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May 15, 2020

Where to get your Ube Cheese Pandesal while on Enhanced Community Quarantine

People seem to have more time on their hands during this enhanced community quarantine and a lot are starting to explore their skills and talents be it in business, arts, crafts, cooking and baking. A popular trend is the rise of home-bakers offering their own version of the much talked about Ube Cheese Pandesal.


The classic pandesal made special by adding two ingredients most of us Pinoys love- UBE & CHEESE.

While not everyone have the resources and skills to bake their own breads at home, you'd be happy to know that a lot of online sellers and home-bakers are just around your neighborhood offering these warm and pillowy-soft ube cheese pandesal. 

Here's a list on where to get your Ube Cheese Pandesal fix (for every budget) during this ECQ.

Premium

Justyn Cafe Philippines (Quezon City)
Php600/dozen (Php50/piece)




Justyn Cafe's Ube Pandesal with Melted Cheese does not come cheap. At Php50 per piece, one could only hope for the best-tasting ube cheese pandesal there is. You don't have to worry though as Justyn's version comes with only the best and premium ingredients- we are talking about fresh, homemade halaya combined with a gooey melted cheese in the center. No skimping on ingredients here as Justyn Cafe offers one of the most generous servings of halaya and cheese around. Given that the size of their pandesal is huge, you can still expect a hefty serving of ube-cheese filling in every bite. 


What I liked about Justyn Cafe:
generous servings of halaya and cheese, big-sized pandesal, chunky and fresh homemade halaya filling, gooey melted cheese, responsive and was able to serve my orders the next day, value for money

Kennedy Kitchen (San Juan)
Php300/half-dozen (Php50/piece)


Having the same price point as Justyn's (Php50 per piece), I had my expectations set high for this new purveyor Kennedy Kitchen. Judging from its social media account, the business was started during this ECQ. I got enticed with their ube cheese pandesal photos online that I just had to try them out. Good thing Kennedy Kitchen offers a half dozen option for those who don't want to commit on getting a dozen. When I received my order, first thing I noticed was the little detail most people tend to overlook-the packaging. It came in a little gold flip box with a neat purple ribbon on the center and a business card attached to it. For a new online seller to pay close attention to these small details, you can clearly see passion in the business. 


The size of their ube cheese pandesal was relatively smaller, but still heavy with the fillings inside. The bread was more compact and less airy, but still soft and fluffy. I like that there was sweetness to the bread, but some may find it too sweet. Kennedy Kitchen's version was also oozing with generous servings of their homemade halaya and melted cheese. If you're a cheese lover, you can't go wrong with this one. 



What I liked about Kennedy Kitchen:
overall flavor combination, generous servings of halaya and cheese, homemade halaya, sweetness from the bread, gooey melted cheese, responsive and accommodating seller, got orders the next day

Sweet Life by Ange (Makati) 
Php600/dozen (Php50/piece)



The Sweet Life by Ange is no stranger to me. I've tried a few of their products throughout the years from cupcakes, to sweet bars, to savory crisps and chips. Now, I finally have something new to try from their latest offerings. The Sweet Life by Ange probably was the heaviest box among all listed here. I ordered for a dozen and the box was literally more than 1kg. This is another brand that gives attention to packaging. It came properly sealed with cling wrap and placed neatly in a box with the signature pink and gold colors. 


The Sweet Life by Ange's version came in a dozen pull-apart pandesal rolls. It has this bright purple-colored bread with yellow melted cheese and chunky halaya filling. Again, this one definitely did not skimp on ingredients. Each piece was generously filled with cheese and ube. The Sweet Life by Ange probably has the most cheese filling. It was like a small block of cheese was placed in the center of the bread making it heavier than the rest. This is another great option for cheese lovers. The texture of the bread was soft and dense, a bit filling after having one piece, but at the same time so satisfying. 


What I liked about the Sweet Life by Ange:
branding, packaging, sealed with cling wrap, overloaded with cheese, very filling, unique presentation, variety of products available, responsive, was able to deliver products on the promised date (5 days)

Salta! by Pappare Ristoranti (Quezon City)
Php260/half-dozen (Php43/piece)



These are not your usual Ube Cheese Pandesal. Salta's version are called Ube Cheese Panrolls. The pull-apart panrolls has a top glaze that gives a sweet and buttery taste. The bread has a pale purple color which can be a plus since there isn't too much artificial food coloring to it. Besides, with all ube cheese pandesal I've tried, having a dark vibrant purple color doesn't mean the bread would have a stronger taste of ube. Most ube flavor comes from the actual halaya filling. 


Salta wants to distinguish itself from other ube cheese pandesal purveyors by recreating a version like no other. Offering panrolls instead of the classic pandesal recipe, and using cream cheese instead of the usual melted cheese filling. Don't expect that gooey melted cheese effect with your ube cheese panrolls though, as the cream cheese won't melt no matter how long you toast it in the oven. I understand that cream cheese costs a bit more than the regular cheese, but for its price, I wish there were more ube and cheese fillings on my bread. On a side note, I got to sample their Parmesan Whole Wheat Pesto Cheese Roll made with Avocado Oil and it was the best! If I had to choose between their Ube Cheese Panrolls and Parmesan Pesto Cheese Rolls, I'd definitely get the latter. 



What I liked about Salta! by Pappare:
cream cheese instead of regular cheese, sweet buttery crust, not too much artificial color, comes with reheating instructions, Parmesan Pesto Pan Roll, delivered on the promised date (6 days)

Maria's Kitchen (Quezon City)
Php230/half-dozen (Php38/piece)



Maria's Kitchen's Ube Cheese Pandesal has a good balance of cheese and halaya. It has a semi-melted kind of cheese when heated in the microwave, but does not melt too much when placed in a toaster. Its halaya has a smooth and creamy texture which somehow gives a buttery taste when blended with the cheese filling. Pandesals were average-sized and had a good bread to filling ratio. 



What I liked about Maria's Kitchen:
good bread to filling ratio, smooth halaya filling, soft pandesal texture, not too airy and hollow inside

Mid-Range

Bread for Every Juan (Mandaluyong)
Php250/box of 10 (Php25/piece)- special,  Php15/piece-regular variant




Bread for Every Juan offers two kinds of Ube Cheese Pandesal. A special variant (Php25/pc) which is made with homemade ube halaya, and a regular version (Php15/pc) which is made with ready-made ube jam. I just had to try both to compare. Both looked the same from the outside. They both have the same semi-melted cheese center, but what sets them apart is their halaya filling. The regular one has a lighter halaya color while the hayala of the special variant was darker and tasted sweeter too. For me, both tasted really good, but I wouldn't really mind going for the cheaper variant. They almost tasted alike, except the special variant was sweeter. I'd say they really made a fool-proof recipe suited for every Juan. 

special homemade halaya on left, regular halaya jam on right

What I liked about Bread for Every Juan:
classic and nostalgic pandesal flavors, no frills ube cheese pandesal, nice soft and pillowy texture, has a sweet and buttery taste, very tasty, offers a more affordable variant for every Juan, good ratio of halaya and cheese, got my order the next day after payment

Mrs. Cheesy Ube by Jennifer Estacio (Pasig/Manila)
Php300/dozen (Php25/piece)




The ube cheese pandesal endorsed by @masarapba, I just had to include it on the list. Got my order from a reseller momchoice_manila, and luckily she was responsive and was able to deliver my order freshly baked and still warm in the morning. Jennifer Estacio's pandesals were huge but not too heavy. It was elongated in shape and pillowy-soft to the touch. A few pieces have dark, slightly bitter crust that seemed to have been in the oven longer than it should. The halaya was smooth and creamy, while there was generous serving of semi-melted cheese. For its price, it's definitely worth it- you get a bigger than average-sized pandesal, generously filled with cheese and halaya. The overall taste of the ube cheese pandesal was not too sweet and overwhelming, so it's no surprise you'll be reaching for that second piece after you finish the first one. 


What I liked about Mrs Cheesy Ube by Jennifer Estacio:
big in size, soft and pillowy texture, accessible to buy since there are online resellers around, delivered fresh and warm, not too sweet and cloying, value for money, responsive with next day delivery

Vicet Cravings (Manila)
Php150/half-dozen (Php25/piece)


Chanced upon Vicet Cravings from a sponsored ad on facebook and was once again enticed to order because of how good it looked. Another home-based business born during the ECQ, their other product aside from their best-selling soft ube cheese pandesal is a Moist Banana Chocolate Chip Loaf which looked equally tempting! 


The ube cheese pandesal from Vicet Cravings were big and pillowy-soft.. exactly what you'd expect from a perfectly baked pandesal. The bread though lacked that sweet and salty taste of a classic pandesal. However, that flavor comes in as you bite into the cheese and ube-filled center. The halaya and cheese were both creamy. Denby described the taste of Vicet's version as clean and light. Probably because the taste of ube and cheese was light and not over the top. Vicet's is a good mid-priced choice to satisfy your ube cheese pandesal cravings. 


What I liked about Vicet Cravings:
soft and pillowy texture, clean taste, nice balance of ube and cheese filling, great for people who don't want their breads too sweet, accommodating and responsive got my order next day after payment.

Budget-Friendly

Little Chef (Quezon City)
Php180/box of 10 (Php18/piece)



Had to wait for more than a week to try Little Chef's ube cheese pandesal. It was worth it nonetheless. Each piece was filled with generous servings of melted cheese and gooey halaya, and the bread was pillowy-soft and chewy. It had a nice balance of flavors, saltiness from the cheese, and sweetness from the halaya. Little Chef's ube cheese pandesal is definitely a delight in every bite!


What I liked about Little Chef:
generous servings of halaya and cheese filling, melted cheese, pillowy-soft bread, not too sweet, nice balance of sweet and salty

Uncle George Bread and Pastries (Quezon City)
Php100/half-dozen (Php17/piece)



Our family loves Uncle George's mochi bread! So when I saw that they too are selling a version of their ube queso pandesal, I immediately ordered it along with our favorite mochi bread. While the breads were big, I was a bit disappointed with the filling. I tried both ways (toaster and microwave) to heat two different pieces, and still, the cheese they used won't melt. Basically it was just two pieces of cheese cubes inside a bun with little halaya filling. I'd probably stick to our favorite mochi bread next time.


What I liked about Uncle George Bread and Pastries:
big sized pandesal, their mochi bread, variety of products, responsive and accommodating 

By: Chef Kin (Quezon City)
Php150/pack of 10 (Php15/piecce)


The ube cheese pandesal By Chef Kin was very soft and moist. It didn't have the usual halaya filling, but it had that melty cheese center. While it did not come with the usual homemade halaya jam, you can actually taste and smell the ube flavor from its bread. In fact, as I opened the pack, the sweet and fragrant aroma of ube wafted through the air. These pillowy-soft buns By Chef Kin definitely tops the list on where to get your budget-friendly ube cheese pandesal fix.


What I liked about By: Chef Kin: 
strong ube flavor and aroma, pillowy-soft bread, melty cheese center, affordable

Miss B's Infused Honey (Quezon City)
Php180/dozen (Php15)



Bought an assorted dozen of special pandesal from Miss B's Infused Honey while searching for suppliers of ube cheese pandesal online. Since minimum order is by the dozen, I decided to try their other flavors too- Cheesy Egg, Chocolate and Caramel. The size of their pandesal was really small compared to others I've tried. The bread though was very soft, pillowy and moist. It's not your usual pandesal that's crumbly and airy. The outer layer of the bread has that smooth texture making it hard for the bread crumbs to stick on it. 



While Miss B's ube cheese pandesal was good for its price, we loved the cheesy egg more as it gave a nice contrast of flavors from all the sweet breads we had. 


What I liked about Miss B's Infused Honey:
variety of flavors, soft and moist texture of bread, responsive and accommodating with 2 days lead time 

Azucar Pastries (Quezon City)
Php60/box of 4 (Php15)




Azucar Pastries' Ube Cheese Pandesal probably was the biggest in size among the list. They literally looked like burger buns but in purple color. While they were big in size, they were very light to hold. I immediately knew there wouldn't be too much of fillings inside these buns. True enough, they were airy and hollow inside, and the cheese didn't quite melt with the halaya. Taste wise though, Denby said the bread was good as it is as a bun. I just wish they could improve more on the cheese and halaya fillings as they were too little given the big size of the bun. 


What I liked about Azucar Pastries:
available in few pieces for those who just want to try first, big-sized

Myon's  French Mediterranean Cuisine (Quezon City)
Php145/dozen (Php12)



The most affordable version of the bunch, an ube cheese pandesal fix need not be expensive. Myon's ube cheese pandesal comes in small pandesal buns packed with full flavors. Myon's version had this  unique and different taste among others I've tried. It literally tasted like a spanish bread with a subtle hint of ube flavor. If I was blindfolded and couldn't see the purple color of the bread, I would definitely think that I was eating spanish bread. Denby liked it for being sweet and having that distinct sweet butter-margarine flavor. Since I love spanish bread, I also liked it but found it too sweet for my liking. Nevertheless, it is a great option for those who wants a reasonably priced ube cheese pandesal. 


What I liked about Myon's:
very tasty, tastes like spanish bread, pillowy soft buns, affordable, sweet and buttery


After trying a few of the ube cheese pandesal available around the metro during the ecq, I think I've reached my quota of ube cheese pandesal for the year. This list may not include a whole lot more of other purveyors, but I tried to include at least some for every budget. In the end, I realized that even when there are shops who sell them at a premium price, they were still within reason and I'd rather have them than two or three pieces of the less expensive ones. At the same time, there were purveyors who even at a mid-range price, manage to offer a really good product and gives a bang for your buck. At the end of the day, it boils down to taste preference. One thing for sure is true, as Denby said it: "Parang pare-pareho na lasa nilang lahat, as long as mainit masarap!" Very true. Nothing beats a hot, freshly baked bread any time of day.

Our top picks for each category:
Premium
Justyn Cafe
Kennedy Kitchen

Mid-Range
Mrs. Cheesy Ube by Jennifer Estacio
Bread for Every Juan

Budget-Friendly
Little Chef
By: Chef Kin

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