I had a chance to purchase and try out the new Pepper steaks today offered by the top two fast food chains Jollibee and McDonalds, and here’s what I think about them.

Before they got into the same page, they had different offerings this past holiday season: Jollibee has the Sweet and Spicy Burger steak which is undeniably good, while McDonald’s offered the Chicken Italiana which is just a rehashed version of their chicken fillet meal topped with spaghetti sauce and layers of cheese.

This time around, both offered the same but greatly differ in presentation and characteristic. Both of them are priced the same (Php55 for the basic meal with a free drink).

Jollibee

The Big Bee calls their creation the ‘Pepper Cream Steak’, following a hit success with their barbecue-esque Sweet and Spicy flavor fusion.

This one, on the other hand, has corn on top and is donned with a familiar-tasting sauce (was it a modified gravy recipe?) Either way, the presentation does feel a bit cheap since all have been placed in one plate for you to consume.

Jollibee’s version is quite off balanced as the patty itself is a standout amidst the mixture of components available. It’s flavorful enough that it overpowers the sauce, and you’d feel like you’re eating Chickenjoy instead.

I have to admit, the corn kernels on top are a nice addition since it provides that bit of sweetness which does wonders for awhile, but the burger patty’s flavor can’t make that a saving grace. The sauce, too, isn’t thick enough that it still reminds me of gravy more than of a Pepper Steak sauce. Rice also leans on the mushy soft side, which might turn off a few diners.

Pros: More drink choices (Iced Tea!), Corn Kernels are a sweet treat
Cons: Mushy rice, overflavored burger patty, gravy-based sauce

McDonald’s

The Pepper Burger Steak Meal from the Golden Arches feature a mushroom soup-based sauce with added spices for a rich aroma right out of the counter, with a few mushrooms on top.

It’s very unusual for me to say this since I’ve long eaten at a McDonalds, but the flavors are well-balanced and would get you hooked if you’re a fan of the chain’s mushroom soup. Too bad, the taste made me want it a bit stronger since it’s a bit on the bland side. Nonetheless, it’s a good choice of ingredients.

The rice was cooked really well, and the cream is thick enough to add a layer of texture to an otherwise dry burger patty.

Pros: Well-balanced flavors
Cons: Only soft drinks available for meal set. (you’ll need to shell our more for tea/juice), overall flavor is a bit bland for my liking.

So, who wins?

Overall, I found the McDonald’s Pepper Steak a lot better than Jollibee’s. This, from a die-hard Jolli(bae) fan who loves to dine with Chickenjoy once in awhile. We’ll see more seasonal offers from both chains as the year progresses (Lent is around the corner so we might have those Tuna Pies again, finally).

Which one do you like more?