There’s food that tastes good and there’s food that inspires obsession. Welcome to Cult Following, a new Eater video series that follows Eater New York news editor Serena Dai as she explores all the restaurants and people that spawn the food world’s ultimate fans.
First up: Filipino fast food chain Jollibee. The restaurant serves a seemingly unconventional menu of items like fried chicken, sweet spaghetti with hot dogs, and mung bean noodle soup, and they’re as ubiquitous in the Philippines as McDonald’s is here. Some fans consider it a national treasure of the Philippines, saying it’s a true taste of home. But locations are still rare in the U.S., which means when one opens, people go nuts. When the first one in the Midwest opened in Chicago, some people drove as long as seven hours to get a taste — only to be met by an insanely long line.
New York City is home to one location of the chain, in Woodside, Queens, so Serena went to the outpost with Jollibee fan and celebrity chef Dale Talde to check out all the hype. Watch the video to see why Jollibee connects to so many Filipino immigrants in the States.