JunJun Jollibee Dinner

In the past month or so, a new pop up called JunJun run by Chef Jun Robles (JunJun is Filipino for Junior) has been holding events in Portland working with the website Feastly. Feastly has launched in multiple cities, including Portland, and allows chefs to connect to venues and to connect to people who are looking to attend an informal food event – be it a supper club in a home or a pop up event in a restaurant. It is a lot easier then following multiple pop ups on social media or on mailing lists – and browsing Feastly Portland is how I discovered the JunJun Jollibee Dinner being held at Cooper’s Hall last week on April 17.
JunJun Jollibee Dinner held at Cooper's Hall JunJun Jollibee Dinner held at Cooper's Hall

If you haven’t heard of Jollibee, it is an insanely popular fast food chain in the Philippines and also in other countries, including some branches in the United States. The closest branch to Portland is in Washington. I’ve never been, but I’ve heard many stories about how huge the lines are whenever they open a location in the US.

Most of the courses were family style and arrived at the table whenever ready but in no particular order except for dessert last – which apparently is the way food is served in the Phillipines. So at two long tables of 20, we started with shared starter snacks of taro chips with spicy soy sauce and coconut garlic sauce and Banana Sauce (a Filipino version of ketchup)
JunJun Jollibee Dinner held at Cooper's Hall starter snacks of taro chips with spicy soy sauce and coconut garlic sauce and Banana Sauce (a Filipino version of ketchup) JunJun Jollibee Dinner held at Cooper's Hall starter snacks of taro chips with spicy soy sauce and coconut garlic sauce and Banana Sauce (a Filipino version of ketchup)

Next on the table was the Spaghetti with bucatini, garlic tomato butter, porkbelly, hotdog, pecorino, toasted breadcrumb and wild honey. This was a sweeter spaghetti then I was expecting, apparently because in normal Filipino spaghetti they use sugar with banana ketchup. Not as sweet as the Jollibee version, but perhaps that was a plus in that this dish was a nice balance of being savory and sweet.
JunJun Jollibee Dinner held at Cooper's Hall celebrating and inspired by the iconic fast food chain: Spaghetti with bucatini, garlic tomato butter, porkbelly, hotdog, pecorino, toasted breadcrumb and wild honey JunJun Jollibee Dinner held at Cooper's Hall celebrating and inspired by the iconic fast food chain: Spaghetti with bucatini, garlic tomato butter, porkbelly, hotdog, pecorino, toasted breadcrumb and wild honey

Buttered Corn, sweet corn kernels sauteed with lemon bagoong butter (bagoong is a kind of fish/shrimp paste) was next to arrive. I had assumed corn was an American influence into their food culture similar to how spaghetti was during the American occupation. But, corn has been part of the Phillipines for a long time, thanks to trade with Mexico that existed even before the United States was founded.
JunJun Jollibee Dinner held at Cooper's Hall celebrating and inspired by the iconic fast food chain: Buttered Corn, sweet corn kernels sauteed with lemon bagoong butter

My least favorite dish if I had to pick one was the Garlic Fried Rice, a plate of jasmine rice lightly fried with garlic and butter. The rice seemed dry and like it could use more garlic so believe it or not people at my table and myself were adding more of the coconut garlic sauce from the table setting with the chips earlier.
JunJun Jollibee Dinner held at Cooper's Hall celebrating and inspired by the iconic fast food chain: Garlic Fried Rice, a plate of jasmine rice lightly fried with garlic and butter

And here is the greatly anticipated Fried Chicken, which was super tasty fried dark meat – the fellow diners at my table who had Jollibee experience said the taste was pretty on point, but the texture was different and possibly better because it wasn’t as thick.
JunJun Jollibee Dinner Fried Chicken, dark meat fried to golden brown joyful deliciousness

The only plated course of the dinner was dessert, a Maise con Hielo Dessert of sweet creamed corn, ube ice cream, coconut granita and cashew polvoron dust. I always get such a kick with Asian desserts, I wish there was a way to get these on a regular basis. It may sound weird to pair sweet corn with ice cream but it totally works!
JunJun Jollibee Dinner held at Cooper's Hall celebrating and inspired by the iconic fast food chain: Maise con Hielo Dessert of sweet creamed corn, ube ice cream, coconut granita and cashew polvoron dust

As a bonus, a college buddy of Chef Jun was dining this evening and it was his birthday, so we all sang happy birthday to him and then got a little slice of the pandan and coconut cake. Earlier he and his brother were among those who volunteered to try balut that they were optimally offering (I opted out).

It was my first time seeing balut, which are boiled duck eggs – the duck eggs are fertilized and there is part of the bird inside. The awesome Filipinos next to me (and who also explained the tight knit Filipino Portland community aka FLIPs) explained how usually the balut are sold from street carts often wrapped in towels and you never know how old and how formed the bird inside may be. The one birthday boy enjoyed (sorry dude the photo was completely blurry as your eyes rolled up with your spoonful of jellied head) was small. Balut is all about the juices. And, you are supposed to shoot the embryo bird part sort of like an oyster. More usefully for me in the near term, I was also filing away recommendations from my Filipino tablemates recommendations of where to get longanisa at a Filipino supermarket (and they have a little cafe nearby) at Manila Market in Beaverton and to get pan de sal and other baked goods in SW Portland at Saint Barbra Pinoy Bakery.
JunJun Jollibee Dinner Pandan Cake with Coconut

Have you heard of Jollibee before or visited one and had a chance to enjoy it? What do you think of the combination of fried chicken and these sides? Would you be opting in to try balut?

JunJun Jollibee Dinner enjoy your fried chicken with sides like sweet spaghetti or garlic fried rice

If you haven’t seen the viral Jollibee videos, check out the Jollibee Valentines Commercial series from 2017 Vow, Crush, and Date and from last year Breakfast.

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Comments

  1. I’ve never had that kind of food before! So cool to see a new cuisine/style represented here!

  2. Lots of interesting dishes – I’d really like to try that spaghetti with the honey at hot dogs!!! You are the Queen of Pop Ups Pech!

  3. Oh WHAT?! Seriously: How did I miss a Jollibee pop up?!? I’m Filipino for pete’s sake! This all looks sooo good. And, I’ve had balut. It’s fine. Just don’t think about it when you’re eating it 😉

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