|Jollibee® at Lucky Plaza, Singapore|
Jolibee® recently opened its first branch here in Singapore March of this year.
Like most Filipinos, I too grew up with this happy red bee (who didn't? Unless you were living under a rock all this time.) Although I have to admit, Jolibee® isn't in my to-go to dining establishment in the Philippines list anymore (I do think that will change soon since the Little One is already professing a love for Jolly Spaghetti back when we were vacationing in PH), it is, in a way, quite different seeing them here in the Lion City. It just reminds me of home. And to the weary OFW, the lure of anything that even remotely reminds us of the homeland is too great a temptation to resist.
Thus, it was decided that our small family would brave the crowd one sunny Monday morning just to have a taste of some of our (the Husband's and my) childhood favorites.
|Line to the counter|
Holy Long Queues, Little One!
See the queue in the picture above? It may not seem as bad as one would think but check out the next photo.
|Line extends next door|
Yes, folks, that snaking line extends to the empty stall beside Jolibee®. Take note that this was taken on a weekday at 10:00 in the morning!
There is usually a 30 minute to an hour wait for service during the weekday meal rush (we were actually in line for half an hour before reaching the counter.) Worse on the weekends when it can extend to as long as 2 hours! Yup, that's how excited Filipinos here are for the big bee. And it seems like the hype won't be dying down anytime soon. You have to give Jolibee® credit, though. They keep the line very organized.
Jolibee® here can seat up to 300 patrons. But one need not worry about waiting too long for a seat as we did notice that most of their consumers choose to take their purchases home.
The Boycott Jollibee Movement?
As expected, Filipinos are the main customers of Jolibee®, for now anyway. But the place has been getting good reviews from local bloggers and some media outlets that you can already see some locals braving the crowds just to see what the hype is all about.
It still didn't stop a group of locals from calling a boycott of the red bee because of a belief that the establishment supposedly places more emphasis on hiring Filipinos than Singaporeans for their staff (news of companies preferring to hire foreigners than Singaporeans is a very sensitive issue here; has actually been for quite some time now).
Although news has come out that there is no basis to this rumor (the Singapore Business Review has even featured an article highlighting some of Jollibee®'s Singaporean staff members, among others), it still hasn't stop a number of the citizens from voicing out their sentiments about the place.
Regardless, it has been reported that a second outlet is currently in the works, a testament of how well Jollibee® has been doing here, so far.
So What's to Eat?
Negatives aside, let's move on to the food!
The menu here isn't as extensive as in the Philippines; but Jollibee® did bring in most of their top sellers from home (please visit the Jollibee® Facebook page for more information about their current offerings.) They did mention that they will be eventually introducing the other items bit by bit.
Chickenjoy, of course, would be part of the offerings.
|2-pc Chickenjoy value meal|
I must day, I'm liking the Chickenjoy here more than in the homeland. It just seems tastier and juicier here than in PH (but that's just me, anyway.) A 2-pc chickenjoy value meal costs S$6.80 (Php224.40*); includes drink, rice, and gravy (FYI extra rice costs S$0.50/Php16.50*. Same goes for an additional serving of gravy.)
Whereas other people immediately associate Jollibee® with Chickenjoy, I, for one, am (and will always be) a Jolly Spaghetti fanatic.
Jolly Spaghetti (S$3.00/Php99.00*; ala carte) here though, tastes a little different from the one we have in the Philippines. Don't get me wrong. It's still as sweet and savory as the original but there is something missing that, for the life of me, I just could not pinpoint.
Case in point, the Little One loves this in the Philippines (she can actually finish a whole serving by herself); but here, she won't take a bite of it. Personal preferences, I guess.
Is it Worth It?
Of course it is! Given the thousands of Filipinos working here who most probably grew up with the "Bee", it isn't any wonder that this place is always so darn full! I am hoping, though, that Jollibee® will become more popular with the locals as well. I guess only time will tell.
*S$1 = Php33