Fast food giant Jollibee has finally opened its first ever branch in Italy! Much to the delight of over 200,000 Filipinos residing in Milan, the famous Chickenjoy is finally within their reach. On its opening day last Sunday, March 18, Filipinos from all over Italy patiently lined up and formed a kilometer-long queue outside the new restaurant, eager to get their hands on some of that good ol’ crispy Chickenjoy and sweet Jolly Spaghetti.
However, a lot of Italians were greatly confused by the hype. The restaurant’s food, particularly its sweet-style spaghetti which is an all-time favorite among Filipinos, drew mixed reactions from the people who invented pasta.
According to ABS-CBN Lifestyle, an article was published by Milano Today recognizing Jollibee as the most famous fast food in the Philippines. The article added that the restaurant must have a ‘certain notoriety’ in Milan as well, given the long lines on the day it opened. Because of this, Italians could not help but react negatively when they tried the food. As a people who value authenticity when it comes to their cuisine, some of them felt insulted by the sweet take on their pasta, with some even resorting to demeaning remarks.
They considered the sweet-style Jolly Spaghetti as an insult to Italian pasta, particularly because the latter only uses fresh ingredients on their spaghetti (fresh tomatoes, tomato sauce, or preserved sauce). Jollibee’s version, on the other hand, puts hotdogs and tops it off with cheese in addition to its very sweet tomato sauce. This prompted some to mock the dish and say that is should be turned into a pizza from Cracco instead.
Filipinos, of course, defended their favorite food. While it is true that it does not follow the ingredients for the traditional Italian pasta, they said the sweet-style spaghetti is an interesting take on the more sour and authentic one.
Unlike his countrymen, Italian food blogger Claudio Burdi seems to be more open to the idea of a sweeter version of their beloved spaghetti. However, he clarified that Jollibee’s version is not a pasta dish:
“I do not know if it is going to be appreciated here (Filipino spaghetti) as it has been in the rest of the world, for sure not as a pasta dish but maybe as a different plate. They could work here too as long as they are good. Moreover, I guess that Jollibee would propose a menu less sweet and flavoured in order to better please the Italian taste as beverage companies do for every different market.”
Despite the mixed reactions, one thing is for sure — Filipinos were overjoyed when they finally had a taste of home within arm’s reach.
What can you say about the Italians’ reactions to Jollibee’s famous Jolly Spaghetti? Sound off in the comments section below!