Filipino fast-food restaurant chain Jollibee’s fried chicken has been named the “best chain fried chicken” in the U.S. by Vox Media’s food website Eater.
In Eater’s piece, titled “Which Chain Makes the Best Fried Chicken?” writers and editors pitted 16 fast-food restaurants in the U.S. against each other to find the best fried chicken in the country.
To ensure maximum chain diversity, Eater divided the chicken into four categories: Bones (regular fried chicken), No Bones (such as nuggets and tenders), Sandwiched (fried chicken sandwiches) and Sauced (chicken dishes paired with sauces).
Besides Jollibee, the featured restaurants included Popeyes, KFC, Burger King, Church’s, Wendy’s, McDonald’s, White Castle, Chick-Fil-A, Shake Shack, Fuku, Bojangles, Bonchon, Wingstop, Panda Express and Del Taco.
The Philippines’ Jollibee Chickenjoy and South Korea’s Bonchon fried chicken made it to the final round of the website’s fried chicken bracket. In the end, Lesley Suter, Eater’s deputy editor, declared Chickenjoy the winner.
“I will confess I’ve lived a block away from one of the U.S.’s coveted 70 Jollibee branches for six years and have never eaten the chicken. My loss, it turns out,” Suter wrote.
Suter described the Chickenjoy’s seasoned skin to be “as tectonically crunchy as advertised” and said that the chicken was “satisfyingly light, flavorful and supremely moist.”
Although the editor was initially a fan of Bonchon’s flavors at first bite, she wrote, “the meat reveals itself to be a hair on the dry side, without much discernable chicken flavor.”
“The result had me reaching back into the box for wing after wing. But was that because the wings are so good they’re addictive? Or perhaps because the waning flavor of each wing left me somehow unfulfilled, in a state of perpetual longing for another saucey hit?” Suter said.
“Jollibee’s signature gravy is more than just an optional dunk; it completes the dish, gelatinous in a way I can only describe as naughty, while proudly showing its Filipino colors with a hefty dose of sugar,” Suter added. “On its own, the gravy is unremarkable bordering on weird, but slathered on a bite of Chickenjoy, the sweetish gravy brings out a whole other realm of flavor — bright, tangy, rich. It’s the chicken’s perfect complement.”
Jollibee, which has over 1,300 locations across the globe, claims to be the largest and fastest-growing Asian restaurant company, according to their website. Besides its crispy fried chicken, the restaurant is known for its Filipino sweet-style spaghetti and peach mango pie.
The Filipino fast-food chain currently has 64 branches in the U.S. and has a goal of managing 500 stores across North America by 2028. As part of the company’s aggressive overseas expansion plans, Jollibee is set to open a flagship in New York City’s Times Square with its own exclusive new menu on Thursday.
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