BalikBayani République | Tony Alabastro
Thirty three years after Jollibee launched its flagship product Yumburger here, Best Fried Chicken at inaugural Brunei Food Awards (BAF2020) is
Jollibee’s golden fried Chickenjoy. marinaded in Philippine spice mix and hand-breaded for outside crispness and inside succulence.
“The recognition of Jollibee’s Chickenjoy as the best fried chicken in Brunei is a testament to Jollibee’s mainstream presence in the food culture of Brunei, as well as the global reach of one of the Philippines’ top conglomerates,” says Ambassador Christopher Montero.
“Bruneians, both the old and current generations, patronize its value meals in the same way that ordinary Filipinos do,” he says.
“Jollibee is the first fast-food (restaurant chain) in Brunei. We are the first to introduce hamburger here in 1987,” says first country manager Jill Vargas-Fijo.
Yumburger, basic single beef patty, without pickles, in a bun, is called “beefburger” in Islamic Brunei.
Montero and special judges Korean Ambassador to Brunei Boon Hyun-bong and spouse Park Shin-So visit Jollibee in Kampong Kilanas. They taste Chickenjoy, Nasi Lemak Chickenjoy, Chicken Strips, Crispy Chicken Sandwich, Double Cheese Fries, Chicken Fillet Sandwich and Chickenjoy spicy.
With 18 halal-certified outlets, Jollibee Brunei has two more in pipeline. Outside the Philippines, it’s first to open a right-hand drive-through store and its first drive-through store, says Business Head Christina Ward.
When Brunei expanded its private sector in 1987, Jill Fijo, started Filipino fast-food’s second foreign franchise, (after Taiwan), in Utama Bowling Lanes, behind old Philippine Embassy, Seri Complex, Mile 1, Jalan Tutong.
“We had a Filipino staff of four management team and 10 crew lead-ers when we opened Jollibee to the people of Brunei on August 28,1987,” says Fijo.
That same year, Jollibee opened its second branch in Yaohan De-partment Store’s food court basement.
During 23rd Asean Summit Brunei hosted October 2013, President Aquino is first president to inaugurate new Philippine Embassy Chancery in Diplomatic Enclave, and “to promote Philippine companies,” visit Jollibee.
“The plan was to have the President dine upstairs. A lot of people gathered outside (Jollibee’s 112-seat, two storey Serusop branch). Instead of staying inside, the President went around, skipped a Champ (double patty burger) meal, and took a drink,” says Operations Manager Eriel “Joy” Cortez.
When Jollibee founder Tony Tan Caktiong addressed the 2007 Brunei National Business Conference, he told how two ice cream parlors he opened in January1975 became Philippines’ biggest fast-food empire.
Ambassador Virginia H. Benavidez hosted Caktiong to dinner at her Ang Bahay Rimba official residence on Nov. 29, 2007.
Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, a Jollibee-majority owned international chain, wins Best Brunei Coffee for its ice blended coffee, and second for mocha latte.
74 dishes from 44 restaurants get BFA2020 awards in different cate-gories after 336 local restaurants and eateries submit 800 best dishes, including nasi katok (knock rice), chilli soft shell crab pasta, cendol green rice flour dessert, wajid sticky rice cake, and pillowy soft roti kuning, yellow bread filled with kaya coconut jam and butter.