The last time I went to Dubai was in October. Almost half a year eh? And one of the purposes of my visit was to dine in Jollibee. Incidentally, in Abu Dhabi we only have Chowking and Barrio Fiesta (which Dubai does not have). To my (but I should not be) surprise at 12:00 noon, this Jollibee branch near Burjurman Mall is closed. I should have known this because that was a Friday (and 12pm-3pm is strictly prayer time for the Muslims). There is unusual store hours in UAE, as regulated by the government for some religious reasons. So you could just imagine how hungrier I got as I imagined chickenjoy.
So we went to the nearby mall to kill time and finally the store opened at 2pm. Majority of its employees are Filipinos. With my Philippine dining mindset, I thought I just had to order as simple as chickenjoy/ palabok/ spaghetti meals. There are no combo meals pala. They have bigger servings here, but the recipes in the Philippines were not (and cannot be) fully replicated. Basically because of difference in brand and/or of ingredients. Just like when I was savouring my palabok. Hinahanap hanap ko yung lasa na may patak ng kalamansi imbes na lemon. Wala kasing kalamansi dito. But it’s good that their chicken joy’s gravy is almost close with Philippine’s whip. This is a big help when homesickness attacks. Only Jollibee and Mary Brown sell fried chicken with ala Pinoy gravy, the rest serves it with ketchup or garlic mayonnaise.
I remember when I was still trying to locate this store in Dubai, a friend told me, ‘basta pag may nakita kang Filipino itanong mo lang at siguradong alam niya kung nasan ang Jollibee’. Strange as it may seem but Jollibee is like a password for a mafia (read as Filipino community). It’s indeed a ‘Filipino thing’. That’s why I was laughing as I read the review from NY Times on the newly opened Jollibee branch in Woodside, Queens. It says,
On a recent Sunday afternoon beneath the No. 7 train tracks in Woodside, Queens, a thin, pale man with a goatee approached the 30-odd people waiting to enter the shiny new restaurant with the friendly apian mascot, and asked what was going on. A jumble of excited responses followed, which he summarized thusly: “So it’s a Filipino thing?”
It’s interesting to know how the other nationalities view our fastfood, that they call it the Mc Donald’s of the Philippines.
Chickenjoy, Jollibee’s specialty (one piece, $2.99; three pieces, $6.89; 18 pieces, $38.99), is straightforward fried chicken, with moist meat, a crispy but not too thick batter and, when ordered spicy, a dusting of potent chili powder. It’s a bit salty, but as one diner explained, that’s why Filipinos enjoy Chickenjoy.
After a passel of forgettable burgers ($1.39 to $6.29) and fresh, honest sides (buttered corn, mashed potatoes — regular $1.99, large $3.59), the menu heads for odder territory.
Spaghetti ($4.49) is topped with a sweet, hot-dog-and-ham-studded tomato sauce, and is frighteningly addictive. Palabok Fiesta ($5.79) is the only recognizably Asian dish: rice noodles in a gummy-but-yummy sauce of fish flakes, pork, shrimp, egg and crumbled chicharrón.
Jollibee’s signature deep-fried peach-mango pie ($2.29) is crusty and intensely fruity, at once a Filipino thing, a Georgia thing and something else entirely. It’s worth the wait.
Well, Jollibee is indeed a Filipino thing. For people like us who are miles away, we appreciate it a lot despite the non-100% replication of recipe. I remember the words from my professor (one of the consultants in Jollibee) in my review class ages ago. “Hindi itinuturing ng Jollibee na kakumpitensya ang Mc Donald’s, kundi ang “sawa” ng mga mamimili. Kaya kailangang hulihin ang lasang Filipino.”
0 thoughts on “It’s a Filipino thing”
I love this Jollibee! there is also one in Deira and in Satwa (when i was still living there), we normally order food to be delivered in our Office during Thursdays. Yummy chicken joy, but I agree, the taste is a bit different from the Jollibee we grew up with.
kreezs last blog post..Orange goodness
Oh darn… I MISS JOLLIBEE! There used to be one here in Riyadh but I don’t know why it didn’t click. I haven’t found a place around here yet that serves fried chicken with gravy that’s why I rarely eat fried chicken at all. 😦
Anyway, aren’t you going to watch the Cirque du Soleil show “Alegria” in Dubai? I wish I could!
CandyQs last blog post..through hell or high water
“langhap sarap”…i remembered when i went home for a vacation last year that i was imagining eating at jollibee people support branch while on the plane. that branch hold a lot of memories to me. naaalala ko yung mga panahon sa makati na kino consider na naming magka opisina na “treat” ang pagkain sa jollibee kasi bigla syang nag mahal…
ahahaha…those were the days…haiz…miss ko na ang peach mango pie…
So funny because the new Jollibee that opened at Queens was the topic of our discussion last night with my high school classmate. I was even thinking of driving there for the weekend just to see if they’re close to the Jollibee taste at home. Who knows, I might be persuaded.
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while the photo was opening, I saw that familiar character, I then thought…..me jollibee din pala dyan. 🙂
I often eat at jolibee here kasi, ang haba lagi ng pila. All time pinoy favorite indeed 🙂
Just yesterday, I saw Jollibee in a motorcade. Medyo creepy. 😛 Yeah it’s a Filipino thing. In the World of Warcraft, I saw guild named Jollibee and I instantly felt more at home in the game knowing that some Filipinos also play. It’s not just about the food anymore. But I am seriously craving for peace mango pie now. 🙂
iba talaga ang jollibee. at least it’s something we can call ours diba? at pag nasa ibang bansa ka, makakita ka lang ng jollibee, para ka na ring nasa Pilinipas. 🙂
agree. jollibee is a trademark nating mga filipino e. and somehow, kapag nasa ibang bansa ka, nafi-feel mo na you are so proud na may makitang jollibee.
medyo OffT: nung nakapag-mcdo kami sa ibang lupain, natuwa din kami na may makitang “love ko ‘to” sa mga plastic cups nila. hehehe. wala lang. 🙂
i haven’t tried jollibee anywhere else pa. kalungkot naman. 😦
ekss last blog post..Soon-To-Be Senior Citizen X
It’s a good thing that Jollibee is continuously expanding around the world, offering crispy chicken and warmth to homesick Filipinos abroad. Mabuhay si Jollibee! 🙂
mordsiths last blog post..where my dreams began
You should see how Garandee reacted to “Tokyo Tokyo” in Manila. “This is not Japanese food!!” She never wanted to go back after that. So I won’t be surprised if Jollibee abroad will taste a bit different… but since wala nang ibang choice, it’s easy to tolerate the differences. Buti na lang Pinoys still run Jollibee there. If it was run by the locals, siguro baka mas lalong nag-iba yung lasa.
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Jollibee is So Pinoy! I couldn’t agree more… ang pinakagusto ko is their palabok, and my kids just love Chickenjoy. Once, I had a problem with my kid who doesn’t want to eat anything because of tummy cramps, I brought home chickenjoy and that got him leaping to his feet and eating his way to okeyness!
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The minute Yorkshire has a Jollibee I’m there! 🙂
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I believe this is my first visit! This is a very informative blog.
It’s interesting to know the difference when it comes to the recipe and the servings.
It’s cool to know that that review thinks Jollibee is very good! Jollibee is a pretty strong competitor if pit against McDonald’s. Besides, McDonald’s offer so much cholesterol and calories, so much more than Jollibee!
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“it’s a filipino thing” perfectly captures it, i guess. pinoys are nostalgic diners and eating at Jollibee is like one of those ritual that you through regularly. otherwise, parang me kulang 🙂
It’s indeed a Filipino thing to follow our noses where there’s a new Pinoy restaurant. I happen to be there when the new Jollibee opened in NY. What a huge success. I just hope it doesn’t follow the footsteps of the failed Jollibee branches in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Nomadic Pinoys last blog post..To Varanasi By Train
malapit sa university ko dalawang jollibee pwede kang mamili kung alin sa dalawa ka kakain LOL fastfood eater ako kaya hindi ako healthy LOL pero i find that pinaka maraming bata at pamilya an makikita sa jollibee compared sa ibang fast food chains. onefast food chain i like is pupung and friends. it is a purely filipino fast food service that has a homey feel. pati yung food home cooked style, and very cheap. kaso wala pa dito sa tirahan ko kailangan ko pa pumunta sa SM pampanga para makakain dun LOL
PMs last blog post..Starburst
Ms.Jo, you wrote your post like you’ve got stocks in Jollibee (biro lang). Anyway, here Jollibee opened some 3 or 4 years back but closed after a year. Lugi dahil they put it in Batha where most Filipinos congregate but put it in some obscure location where people seldom go unless they’re lost.
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There’s finally a Jollibee in the East Coast of the US. Unfortunately, it’s quite far from where I am. I am hoping though that they’ll set up a branch much nearer to where I live so that I could stop by and enjoy their food again. 🙂
panaderos is referring to the newly-opened jollibee in queens, new york. i have yet to visit it, but i’m excited. yes, jollibee is a filipino thing, it’s our fastfood “security blanket”! 🙂
this food critic from the new york times wasn’t too impressed with jollibee in queens, though. he himself pointed out that “it’s a filipino thing.”
fortuitous faerys last blog post..all boxed up
i am sooo envious. wala kaming jollibee dito!!! hahahah! 😉 you’re right, its a filipino thang (may accent pa!)
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Sleepless In KL
When my family and I went to Brunei a few years back, I introduced the kids to Jollibee. And whaddya know? They took to Chicken Joy like fish to water. They’ve got Pinoy tastebuds for sure!
P.S. They sure got the Arabic version of Jollibee right — ‘ja-lee-bee’ 😀
Rach (Heart of Rachel)
Jollibee is so well loved by the Filipinos especially the kids. My son never gets tired of eating Chicken joy.
My parents and my brother live in Woodside and they told me about the huge number of people when Jollibee opened there.
i just you to share this to you guys.. when i came to riyadh i was looking for jollibee.. so wierd i want to eat chicken joy and jolly spaghetti.. instead of broast chicken and spare ribs and kapsa..hehe then i transfered to Jeddah.. yeah it rock.. i got it.. there are many jollibee branches here.. i was so happy.. after i got our monthly salary i treat may co employee here whatever the nationality i buy the juicy chicken joy and regular yam burger with cheese im so proud..hahahahha now when i go to Ballad to send money to the philippines i used to eat in Jollibee..LOL what a proud..heheheh
“BIDA ANG SAYA!” its JOLLIBEE! and definitely its UNBEATABLE! i really miss eating in JOLLIBEE with my son..=)
san po ba ang exact address or location ng jollibee dubai??kung sino po ang nakakaalam pls po paki email nman po sa akin kasi miss n miss na po nmin lalo n ang mga anak ko ang jollibee.tnx
please magtayo nman kyo ng jollibee dito sa sharjah uae kc maraming naghahanap syo d2.
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HI, I wanna know. Itong jollibee na ito ba was a branch or immitation lang. kasi gamit nia ung original logo so i think this was another branch din? i’m doing a market research kasi. hope u can help me.. thanks!