We made an astonishing discovery the other day while perusing pictures of fast food on Instagram (don't forget to follow @snaxtimeusa on Instagram!). In Woodside, Queens in New York City there is a Filipino fast food restaurant called Jollibee that specializes in spaghetti, fried chicken and burgers!
Jollibee Foods Corporation was founded in 1978 in the Philippines and today it is the most popular Filipino fast food chain. Although it serves delicious products that cater to the tastes of the local Filipino population, Jollibee is garnering a reputation worldwide and even has many locations in the USA. Most of these locations are in California and there is only 1 Jollibee in the state of New York. Luckily, we are only a train ride away so we ventured out (over the course of 2 consecutive days) to discover what Filipino fast food is all about!
1. Spaghetti & Chickenjoy Combo
Now this is a fast food combo like no other! Jollibee's famous sweet style spaghetti is the main reason we wanted to visit Jollibee, and boy-oh-boy it didn't disappoint! Pillowy spaghetti noodles are drowned in a SUPER SWEET tomato sauce that is loaded with savory ground beef, smoky hot dog coins and salty ham cubes. The spaghetti is then topped with gooey, melted cheddar cheese! The ketchup-like sweetness, the richness from the meats and the creaminess from the cheese made this a noodle dish we will never forget and crave for a long time to come. It was out of this world!
The Chickenjoy fried chicken was the perfect side dish to pair with the spaghetti in this killer combo. The chicken was piping hot and juicy on the inside and super crispy and perfectly seasoned on the outside. Jollibee's Chickenjoy definitely gives KFC a run for their money!
After devouring this combo in record time we washed it all down with a long sip of ice cold Diet Pepsi.
2. Ultimate Burger Steak
This new Jollibee dish is actually a fast food spin on a typical Filipino meal, and it's utterly delicious! A 1/3 lb burger steak is placed on seasoned fries then ladled with hot brown gravy and sautéed mushrooms and sprinkled with toasted garlic. The meal is served with white rice and a fried egg. Make sure you get a little of everything in every bite. You'll never want this dish to end!
3. SPAM Little Big Bite Sandwich
Grilled SPAM is slathered in tons of tangy mayonnaise and placed in a warm, soft lightly toasted Filipino-style bun. While this sandwich may not be for everyone, we loved the ham taste with the mayonnaise and sweet bun. This sandwich was small but very rich in flavor!
4. Yum w/ Cheese
Jollibee's basic cheeseburger is made exceptional with a special sauce that tastes like extra sweet Thousand Island dressing. The Yum with Cheese is simple but scrumptious.
5. Banana & Langka (Jackfruit) Pie
This fried little pie has a tropical surprise inside - sweet, warm banana and langka! Langka, or jackfruit, is a starchy tropical fruit that tastes similar to a banana with notes of apple and pineapple. Don't be afraid to try this unique dessert, it really just tastes like caramelized banana inside! We really liked it.
This may be the most unusual fast food dessert in existence! Halo-halo is actually a very common dessert in the Philippines and Jollibee does not shy away in their version of this over-the-top treat. Sweet bean paste, tropical fruits and Jell-O cubes are placed in a tall cup and then topped with shaved ice. Evaporated milk is poured into the cup and everything is then finished with purple yam and mango ice cream scoops and a mini slice of flan (sweet milk and egg custard). This is by far the most adventurous item on the menu and we had a blast deciphering the different flavors and textures!
Overall, our experience at Jollibee was an exhilarating and stimulating culinary adventure. If you're a fast food fan and you want to try something delicious, unique and exciting, seek out a Jollibee and savor the comforting and fun flavors of the Philippines!