Sunday, January 22, 2006

"I Kind of Still Smell Like Jollibee"

Another post that has nothing to do with music! But this time, it's not about comics, either. It's about... food! Specifically, fast food.

Found a link to this on a friend's LJ (her entry was locked, so I won't link to it), and it was... funny, and sort of annoying as well. About a bunch of Americans who wander into Jollibee, much to their dismay. I never really thought about how vast the difference between fast food places with essentially the same menus could be. I mean, a hamburger's a hamburger, right? Apparently not.
Meanwhile, Ty was staring at her Yumburger. "This isn't something we can eat," she says. "There's a pink... sauce... and it's pink?"

I tried being positive. "Do you think it's still Thousand Island dressing?"

She put the burger in her mouth and then instantly winced. "No."

"What's it like?"

She shook her head slowly, sadly. She whispered just one word to describe the taste of her cheeseburger: "Sweet."

"It's like Wendy's took all the goo that comes out of their burgers when they're done cooking them, pressed that down into a mold, froze it in a patty shape, and exported it to the Philippines, where they put it between some bread, put pink sauce on it and sent it back here."

Goddam. And I'm reading the whole entry thinking, "It's just Jollibee." Someone should take these people to a balut vendor. Not me, because I don't eat balut. But I'd gladly introduce them to, I don't know, isaw. Or friggin' sisig.


Ian said...

Far be it from me to take sides, but it's been ages since I stepped inside a Jollibee. The quality of the food there for me has taken a major dip in recent years as it seems to me that the bulk of their money goes into making really appetizing-looking commercials for mediocre food.

When was the last time they came up with a new major menu item that was REALLY good? Their Pizzamelt Mini pies use the same crust as their fruit pies and you can TASTE the sweetness therein!! And here I thought the flavor came from the fruit. Ick.

Lest anyone say my I have a colonial mentality-palate, I don't eat McDonald's either. (for my junk food jones, it's KFC all the way, baybeeeee) is I don't really eat that much fast food anymore, so I may be a food snob, hehe.

Also, Pamie is a writer from, a site whose whole reason for being is to make fun of things in a snarky manner (one of my favorite places, incidentally) so there's that as well.

I guess the point I'm trying to make is that I don't think Pamie was dissing pinoy culture, but simply saying the food at Jollibee wasn't to her liking; a view I don't necessarily disagree with. No need to turn it into a culture war. My two cents on the matter :)

Alimango said...

I like Jollibee. What the hey. :)


Luis K. said...

Hi Ian! Despite my stated intent to deploy volleys of isaw and sisig in their general direction, I wasn't aware that I was starting a cultural war. ;p If you'll notice, I wasn't really singing the praises of Jollibee, nor was I attacking the self-confessed Ugly Americans. (I would have used the words "assholes" and "fuckers" a lot, in that case). I just found them "...funny, and sort of annoying."

My whole point was that it's always a little jarring to realize that something you thought was so utterly plainly normal, something that's such a part of your day-to-day -- regardless of whether that's a good thing or not -- can be sheer horror to people who hail from elsewhere. I mean, when you think about it, it makes perfect sense. It's just rarely brought home in such a vivid manner. Makes you feel a bit like a mutant, is what I'm saying. Not saying they didn't have a God-given right to point at their food and giggle like idiots.

But yeah, for the record, I do like Jollibee. Not because of any sentimental childhood crap, but because, hey, I like the taste, in general. In fact, writing this makes me feel like going out and getting a Yumburger + TLC and an order of Cheese + Beef fries.

You're right about the crappy Pizzamelts though. Tastes like a combo of ketchup, bits of fatty ground meat, and styrofoam.

Gloss Girl said...

There's a reason Jollibee's tagline is "Sarap ng Pilipino, sarap ng Jollibee."

Mabuhay ang Chicken Joy! :)

Camille said...

happy new year luis!

jollibee knows its market well... as far as i can tell, the typical filipino consumer prefers all things sweet, and other fastfood companies happily address this market by presenting a sweeter version of things to us (hence the burger mcdo, and their sweetened version of mcspaghetti that looks like it's swimming in banana ketchup)... i'm not a big fastfood fan myself, but i do appreciate their having added salad and other filipino dishes to their menu. when it's not too oily and bizarre/exotic, filipino food = yummy!

in any case, americans have a lot to discover beyond their world, which explains their bafflement and occassional disgust over what is considered to be "normal" fare for other nationalities. and it's not just about food... i myself was taken aback by their signature reactive outspokenness in one class, crossing over the line to rudeness...! (on one occassion, i'll agree with the westerners: i - and i grew up here - will gag at the sight of a balut chick, poor thing, all feathers and beak...!)

on a tangent, just remembered something: at the nagoya airport bathroom, i overheard a bunch of filipinas complaining about the upside down wall-hung hand dryer (you know how notorious these japanese bathrooms are for being state-of-the-art, and kinda quirky-hilarious on occassion). they could not figure out how it worked for the life of them, therefore they had to bash it and its high-techiness to the heavens, quite bitterly, too. ay, these filipinos! i thought. after washing my hands, i blithely walked over and stuck my hand in it, and voila! dry hands in seconds. the japanese are genius, really.

always pros and cons, and differences, everywhere, no matter what country, or nationality... it does make the world, when we're not busy being destructive, a super vibrant and interesting place...

ps. sometimes it takes the immigrant to see what the locals miss (from a time mag article on ang lee, and a book on his conversion by scott hahn)

Camille said...

just read the link now. thought it was hilarious! it's like, death by jollibee, or something...

Luis K. said...

Hi Camille! :) Great to hear from you, thanks for dropping by. As someone who hasn't traveled much, I guess I'm too used to sharing a sort of mindset with most people around me. And yeah, "sometimes it takes the immigrant to see what the locals miss..." Always interesting to talk to foreigners who have chosen to live here, and ask them why.

chez_c said...

=) as far as i can tell, these are among the reasons foreigners move here:

1. beaches! water sports!
2. tropical climate... no need to freeze to death during the winter
3. cheap living expenses... life can be very good when you're spending in dollars, euros, or whatever currency
4. colonial mentality - we welcome them and look up to them to a certain degree, how can they not enjoy the star treatment?
5. the lure of the exotic
6. i know someone who loves the people, the warmth and hospitality, the camaraderie and vibrant socials (he grew up in europe, and thinks it was quite lonely...)
7. to give aid
8. education is cheaper than where they come from
9. the thrill of adventure (this is the height of tourism at your own risk)
10. capitalism, and cheap labor
11. dual citizenship is allowed

unfortunately, the food is never on anyone's list... =( that for me is one of the best things about this country, when home-cooked and not swimming in oil or msg, or made of too-strange animal parts...

need to add why not to move here:
1. government and all its related evils
2. pollution and the risk of disease... or food poisoning
3. rebels in the south who kidnap and kill foreigners (i met a french-african whose impression of our country is solely this! they really are quite afraid to come here), and crime in general
4. lack of really good, skilled, talented workers, especially for people accustomed to service and performance
5. a weak middle class
6. they can't own some assets here
7. a stubborn lower class that generally doesn't receive aid well, takes advantage, and persists (and prefers?) to remain in their rut - an inability to grow and develop, to look forward?
8. struggling industries and cultural scene

there is probably more... =o always, pros and cons =)

Shai said...

I don't know about other people, but to me it's her blog post wasn't just about Jollibee or Jollibee's food...

So I wrote her my response.