Fast food! The growing popularity of fast-food chain restaurants has been a worldwide phenomenon, due to its mass-produced model, accessibility, and cultural variations!
When you think of the Philippines, the delicious colourful dessert – halo halo comes to your mind right? Well, there is much more to this vibrant food culture that’s a blend of tastes and spices from 144 distinct ethno-linguistic groups. We are determined to see what’s the buzz about their fried chicken, from their famous Jollibee fast-food restaurant.
Jollibee began operations in 1978 in Quezon City, Philippines, and today, has over 1,200 franchises all across the world, with presence in Southern Asia, Hong Kong, the Middle East, North America and Italy. Jollibee is widely known across Asia especially, and even has over 10 restaurants in Vietnam alone! Very recently, the third Jollibee location opened in Canada on 15 William Kitchen Road in Scarborough, Ontario. The lineup was very long, was about a 2 hour wait under a giant tent in the parking lot, on a hot summer day, but Jenuine Taste arrived to try!
With the vast amount of fried chicken deals on the menu, we decided on “C. Bucket Treat” ($43.99), which came along with 12 pieces of Jolly Crispy fried chicken, spicy or mild, 4 sides, such as fries, white rice, corn or mashed potatoes, and 4 pies with peach mango filling.
As one 6 piece Jolly Crispy bucket is $14.99, the fried chicken seasoning was slightly different amongst other North American fast-food chains, and even offered a spicy version, which caters more towards the Asian palette of spicy cuisine. With the purchase of Jolly Crispy chicken, Jollibee offers a side of complimentary gravy, which allows for the balance of Asian and American twist on the menu. Also, the chicken was not dry at all and still tasted just as fresh even a couple hours later!
The “Jolly Spaghetti with a Soda” ($5.99) was a Jollibee classic on the menu, which offered a Filipino twist by sweetening the tomato sauce and mixing in small bite-size pieces of sausage. The overall dish was interesting to be offered at a fast-food chain, since it is not common in North America. Overall it was a unique taste compared to typical spaghetti we are used to. As for the soda portion of the combo deal, we opted for “Pineapple Quencher.” This was the only non-carbonated drink on the menu, and their signature Jollibee beverage. It was an extremely refreshing pineapple juice, and unique due to its exotic flavour!
A fast-food restaurant cannot be complete without a burger on the menu, and Jollibee has their own version called “Yum Burger” ($2.99). It was quite dry and plain, which only had a beef patty and a cheese slice, but overall, nice to have on the menu if you are not wanting to eat chicken, and likely more suitable for children.
As for dessert, we ordered “Vanilla Twirl” ($1.39) and “Peach Mango Pie” ($2.49). The “Vanilla Twirl” was a classic soft-serve ice cream on a cone, which was perfect for a summer day. And the “Peach Mango Pie” was a classic Jollibee item on the menu and definitely stood out from our first-time experience! Typically, in Western cuisine we are more familiar with apple or blueberry pie, however, this peach mango filled pie was very tasty. We were able to taste culture, an exotic combination, and Filipino flair. It was very crispy on the outside and had a sweet filling.
Overall, Jollibee was a pleasant experience and by introducing an Asian fast-food chain restaurant into North America, it will broaden new flavours into the Western options. Commonly, North American fast-food chains have been brought to other countries, and here is an instance where an Asian fast-food restaurant had been introduced to North America with authentic menu items.
“This adds more cultural representation, exploration amongst different Asian cultures and brings together family and friends”