A very jolly meal

Welcome to Jollibee, the land of the Jolly Bee

Welcome to Jollibee, the land of the Jolly Bee

I haven’t had the chance to post on the blog since Hong Kong. We’ve now been in the Philippines 48 hours. After a brief stop in Manila, we made our way to Mary Ann’s home province of Pampanga where we are staying with Arlyn and Sito in their home in Apalit. Today we made our way up to Angeles City where we had some business to carry out and visited a shopping mall. (Or to use the local vernacular, we ‘went malling’. From the verb ‘to mall’ i.e. visit a shopping mall.)

But it is the journey back that I want to write about, as we vsitied one of our favourite Filipino institutions, Jollibee. Jollibee is a fast food burger restaurant, Filipino-style. As well as burgers small (‘The Yum’) and large (‘The Champ’) the menu also has spaghetti bolognese, pancit palabok (noodles with seafood sauce) and fried chicken with rice. With a menu catering for local tastes Jollibee has taken the fight to international brands such as McDonald’s, KFC and Burger King – to the extent that McDonald’s had to change its menus to include rice and spaghetti.

Dan chomps on the 'Champ'

Dan chomps on the 'Champ'

Dan and I went for the champ – advertised as a 1/3 pound burger (and therefore out trumping McDonald’s quarterpounders). Dan, who is our resident expert on burgers, rated the Champ so highly he ordered two. Of course, the prices are far lower than the UK equivalent – a Champ combo meal is less than GBP 2*.

So the burgers pass the test, and there’s plenty of choice for those who don’t fancy beef. Fries are also tasty. Downside is the drinks, which as everywhere in the Philippines are far too sweet for my taste. Mary Ann kindly bought me a coffee, and I have to say it was the worst coffee I have tasted in a long time – very bitter and obviously made by crew members who never drink coffee.
Sophia loves her Jollibee

Sophia loves her Jollibee

So will we ever see Jollibee in the UK? There’s a Facebook group ‘Jollibee in London’ campaigning for just that – a Jollibee restaurant in Britain’s capital city – and it has over 10,000 members. It would be interesting to see how pancit palabok goes down with UK consumers!

*Sorry – I’m writing this on a US style keyboard and there’s no pound sign.

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About Holloway Rev

Paul Weary is a Methodist minister living and working in Holloway, North London.
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