Filipino fast-food chain Jollibee falls short of hype

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photo by Joshua Kim

Jollibee’s mascot, named Jollibee, stands outside the restaurant to greet guests. Jollibee opened in Plano in August.

Since its Aug. 20 opening, the Plano Jollibee—one of only three in Texas—has had lines wrapped around the building.  American fast food options can seem fairly repetitive, so I was excited to see for myself if the Philippines-based, multinational fast-food restaurant lived up to the hype. With its wide selection of spaghetti, fried chicken, burgers and rice, Jollibee’s food varied in delectability.  To save you the trouble of filtering through their selections, here’s a quick list of the items to sample as well as the ones to avoid.

 

To try…

 

Chickenjoy, Jollibee’s fried chicken, was definitely my favorite menu item. The chicken was crispy and juicy. While their chicken was up to par, many other fast-food restaurants have similar chicken. Chickenjoy most closely resembled Church’s chicken.

 

Though fast food “pocket pies” pale in comparison to a homemade piece of pie, the peach mango pie was surprisingly good — syrupy and sweet with a strong mango flavor. 

 

The Jolly Crispy Fries were thin-cut and salty, reminiscent of McDonald’s fries. Similarly to the chicken, it was nothing extraordinary, but just as delicious as any other fries.

 

Not to try…

 

The Jolly Spaghetti, Jollibee’s take on traditional spaghetti with marinara sauce with the addition of pieces of hot dogs, was heavily recommended in my research of the restaurant.  However, the spaghetti was basic at best, and the hot dog pieces tasted somewhat hard and rubbery.

 

Though the adobo rice had a subtly peppery taste, it was generic rice, and nowhere near as flavorful as I had hoped.

 

The pineapple quencher was lacking in flavor for what should have been a tropical, fruity drink.  The pineapple flavor was definitely present, but the drink tasted watered down and fell short of being sweet or fruity.

 

The big yum burger was a typical burger with an overwhelming sweet mayo. A sweet spread on a burger was somewhat contradictory. A good burger without an oddly quirky twist can easily be found elsewhere. 

 

Overall, Jollibee did not live up to the hype, and replicas of many of their options can be easily found elsewhere. Nothing I tried was so unique or impressive that I would be drawn back to Jollibee. More than anything, it seems Jollibee serves nostalgia for those who are grateful to have a piece of home so nearby.