fast-food restaurants

A side of pride: Underrated fast food side dishes we want in huge portions

Steph Arnaldo

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A side of pride: Underrated fast food side dishes we want in huge portions
Which side dish is your favorite?

At fast food chains, the mains are always the star, but it’s about time we shine a well-deserved spotlight on the sides! These unsung heroes are meant to just complement meals, but there are good ones that could very well stand on their own. Most of them are so good that we would gladly start a petition to have them served in whole tubs or platters!

Finally, side bae no more – which well-loved sides dishes and desserts are we showing extra love for today? Dish is what we came up with!

KFC’s fries

By the grace of the food gods, KFC heard our prayers and finally released in April family platter servings of its most popular side dishes – mashed potato, coleslaw, macaroni salad, and buttered corn.

We’re still waiting on the ultimate KFC sur-fries, though – a bigger bucket (or platter) of KFC’s thick, crisp, and spiced fries, which are not like your typical plain, white, fast food French fries.

KFC’s uniquely spiced fries are already great on their own, but they’re also excellent dipped in good gravy! So, while we’re at it, why not wish for a bucket of KFC gravy, too? Maybe then people won’t have to stand by KFC’s gravy refill station anymore just to fill up their tupperwares with the good stuff (not that we blame them).

Wendy’s Frosty, baked potato

I must admit, I’m a complete Frosty-tute for Wendy’s signature frozen dairy dessert. Smooth, soft, and creamy, the Frosty makes it hard not to want to take it home in a tub or gallon! Plus, the soft-serve ice cream isn’t too sweet, is pretty affordable for its serving size, and makes for a good partner to French fries.

My OG choice is the chocolate flavor, but the milky vanilla is good, too (I have yet to try the coffee). If you’re keen on overloaded toppings, there’s also choco cookie and strawberry cheesecake flavors.

Also, Wendy’s baked potato deserves its own spud-light! Call me basic (taters gonna tate), but there’s something about a perfectly baked, soft potato covered in melted cheese, grated cheese, and bacon bits that gets this carb-ivore every time.

Kenny Rogers’ whole side dish line, basically

The only time roast chicken should move aside for the sides is when they’re from Kenny Rogers. Thankfully, Kenny’s just launched platter sizes of two favorite pasta side dishes – the Tex Mex macaroni, covered in white sauce and mozzarella cheese, and the mac and cheese platter, topped with bacon and cheese.

However, we’re still waiting on platter sizes of Kenny Rogers’ mashed potato, steamed vegetables, coleslaw, K-glazed potatoes, sour cream and chives potatoes, the seasonal polenta, and some corn muffins. Serve me a platter of all of the above and I’d be platter-ed.

Army Navy’s freedom fries

What could possibly be better than freedom? Well, fries. Whenever I order from Army Navy, I always have my eyes on the (freedom) fries – thin, crispy, spiced fries that are good with a burrito, quesadilla, dipped in ketchup, mustard, or on their flavorful own.

Just like KFC’s fries and McDonald’s Twister Fries, these crunchy, spiced fries also belong on our Please-Be-Available-In-A-Bucket List.

Cibo’s potato chips

When it comes to menu favorites, the homegrown Italian restaurant’s Spinaci Zola Dip is a given, but chip chip hoorays are in order for Cibo’s potato chips, served with rock salt and garlic mayonnaise on the side.

Cibo’s handmade chips are perfectly light, crisp, and thin, and is just the right amount of oily. When paired with salt and tangy homemade aioli dip? Ultimate #friendchipgoals.

This appetizer or snack is so sought after that Cibo now also sells these crunchy chips in resealable retail packs for takeout – but we wouldn’t mind getting them in huge bags to-go!

8Cuts onion rings

When it comes to favorite onion rings around the Metro, 8Cuts always makes the cut – the local burger joint’s deep-fried, crunchy side dish is so addictive that I’ve ordered it as a to-go merienda or even movie snack one too many times.

Thick, sliced onions are breaded in a light batter and then fried until perfectly golden brown and crispy, generously topped with a special barbecue powder (*chef’s kiss*). If only there was a way to get them in buckets or even in takeout bags to bring home.

Popeyes’ biscuits with gravy

Good gravy`! What’s fried chicken without some soft, freshly-baked biscuits and salty gravy on the side? Popeyes’ take on the savory soft dough roll from the South isn’t just good as a side dish, but even as a snack.

The local franchise of the Louisiana fast food chain serves its biscuits with honey or chocolate, because it’s the Philippines, and it’s unthinkable for a “savory pastry” to not be served sweet. Sometimes, three biscuits an order isn’t enough – a bucket of them wouldn’t hurt!

Frankie’s mashed potato, cheesecake

Frankie’s New York Buffalo Wings has a few tricks up its wing – aside from serving bomb chicken wings, the local resto also serves a mean mashed potato and homemade cheesecake.

Their mashed potato side dish is gloopy, creamy, and oh-so-thicc that I can easily enjoy a solo order on its own (an order is approximately just a scoop). But of course, mash masarap siya paired with Frankie’s signature buffalo wings. Would totally order a platter of these taters (their thick-cut French fries are pretty good, too).

Still got room for dessert? If you don’t, you better make room, because Frankie’s hidden but underrated gem of a homemade New York-style cheesecake takes the cake. Frankie’s cheesecake slice, which comes from a family recipe, is creamy, smooth, thick, and tart, served atop a buttery graham crust. The salted caramel variant also deserves a shout-out. Hopefully they sell these slices by the whole cake!

Shakey’s mojos and dip

My love for Shakey’s mojos and dips runs so dip that a bucket of these thick-cut, seasoned potato slices is sometimes not enough to share!

More so than the pizza, it’s the mojos I find myself craving for more often – those greasy, spiced, fried potatoes that are breaded and crisp on the outside, but soft on the inside? Yes, please! In terms of dip partners, it’s always a tie between the zesty caesar dip or the garlic ranch dip, so I just always order both, because hey, life is short. –

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Steph Arnaldo

If she’s not writing about food, she’s probably thinking about it. From advertising copywriter to freelance feature writer, Steph Arnaldo finally turned her part-time passion into a full-time career. She’s written about food, lifestyle, and wellness for Rappler since 2018.