Is corned beef good? Well, corned beef is probably one of the more popular non-native foods in the Philippines, along with Vienna sausage. We personally eat corned beef for breakfast with garlic rice and sometimes, we eat it with freshly baked pandesal, either for breakfast or for merienda. There is now even a corned beef silog breakfast meal. So the answer to the question “Is canned corned beef good?” is simply yes. This canned meat has definitely made its mark in the Philippines.
There are many different brands in the market, but what is the best canned corned beef? And by the best, we mean the best-tasting one. To spare you the trouble of answering this question, we got seven brands from the grocery to try. Why only seven? Well, for two reasons. One, it was honestly a super random selection, and two, we spotted only these canned beef brands. It’s that simple.
What is corned beef and why is it popular in the Philippines?
What is corned beef in can? Or as a more basic question, what is corned beef? So food news flash, it’s not “corn beef”, it’s “corned beef”. The corn part refers to the large grains or “corns” of rock salt used to cure the beef. The corns of rock salt are probably why corned beef is also known as beef salt or salt beef.
Corned beef became popular in the Philippines during World War 2, a theory according to this blog. American soldiers gave out their corned beef rations. Because Philippine meat is usually hard, the softness of the corned beef made it popular. It being in cans and being easily transportable was also a factor. And of course, the beef is imported, and we all know Filipinos love imported stuff.
How did we judge the corned beef in can brands?
Now that you know a little trivia about the Filipino canned corned beef preference, let’s go to the taste test.
For this taste test, we kept it simple: we just based it on the taste of each brand. We didn’t use any fancy cooking style and we did not use an air fryer or instant pot. We just fried each brand in a pan to heat it up. And if you’re wondering, “Is corned beef in a can already cooked?”, the answer is yes. We just like to eat hot food.
To avoid any biases, we didn’t eat any of the brands with bread, pasta, rice, onion, garlic, or cabbage. We didn’t use any salt and pepper, bell pepper, black pepper, or any other additional flavoring. Our basis was simply the taste of each one.
We did not take photos of each product out of the can because aside from some color differences, corned beef has the same general appearance. And again, since we just judged based on taste alone, the look wasn’t really important to us, although we will comment on the packaging. But that doesn’t affect the final output. Finally, we were not paid by any brand to conduct this test.
Without further ado, here are our taste test results.
The different corned beef in can brands
Price – Php32; Weight – 150g
For us, Argentina has the most brand recall among the brands here. We don’t know why. Maybe it’s because of that song by Madonna. However, it also has the bad luck of its label looking almost like the Star brand, with both having yellow stickers. Upon taking a bite, we immediately tasted the saltiness of this brand. It wasn’t really unpleasant, but it would have been better if there was more meat instead of salt. How the makers cured it is probably the reason for its saltiness. We would have probably been able to finish it if we ate this brand with vegetables. Or with rice. Or bread. Anything that would have offset the saltiness.
Price – Php219; Weight – 326g
Palm canned corned beef definitely scored some uniqueness points with us right away. While all the other brands are in tall, cylindrical cans, Palm is in a flatter cylinder. It also caught our attention with the weird weight (really, 326? Not 325 or 330?) and the most expensive price out of all the other brands we bought. What did it taste like? Palm corned beef is less salty compared to the other brands we tasted. It’s kind of bland, in fact. Of course, if you’re the kind of person who doesn’t like their beef bland, you might not be a fan of this. It’s also a bit juicier than the other brands. If you don’t like that part, just heat up the beef until it becomes crunchy.
3. Swift Premium
Price – Php74; Weight: 150g
The packaging of Swift definitely caught our eye. It was definitely different from all the others with its nice and warm design. We felt that we would taste something good, thanks to the label design. And Swift is actually pretty good. It’s flavorful without being overwhelming. The price and weight also give it awesome value for money. However, we wouldn’t exactly call it premium. It’s good and the meat is pretty good quality, but it just lacks that certain something when it comes to taste. We can’t quite put our finger on it. But it’s definitely worth a try.
Price – Php179; Weight – 380g
We associate Delimondo with two things: corned beef, white can. The simple and minimalist packaging of this corned beef in can belies the amazing taste! It’s the most flavorful of the bunch in this taste test. You can just taste how premium this brand is. The can is fully packed with meat. It also doesn’t feel scrimped. The delicious meat definitely justifies the price. Our only regret is that we finished the whole can because it left us wanting more. It was that good. If it’s in your grocery budget to splurge, we can definitely recommend splurging on this brand. Buy a can… or even two.
Price – Php30; Weight – 150g
As we already mentioned, Argentina and Star have similar-looking labels. Star just has a more solid yellow one. And just like Argentina, Star has a very good brand recall. Anyone here who hasn’t encountered Star Margarine and its commercials back in the day? We didn’t think so. And just like the margarine brand, this corned beef supposedly has health benefits. We don’t know about health benefits, but we do know that again, just like Argentina, it’s also very salty. As in we would have preferred to also eat it with anything that would make us forget about its saltiness. Maybe it would be a hit with other people who like salty food, but it definitely was not for us.
6. Cattle Co.
Price – Php165; Weight- 380g
This is one we would say that would be directly competing against Delimondo. It’s actually a pretty new brand to us. This is a brand we have not seen before. The corned beef, red can slash black can… The packaging alone says that it’s premium. We were expecting a taste that was quite like Delimondo, and we were not disappointed. It also has a great flavor, and the can was also full of genuine meat. However, the flavor was not like the level of Delimondo. Think of it this way: If Delimondo’s taste was level 5, Cattle Co. was only level 4. The margin is that narrow. It’s also definitely a must-try, even if just once.
Price – Php71; Weight – 150g
Purefoods is a popular brand in the Philippines and is definitely a classic favorite. If you happened to be searching for recipes using corned beef in a can, we can bet that for most of your life, you would have been using Purefoods. And just like Swift, the taste is definitely not bad. We think it’s definitely one of the more delicious ones we tasted. It’s a good mix of saltiness and good-tasting meat. However, just like Swift, there’s just something that prevents it from being premium. It definitely wins in the nostalgia department though.
Which corned beef in can reigned supreme?
As with all competitions, there can be only one winner. And after tasting all of them, we conclude that the best canned corned beef is… Delimondo.
One conclusion we can make is that the pricing directly corresponds with the taste – at least, in this case. We did not deem Palm the winner because its taste was blander than that of Delimondo’s. It’s also actually more expensive and has a smaller amount of grams. But anyway, we do understand that not everyone is willing to pay a higher amount for canned corned beef. If you do want some good-tasting corned beef in a can with just the right price, we recommend either Purefoods or Swift.
Of course, if you’re not a fan of canned meat, well, we do have an all-natural meat processing class for you. And for other baking and cooking classes, make sure to enroll now at The Bailiwick Academy!