Hello, Jollibee, my old friend

As you may have heard, Jersey City now has its very own Jollibee. No longer do we have to schlep all the way to Queens, taking 2 trains, just for a bite of its yummy hamburgers. I took my parents there a couple of weekends ago and we were pleasantly surprised to see the restaurant was quite spacious. There was a line on the right as soon as you entered; the left side was the dining area and extended all the way to the back. The restaurant was located in a shopping plaza, which meant parking space — always a plus.

There was still quite a crowd when we got there around 2 p.m. (I was delayed by horrendous traffic in Chinatown). There were many families, at least three generations often represented in one unit. There were packs of young Fil-Ams. And, surprisingly, a good number of non-Filipinos.  I wondered if they were first-timers or repeaters.


My parents grabbed a booth while I waited in line to place our order. I knew what I wanted: the Champ — the best hamburger i’ve ever had, bar none. Of course, when I got to the counter, confusion arose, the name had apparently changed to Yumburger. I also ordered Chickenjoy and spaghetti.

After the photos were taken, I got ready to enjoy my hamburger. I’m not exaggerating when I tell you there was palpable excitement when I opened the box and began unwrapping the paper cover. I inhaled long and deep, savoring the familiar scent. What did Jollibee call it before? Langhap-sarap? Is that still being used to advertise the hamburger? I digress. with a quick intake of breath, i bit down on the hamburger and was suddenly transported to my childhood, when an hour in the church in sta. cruz, manila, was often followed by a stop at jollibee — or, occasionally, a stop at hen wah, a chinese restaurant right across from it. my mom used to call it simbang hamburger or simbang siopao. if jollibee ever changed its recipe, i couldn’t tell. the hamburger appeared to taste exactly as it did a few decades ago — the juicy patty (remember the rumors that it wasn’t quite all beef?), the crisp lettuce, the tomato slices, the sweet pickles, the cheese that’s a bit waxy and the liberal use of ketchup and mayonaisse (as you can see from the photo).

the hamburger was quite filling and i had a leg of the chickenjoy (delicious, as usual) so the spaghetti was ignored. i don’t think we would have enjoyed it even if we were still hungry, though. the hotdog slices were scarce, the cheese gooey in a not-so-good way and the sauce was too sweet and too little. not enough to sufficiently coat the mound of noodles in the container. oh, did i mention the pies yet? jollibee has two flavors now, did you know? the original peach/mango and banana/jackfruit. i think i may actually like the latter better.

so, good eats, all in all. you can be sure we’ll be regulars, my parents and i. they said they liked the chickenjoy better than the other fried chicken we have here, such as kentucky fried chicken and popeye’s. they did wonder why the pieces were a bit small, LOL!


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Betis Boy says:

    yumburger has always been the name for their regular hamburgers. the champ is their counterpart to mcdo's big mac. wow, you got treated to the champ burgers when you were a kid? it really showns you're an only child. ha.ha. i think we had to halve a regular yumburger 🙂 i wonder if going to jollibee for a filipino kid is still as special as it was for us (and you there abroad). every corner here has one! 🙂


  2. Guagua Girl says:

    one of our mutual friends mentioned on FB that she and her husband drove 3.5 hours on the west coast just to get to a newly opened jollibee! LOL!

    quick story about jollibee. one of my uncles treated me to jollibee once; a prize for doing well in school or something. but he ordered me a yumburger. as soon as i got home, i complained to my mom about the dinky burger, LOL! my mom had to explain to him that I never get the yumburger. i know, i know! am just a tiny bit spoiled, aren't i? 😛


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