Whenever you are in Manila, ask every Filipino on where to get affordable and delicious fast food and you’d surely if not 99% get this answer: JOLLIBEE. Thanks to Tony Tan Caktion who have built the Jollibee phenomenal success. From the humble beginning of being an ice cream parlour and Tony’s entrepreneurial streak, Jollibee has flourished to be the largest and top fast food chain in the Philippines. Not only it has become a part of the Filipinos daily lives, it has been a symbol of home.
So whenever a Jollibee branch opens up overseas, expect a high demand for it – and exaggerated loooooonnng queues. Jollibee Singapore had its soft opening last March 2013 at Lucky Plaza (often called “Little Philippines or Little Manila); perfect choice of venue huh? An attempt to boycott the opening and brand itself did not affect the hundreds of anticipating Filipinos who lives in sunny Singapore. I was 50-50 on coming on its opening day though, as I knew at the back of my mind that the people who will come on the first opening day would be entire madness. So I was right as I attempted to press the button lift to 6th floor and all I saw were heads…literally heads. It was totally impossible for me to get in, more so to queue for at least 2-3 hours before I made my way to the Jollibee counter. I went there about 3-4 times and for a sweet 3 weeks, the same situation remained. Jollibee Singapore only had its Grand Opening last 3rd of July.
Here’s a TIP: If you plan on coming here, make sure to queue before 7pm; as they usually have a cut off , I think around 7-7:15pm to be able to accommodate everyone who wants to order/dine in. That’s what the Jollibee staff advised me so when I was there. Not too sure though if they still continue to implement this. Better check and be there early especially on a weekend to enjoy your Jolli-feast.
|Arm yourself with anything that would keep you occupied.|
I saw scattered newspapers on the floor; numerous electric fans and empty white walls.
This is basically the waiting/queuing area; an obvioulsy non-airconditioned space..and is quite stuffy.
During Jollibee Singapore’s second month, it was a lot more manageable. Though getting fast food was not on my radar then, I decided to check it out, yes a month and a half after its opening. I came late in the afternoon, around 4pm as I was avoiding the after office hours. The place was pretty organized, interior is beautifully done (for a fast food restaurant). Jollibee was given an ‘A’ grading by the National Environment Agency for excellence in cleanliness and food hygiene. I still had to queue but it took me only a mere 15 minutes to reach the counter; compared to a friend who actually did for 2 hours! There were a few seats available in sight; the store seating capacity reaches to about 300 pax. The staffs in Jollibee were all friendly, makes one feel more at ease. It’s just like being in the Philippines once again.
While queuing at Jollibee a staff would jot down your order so as to speed up the process. Seeing the menu (not as expansive as it may seem) I was disappointed to find out that it still is very limited; peach mango pie, palabok, pineapple juice and the jolly breakfast are nowhere to be found.
Look at the display monitors they have on the counter top; aside from showcasing the different Jollibee food items on the screen, it also allows the customer to verify their order. The ad they were playing was so enticing, I am not fond of spaghetti but when I watched it I was somehow tempted to get one!
Curious now what’s on my table? The usual suspects: Chickenjoy, Spaghetti and of course the YUM Burgers.
The real shining star, so to speak …what else but the CHICKENJOY. But there is no way I am missing on the classic YUMBURGER as it has been tagged as delivering that sought-after, comforting, legit Pinoy taste — which is probably why I come to Jollibee in the first place.
Meet Ate Lena, she was so patient in taking my orders. I altered a lot when I reached her counter haha! I initially wanted to get the value meal but then I do not want the carbonated drinks so she told me why not get the ala carte items instead. I was like bugging her, “Ate, where is the palabok?”; “Ate, why no breakfast po?” She was smiling while answering all my questions; she surely knows how to multi-task.
You bet I was anticipating that crispylicious, juicylicious chickenjoy moment. Well, it was still the old chickenjoy I’m all familiar with. Stripping off the batter and skin (a ritual I suppose) I tasted the meat alone. I purposely did not dip it into the gravy (yet). The chicken was moist, tender and averagely juicy. The batter’s flavourful and crispy as well. So where is the joy in the chickenjoy if there’s no dipping in the gravy? The gravy will either make or break the ‘joy’ in my chickenjoy, I said to myself. From the looks of it, it seemed a bit darker in colour but then thumbs up for I noticed it was lump-free. The colour is not a big deal for me anyway. I somehow noticed the difference in the consistency as well but overall it tasted lovely and complemented the meat perfectly. The satisfying crunchy chicken smothered with that gravy was nostalgic.
The buns really looked so moist and fresh! It’s the first thing I look for in a burger. Give me a burger with the highest grade of beef patty but if you housed it in a bun that is dry and unappealing? I’d rather eat the patty with rice haha. The inside of the YUMburger buns were nicely toasted as well, plus points for that. The patty was chewy and moist; can really say that the titular YUMburger taste is so adamant with every bite. This is still the same ol’ classic YUMBurger, the burger that you don’t want to waste a smidgen at all. These burgers bring that sensational eating journey here in Jollibee. If ever I’d be asked to order only one, it’s the burger hands down. The rich flavour of the meat, amiably heightened by the cheese and condiments makes this a certified satisfying meal.
The Jolly Hotdog may look just the typical hotdog sandwich to some, but this is still punchy! The bun has that decent chew followed by the dressing. I was hoping for more grated cheese spread as I can’t barely see it on my sandwich; nonetheless the dressing was just made right neither too sour nor sweet) to my liking. This is truly filling, possible to tide me over let’s say while I wait for a flight overseas. Although it may not be the great tasting sausage in town you’ll ever come across, there is a bit of snap to the sausage.
Arghhh Burger Steak, you just awakened my senses ! This was staggeringly good; the sauce was spurring up more nostalgia. The Burger Steak and I, we got some history you see. I recall liking this so much when it was intially launched , that when I worked for a fast food company I always made my own version of the Jollibee Burger Steak. Every one of my co-worker were giving me those stern looks as if I was promoting the competitor’s product, haha! From the smell, it’s something that would shoot up your nose then give you a head rush and you’re all pumped up. The patty and its sauce is a total ace, made me want to order extra rice (well, almost!).
Bite after bite, Jollibee did not fail to satisfy. The authentic Pinoy taste one can experience When In Manila is fervently present. There is no need for much advertisement here actually, what they have on hand is: The longing for home. The taste of comfort food comes in next. That’s where Jollibee stand and will forever be proud of.