3803 Calgary Trail NW #914, Edmonton, AB T6J 7A9
Jollibee! I’m sure everyone has heard about the hype that surrounds Jollibee. Jollibee opened up in Edmonton last week, 7AM on August 16th. It is the first location in Edmonton, and the fifth in Canada. It is akin to McDonald’s in the Philippines, ubiquitous, affordable, and with a distinct taste. Being around since the 1970s, it grew popularity in The Phillipines, and quickly became the largest fast-food outlet in the country. It has over a thousand locations within the Phillipines, and hundreds internationally.
Jollibee has a very strong global following, with each opening garnering hundreds of Filipinos lining up for blocks. For many Filipinos, Jollibee represents a taste of home, and gives a great sense of nostalgia. The Winnipeg location had people lining up, despite the chill -20C temperatures. Edmonton’s line up and excitement was no different. There was, in fact, a few individuals that were lining up to 72 hours before the opening.
I had the chance to be there the morning of the 16th, and caught all of the excitement. There were balloons, the Jollibee mascot, and over 500 people with signs. There were a couple of promotions going on for the first 50-300 people in line. The first 50 people in line that spent over $25 received free chicken for a year. The first 50 with a sign that beared the hashtag for the promotion (#Itsourturn) would receive a Jollibee Funko pop, and the first 300 would receive a Jollibe Plush Toy. It was really a sight to see so many people excited to have Jollibee and a taste of home and nostalgia. Many Filipinos haven’t been back to the Phillipines since coming to Canada, and I heard that there were people who came as far as Halifax to have such familiar taste.
The Food served at Jollibee ranges from Filipino-influences American food, to some more authentic Filipino food. I was able to try the Jolly Crispy Chicken, the Jolly Spaghetti, the Palabok Fiesta, and the Peach Mango Pie.
The Jolly Spaghetti comes with chopped up hot-dog, but what sets it apart, is the tomato sauce. The Filipino version of spaghetti has a distinct taste, and comes a lot more sweet. It is usually sweetened with brown sugar or banana ketchup.
The Crispy Jolly Chicken is what the crowd often comes for. Fried, juicy, and tender chicken. It is the same as the Jolly Chicken found at their international locations, but the name is different due to potential copyright infringement. Same delicious chicken though!
The Palabok Fiesta was probably my favourite dish. I’ve never had this dish before, but the flavours of the dish appealed to me a bit more. It is noodles, topped with salty shrimp, crispy pork rind, shallots, hard-boiled egg. The noodles were seasoned with fish sauce, which is very familiar to me. Overall, I really enjoyed this dish and would love to try it at other Filipino restaurants!
For sweets, I had their famous pineapple juice, and the peach mango pie. The peach mango pie was really nice. I have always been a fan of peach desserts and this really hit the spot! The pineapple juice was really refreshing and nice to drink while eating the fried chicken.
Overall, I had a good experience at Jollibee. It was amazing to see the Fillipino community rally together. I spoke with several people in line. Several people hadn’t had Jollibee’s for as long as 20 years! One thing in common that many in line recommended was the burger and the burger steak so I will definitely have to come back and give those a try. On top of the food, it is really affordable, so I would definitely come check it out (but maybe after the lines die down. Even a week later, lines are still as long as 4 hours!).