A household name in the Philippines, Jollibee is a Filipino fast food chain serving American-style fare alongside Filipino favourites like sweet-style spaghetti and pancit canton (noodles). The brand is a national icon, beloved by Filipinos all across the world.
I first tried Jollibee while on a trip to LA, at a stand-alone outlet just next to the subway station on Beverly Boulevard. It was my second week in the US, and I was already experiencing “rice withdrawal” symptoms lol. Burgers and fries are good and fine, but an Asian girl’s gotta have her rice. Jollibee served that, as well as my other favourite: fried chicken.
I was hooked from the first bite. Looking back, perhaps it wasn’t so much the taste as the memories of tucking into comfort food in a far away place, in good company. Since then, I’ve been a big fan of Jollibee, and would have it without fail whenever I visited the bf (now husband) in the Philippines.
Fast forward six years since my first bite of Chickenjoy, and my wish has come true. Jollibee has finally opened a branch in the Klang Valley, the first of many that the company is planning across Peninsular Malaysia.
Of course, I dragged the Hubs to Sunway Pyramid on opening day – but I underestimated the power of Filipinos craving a taste of home. Arriving at 10AM, there was already a queue of 100 people, some of whom apparently started lining up at 8am. And while I absolutely adore Jollibee, I wasn’t willing to queue hours for it (based on some posts, some people queued for 7 hours). We ended up getting A&W instead, which wasn’t bad, but I couldn’t help feeling disappointed lol.
A week later, the Hubs and I went to process some immigration papers. The officers were down with COVID, so we couldn’t proceed with our application. It was early, so we tried our luck once again at Sunway. We arrived around 9am and this time, we were fourth in line. And good thing too: by the time the store opened at 10, the queue was once again at least 50 strong. There were some locals, but again, the line comprised mostly of Filipino patrons.
Good thing is that they have SOPs in place, so there’s a proper space to queue, and Jollibee’s security (yes, they have these) made the rounds and gave reminders for people to observe social distancing.
On the menu are Jollibee signatures: aside from Chickenjoy, they also have Yumburger, Jolli Spaghetti, Burger Steak, and chicken tenders. Since we were only two, we couldn’t get as much food as we wanted, so we ordered a 5-pc bucket mix (ala carte – about RM25/310 pesos) and two Cheesy Yumburgers. These are usually my go-to items at Jollibee, as the spaghetti is not to my taste.
Service during our visit was friendly; staff greeted customers with “Welcome to Jollibee!“, which I think will remind many Filipinos of the warm service back home (I guess it’s like when I fly with Malaysia Airlines and the announcements always say “to all visitors, welcome to Malaysia, to all Malaysians, welcome home!” Always makes me feel fuzzy and warm on the inside).
The shop has a modern and chic design, with lots of red and wood. The space is small though, so keep that in mind if you’re planning to dine in.
A wall detailing the history of Jollibee.
Trivia: Jollibee started off as an ice cream parlour, founded by Tony Tan Caktiong, a Filipino-Chinese businessman. When business grew and they started offering hot meals such as burgers, fries, and fried chicken, they quickly realised that the hot meals were more popular. The business became Jollibee in 1978. The rest, as they say, is history. Today, Jollibee has over 1,400 outlets worldwide, and Tan has an estimated net worth of over USD2 billion.
It took awhile to get our takeaway (about 40 minutes), but here’s a picture of me looking like a kid who just got ice cream. Or an Eris who just got fried chicken.
What I really like about Jollibee is that they have gravy. For some reason, Malaysians aren’t big on gravy – no other fast food chain (other than KFC, and even then it’s the gravy for their mashed potato, which you have to request separately) offers gravy with their fried chicken.
The chicken was still nice and crispy after our 30-minute drive home. We got a mix of the spicy and original.
Verdict? I’m thrilled to say that it did not disappoint! The flavour is almost exactly the same as Jollibee in the Philippines. Skin was deep fried to golden, crunchy perfection, meat was tender, juicy, and flavourful, and the chicken pieces were large but cooked thoroughly. There is a slight difference in spiciness level: I believe the spicy chicken here is much spicier than the Filipino version, which I think caters more to Malaysian taste buds. Gravy also tasted more peppery compared to Philippine Jollibee. But it’s not a downside (to me at least).
The Cheesy Yumburger was tasty too, although Hubs said the bun had a different texture/quality, so he still prefers the one from back home.
I’m very happy that Jollibee now has a Malaysian presence, and that I don’t have to wait for a trip to Manila every time I want to enjoy their fried chicken. I used to tell the Hubs back when we were still doing LDR that I wished Jollibee would open a branch here. Now the Hubs is here, and so is Jollibee.
Life is good.
Lot LG2.126A, Lower Ground 2, Blue Atrium, Sunway Pyramid Mall, Jalan PJS 11/15, Bandar Sunway, 46150 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Open daily: 10AM – 10PM