On Tuesday I headed over to Gamestop to pick up my copy of Halo: Reach. I was on my lunch break and needed something quick to eat before heading back to work. I knew there was a Jollibee right next door and I thought, “Well… I’ve never actually been there. I’ll try it out.” I guess my half-Filipino roots were calling out to me to try something that originated in the Philippines, despite the fact that the mascot kind of gives me the willies:
He’s just a harmless… devilish looking…. red bumblebee… what’s wrong with that?!
Jollibee is a fast food chain from the Philippines. I went to the Philippines once in the early 90’s when I was about 11 years old. I don’t remember too much of the visit and I don’t remember seeing any Jollibee’s. I do remember being eaten alive by mosquitoes, eating some fabulous roasted pig, riding on motorcycles, swimming in very warm water with tropical fishies and having my mom make me drink holy water. Ahhh, memories.
Stepping inside of Jollibee isn’t anything like a flashback to the Philippines – it looks very much like any other fast food place in America. They serve burgers, fried chicken, and spaghetti. I’ve had the fried chicken at some point in my life and I wasn’t feeling like spaghetti, so I tried a few other things.
I got an order of the Lumpia ($2.29). I thought, “It’s lumpia! Yay!” I should have known better when she didn’t put my order in through the mic to tell the people in the back to start making it. Nope. She went to the little “holding area” where the fried chicken was and pulled the six pieces of lumpia out from under a heating lamp. Uh oh. And then gave me a package of sweet and sour in a packet. Double uh-oh.
Don’t they look harmless enough? By god. These were the worst lumpia I’ve ever had in my life. Not crunchy. Not crisp. Soggy in the middle. The filling was super bad. I don’t even know what flavors they were trying to attempt here, but it was inedible. I ate one of these and threw the rest away.
For my meal part, I got some Jollibee Crispy Fries ($1.29) and a “Little Sandwich” – the Spam sandwich on a pandesal roll ($.99). Spam doesn’t really bother me. I used to make spamburger sandwiches for lunch for myself when I was kid. Maybe it’s a cultural thing for canned processed meats. In any case, this sandwich was really basic, but at least it was more edible then those “lumpia”. Just a plain slice of Spam, a little mayo, and a slightly warmed pandesal roll. Not awful but nothing to write home about. The fries were hot and crispy, very akin to Burger King’s fries. Pretty good as far as fries go.
Maybe the chicken or spaghetti is really the thing to get here? All I know is, don’t get the lumpia! Course, now I’m having a serious craving for good, homemade lumpia. Maybe I can convince my mom to make some for my birthday. Hmmmm.
8118-E Mira Mesa Blvd
San Diego, CA 92126