I'm used to seeing lines of automobiles tracking onto the highway when travelling by Chick-fil-A or Krispy Kreme. However a Filipino junk food chain with products such as fried chicken, spaghetti in a sweet sauce made from banana catsup and peach mango pie? That's a first. Jollilbee, however, is really a 2nd. The Edison area is the second in New Jersey after a seven-year-old Jersey City place. However it will not be the last– the chain, which has only 37 locations in the U.S. of its 1,300 worldwide areas, is”an outright sensation in the
Philippines,”according to a ROI-NJ report, and hopes to open 150 more dining establishments in the United States within the next five years. READ: Filipino fast-food chain Jollibee opens on Route 1 So far, it seems to be an experience in Edison, too. Given that it opened on June 6, you can regularly find a crowd of cars huddled around the drive-thru line as a law enforcement officer directs traffic to make sure cars and trucks don't spill onto Route 1. On Tuesday at lunch break, I was in among those vehicles as I pulled in to see if Jollibee's casual Filipino fare and American-influenced items deserve the buzz. What to anticipate at the Jolibee drive-thru
Although the parallel lines of automobiles merging into a drive-thru was disconcerting, the operation wasremarkably smooth. As quickly as I pulled into the line, a masked Jollibee employee headed straight to my car and handed me a paper menu as she down took my order through iPad. With the expected crowds, I thought I would have way more time to consider meals like the Palabok Fiesta noodles with garlic sauce, shrimp, pork rind and egg and the Yumburger, Jollibee's take on the normal fast-food burger.
After merging into a single-file line of cars, I drove off with my fare in tow– topped off with a”Have a jolly day!” from the cashier– about 15 minutes after I initially pulled into the car park. It's much longer than your normal early morning breeze through the Dunkin' drive-thru, but outstanding thinking about the double-line of cars and trucks. What to try You need to try Chickenjoy, Jollibee's staple fried chicken, served either initial or spicy with a side of gravy. With a thick crispy coat and a hint of spice on the outside and tender chicken on the inside, Chickenjoy holds its own to&your fried chicken favorites from chains such as Popeyes or KFC. The peach mango pie may just be an inexpensive fast-food dessert, but with a crispy and thick hot coat packed with a thick and sweet fruity jam, it is well worth the$2.49. Served in a rectangular shape and in a small cardboard box, it looks like McDonald's staple hot apple pie, however with on-point peach and mango flavors, it packs a lot more of a fruity punch. The first time I had sushi as a teenager I wasn't really sure if I liked it … however then I returned bite for bite. That's how I felt tasting Jolly Spaghetti, a spaghetti dish topped with a sweet-style sauce and mixed with chunky slices of ham, ground meat and hot dog. Al dente noodles and tasty meats were a perfect match with an unexpected sweet and thick sauce that sort of tastes like somebody mixed together moderate salsa and marinara sauce … but in an excellent way. I think. I may require one more bite.
What to pass on
As I unpeeled the Yumburger, Jollibee's variation of the common fast-food hamburger, from its paper wrap, I wondered where the hamburger was. Seriously– I in fact removed the top half of the bun for a minute to make sure the patty remained in there. Sure enough, a thin, charred patty, topped with a spicy mayo-esque dressing, stared back at me. After changing the bun, I took a few bites of the surprisingly sweet meat but I was immediately driven away by the bun which tasted like somebody puffed it loaded with air.
I was dissatisfied with Palabok Fiesta, Jollibee's version of the traditional noodle dish with garlic sauce, crushed pork rind, shrimp and egg. Although the mix of textures from the smooth, thin noodles and crushed pork rind was fascinating, the meal was remarkably bland and the shrimp and egg were off-putting.
Where: 760 Route 1, Edison
Contact: 732-902-0928, jollibeeusa.com Jenna Intersimone has been a team member at the USA Today Network New Jersey since 2014, after ending up being a blogger-turned-reporter following the creation of her acclaimed travel blog site. To get limitless access to her stories about food, beverage and enjoyable, please subscribe or trigger your digital account today. Contact: JIntersimone@Gannett.com or @JIntersimone.