In June 2022, Tropical Hut went viral on social media. One Twitter user, @dumidyeypee, posted a photo of his meal at their Escolta branch and incited nostalgia among long-time patrons. Within a few days, the local fast-food chain was selling out in all its locations. Pinoys were coming in droves to taste their classic beef burgers.
Many who grew up with the brand were pleasantly surprised to discover that their favorite menu items were still as satisfying as ever. After 60 years in the business, Tropical Hut’s “sarap na babalik-balikan!" tagline stays true: its food is so good, you’ll keep coming back.
However, there’s a catch to this recent revival. With only 21 locations all over the country, their burgers aren’t as accessible to everyone craving them. If you manage to snag yourself some takeout, you're one of the lucky ones. Otherwise, you may need to get a little creative in the kitchen if you don’t want to be left out.
Want to give it a try? This guide will walk you through recreating their best burgers at home, from Rancho Ranchero to Hawaiian Glee.
Make Your Own Burger Sauce
Homemade burgers call for a unique sauce. If you want to keep it simple, go for the classic combo of Lady’s Choice Real Mayonnaise and ketchup. It’s what you’ll find in most fast-food burgers, including the ones you’re trying to recreate here. For a kick, add a splash of hot sauce.
Take cues from Thousand Island dressing and amp flavors with Worcestershire sauce and pickle relish. You can also try adding caramelized onions to make the ultimate burger sauce. They take time to prepare, but they’re totally worth the effort. Others swear by minced garlic in everything – try it if you’re one of them. And don’t forget to season with salt and pepper!
How to Recreate Your Favorite Tropical Hut Burgers
Every burger joint has a basic option that works for everyone. Tropical Hut's Classic Hamburger has sesame seed buns, sliced tomatoes, cucumber rounds, crisp lettuce, American cheese, sauce, and a 100% beef patty.
To make your patties from scratch, combine good-quality ground beef, eggs, flour, onions, garlic, liquid seasoning, and dried herbs. Shape them into palm-sized patties and fry in butter until crisp around the edges.
This spicy burger has grown a fan base since its introduction to the menu in the 2010s. It has the same components as the Classic, except with a chili-studded patty (hence the name) and hot gravy in place of the typical ketchup-mayo. Homemade gravy sounds like a big task, but you only need pantry staples, like oil, onions, garlic, cream, beef cubes, and spices. Add minced green or red peppers to your patty to transform it to a real sili burger.
This iconic burger is proof that eggs belong on everything. To build your own Rancho Ranchero, make a Classic and add a fried egg. That’s it! If you want to be extra, top it with crisp bacon and drizzle it with maple syrup.
Long before Jollibee debuted their Aloha burger in the ’90s, there was the Hawaiian Glee. Like the Rancho Ranchero, it has the same ingredients as the Classic, but with one key difference: a pineapple ring. The fruit adds sweetness and extra moisture to the burger, which makes every bite juicier. Try this if you love pineapples on your pizza.
Tropical Hut has yet to add plant-based burgers to their menu, but you can swap out the patties in your version if you're cutting back on meat. Otherwise, go for 100% beef, just like the local chain. Other standouts from their menu include macaroni salad, spring chicken, and clubhouse sandwich, which are all equally easy to make yourself. Next time you feel nostalgic for this Filipino favorite, bring the magic home by whipping up your own.