again die into obscurity. It also needs to update its marketing tactics as well as spread out in other areas nationwide.
In a nutshell, delicious food but outdated aesthetics, cheap presentation, and badly needs new employees and renovation.
It is pretty much worth to try despite the flaws. It is a solid 7/10 for me.