Chicago Popcorn Shops: A Romance between Caramel and Cheese


I like popcorn. Plain, buttered, sprinkled with grated parmesan cheese (my most recent prepared-at-home addiction), dusted with Cajun seasoning—everything is fair game when it comes to popcorn. So when magnetic rose started waxing poetic about her newest popcorn discovery, I knew I had to scamper over to SM Mall of Asia to give it a shot.

Chicago Popcorn Shops' Chicago Mix

Stepping inside the glass, brick and wood store, you get assailed by a buttery, tantalizing scent that makes you look forward to the experiences to come. A smile sprouts on my face. And the smile gets wider as the store’s friendly personnel hands us samples and cheerfully answers all the questions our happy little group asked.

Chicago Popcorn Shops in Mall of Asia

A popcorn concept originating from Chicago, Chicago Popcorn Shops offers Cheese, Caramel (Kharmel, insists the shopkeeper, like how they pronounce it in Chicago), and Chicago Mix—a combination of the two flavors. I taste it separately. The caramel is good. Sweet and wholesome, with a nice crunch, thanks to the caramel coating. I try the cheese. It’s good as well, with the cheese nicely clinging to the popcorn. None of the cheap, powdery flavorings. “Try it together,” insists magnetic rose. I shrug and pop a piece each of the caramel and the cheese in my mouth. Explosions happen as I curse, eat more, curse again, then wail as I face an inner struggle between buying the largest size and trying to be conservative with that day’s spending.

Chicago Popcorn Shops Prices

While Chicago Popcorn Shops’ popcorn is more expensive than some other brands (heck, you can buy a cheap bag of commercial caramel popcorn for 10-20 pesos), paying the premium is worth it as the flavors dance on your tongue, alternating between sweet and salty. The only problem I see is how you can’t stop eating! Because you alternate between sweet and salty, it takes longer for taste fatigue to set in. By the time you get tired of eating, I bet you’d have eaten through the can.

Making cheese popcorn

Freshly made in batches throughout the day, I caught them making fresh batches of popcorn while I was there and I was quite surprised to see them using a sauce to coat the popcorn, not only for the caramel but for the cheese as well. I guess this is why their popcorn has intense flavors; because the coatings stick to the popcorn well instead of falling off like what happens sometimes with powdered flavorings.

Chicago Popcorn Shops

The Chicago mix variant is combined as you order, so you can specify the proportions you want. I tend to favor salty stuff so I went with more cheese, 60% to 40% caramel. They also encourage their customers to reuse the cans—in fact, they offer a substantial discount when you opt to have your old cans refilled instead of getting a new can. My only peeve is that the cans don’t keep the popcorn as fresh as I’d like. While the caramel variant remained crisp throughout the 3 long days I managed to make my can last, the cheese got a little tough. I’ll probably transfer the contents of the can to an airtight container next time I buy.

So, next time you’re in the Mall of Asia, make sure to drop by and grab some popcorn. I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s a pleasant flavor attack on your tastebuds.

Chicago Popcorn Shops can be found at the 2/L Entertainment Mall, Mall of Asia. A new shop is in the works but they’re still choosing a location. *crossing her fingers for Glorietta / Greenbelt*

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13 Responses to Chicago Popcorn Shops: A Romance between Caramel and Cheese

  1. refill offer for the tin still stands BB πŸ˜€ also, why/how did you get unfriended on my PLURK T^T wtf is up with that?!

    *re-adds j00*

  2. Kaoko:) Lets blame magnetic rose… I think im now addicted.. just bought another can earlier… hehe

  3. Tony Lou says:

    shet! ang layo lang. this would be great while watching watchmen this weekend. now i’m tempted to go to moa later just so i could be eating caramel and cheese while a naked blue man wax poetics about atoms.

  4. Pingback: Chicago Popcorn Shops : Where Caramel and Cheese define love | Pinoy Food Cravings

  5. rachel says:

    I want some now!

  6. oh my! after reading your blog, i rushed to MOA the following day to try this! it is soooo good nga! my hubby and i bought a bag each… caramel sa akin, cheese sa kanya… naumay ako at mine… he finished his up to half… then pinaghalo namin… yay, sarap nga pag mixed sila! thanks, sis! thanks for sharing this! i would love to come back for more…

  7. u8mypinkcookies says:

    its really good! love the chicago mix– 70% caramel to 30% cheese πŸ˜€ yummy!!

  8. kaoko says:

    @magnetic_rose
    I can’t find the time to meet up with you! But my patience is wearing thin, I need popcorn soon!

    @melo
    I wants moar!

    @Tony Lou
    Hahahaha, okay rin yun, Tony!

    @rachel
    You and me, both!

    @gita
    I don’t know whether I should be happy you like it, or be penitent that you have a new addiction. Hahahahaa! At least both you and the hubby enjoy it πŸ˜€

    @u8mypinkcookies
    We’re opposites! I get mine cheese-loaded, though my mom complains because she likes the caramel more.

  9. Didi says:

    Hiya!! Might need to go over MOA again for these!!

    Instant craving after seeing your pics!!! Hahaha…

    • kaoko says:

      I’m suffering from a mad craving too! And to think I was at the MoA area for a meeting today. Unfortunately, I didn’t have cash on me—I didn’t even have my ATM card. *weeps*

  10. trina says:

    i was “researching” about chicago popcorn and i found your review. so i hopped in. :)

    “but they’re still choosing a location.” — i say, ALABANG! πŸ˜€

    • kaoko says:

      I am soooo with you on that one. In fact, when they made us answer a survey, I kept insisting on Alabang Town Center even if it wasn’t on the list of choices πŸ˜› *sigh* We badly need more food places on our side of the city, don’t you think?

      Yes Krispy Kremes, I mean you!

  11. Patricia says:

    Candyland would like to inform you that “Chicago Mix” is a registered trademark for our delicious and original popcorn product. We are in no way affiliated or connected to the Kitchen Cow, or Chicago Popcorn Works…

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