While we obviously take pride in the elevation of our native cuisine, we do have a soft spot for homegrown fast food too. One, in particular, stands out and it involves a jolly sort of bumblebee.
Jollibee occupies a special place in the hearts of generations of Filipinos. The fact that this is not a sponsored post (*nudges Jollibee powers-that-be out there*ahem*ahem*) attests to that. For many of us, myself included, the fast food giant’s monumental growth over the years coincides with our milestones.
Who among us can forget celebrating our childhood birthdays with the Jollibee mascot amidst plates of Jolly Spaghetti? Or being bribed into behaving well with a Yumburger?
And then, there was that heart wrenching series of commercials for Valentine’s 2017. (“Date“still makes me tear up uncontrollably to this day. Ugh.)
But while this fast food chain may lay claim to our hearts and stomachs, it seems that we no longer have a monopoly on its menu. As with its biggest competitor, some Jollibee menu items can only be found outside Philippine borders. Here are a handful of them:
- Vietnam’s Chilli Chicken and Milk Tea (!).
- Kuwait’s Spicy Chickenjoy with Kabsa Rice.
- UAE’s Chickenjoy with Biryani Rice.
- Macau’s Chicken Tenders.
- USA’s Chicken Tenders.
Since Jollibee can’t completely change the flavor of their Chickenjoy for Vietnamese palates, they simply coated it in a sweet chili glaze. Furthermore, instead of the usual soda, Jollibee Vietnam offers red milk tea, green milk tea, and Ovaltine beverages to wash it all down with.
Chickenjoy might be a fixed staple on Jollibee menus, but the accompanying rice is a different story.
Jollibee Kuwait’s Spicy Chickenjoy, for example, comes with kabsa rice. Made with long-grain rice, meat, vegetables, and a blend of spices that include black pepper, cinnamon, and bay leaves, it’s packed with lots of bold, exotic flavors.
Like the previously mentioned Middle Eastern franchise, the United Arab Emirates’ spin on Jollibee’s famous fried chicken swaps out the usual steamed white rice for a tastier alternative.
In this case, it’s Biryani rice. The South Asian rice dish consists of different kinds of meat, spices, mint leaves, coriander, yogurt, and fried onions.
Love Chickenjoy but hate having to take the bones out? Jollibee Macau’s Chicken Tenders are sure to be up your alley.
Macanese Chicken Tenders are basically boneless Chickenjoy fingers. Served with either garlic mayo or sweet chili dip, they make for an easy and delicious snack.
Jollibee fans Stateside can also avail of Chickenjoy fingers. Unlike the previous version, the American variant comes with traditional gravy. Yumyum.
Watching Jollibee conquer new territories is a heady feeling for many of us Filipinos. Homegrown brands that turn out to be hits elsewhere are good not just for the company, but also for the country as well.
More importantly, more international Jollibee branches would give more of our compatriots abroad a taste of home, should they find themselves missing it a little too intensely.