Is it better? Chef Joshua Weissman sets out to create ‘better’ version of Jollibee’s Chickenjoy and spaghetti

Screenshot: Joshua Weissman (YouTube)
Screenshot: Joshua Weissman (YouTube)

After creating a faithful and widely viewed recipe of chicken adobo on his YouTube channel, popular food content creator and chef Joshua Weissman took yet another stab at Filipino food, this time featuring his take on Jollibee’s famous Chickenjoy and Jolly Spaghetti pairing — aka the classic C3 meal (Filipinos, IFYKYK).

Weissman puts the spotlight on the two iconic Jollibee dishes and sets out to create a “better version” of both as part of his “But Better” series where he recreates fast food items and other mass-produced snacks with a more refined touch.

In his video, Weissman says that Jollibee was one of the most requested challenges for his “But Better” series.

“I have a lot of friends who love it and I’ve actually never had it, so I’m excited to put it in my mouth and masticate until I understand what the flavors are like so I can then bust it wide open,” he explains. 

“I do this with respect and love, and I understand this is a big part of culture in the Philippines. It’s a big part of Filipino food, and this is also an homage towards that,” he adds. 

After taking a bite of Chickenjoy with its gravy he says that he “gets the hype” surrounding it. “Flavors are really nice, [they’re] straightforward,” he comments.

Weissman says he isn’t as big of a fan of the spaghetti, however, as one might expect of somebody who didn’t grow up accustomed to its sweet and meaty recipe.

“Why the fuck does this exist?” he says.

Creating a roux out of butter, all-purpose flour chicken fat, and some vegetable oil, Weissman first recreates Jollibee’s gravy with chicken stock, Silver Swan soy sauce (a popular Filipino brand), and a sprinkling of MSG.

Next, the chef creates a buttermilk marinade for the chicken mixed with Silver Swan, coriander seeds, onion powder, garlic powder, ginger powder, white pepper,  and some MSG. He uses the same dry seasonings with all-purpose flour and salt for the dredge.

For Jollibee’s sweet spaghetti sauce, Weissman uses smoked ham and his homemade hotdogs, finely chopped garlic, tomato paste, chicken stock, crushed tomatoes, and granulated sugar.

Weissman favors his own creation during the taste test. “This is like the best piece of chicken we’ve made on this channel, ever,” he says of the fried chicken. He adds that his spaghetti is just “all right,” but chooses it over the Jollibee version as it is less sweet and has more diverse textures.

But for a fairer comparison, he calls in Dan, a Filipino friend and former co-worker, to do a blind taste test.

While blindfolded, Dan tastes both versions and chooses Weissman’s chicken, but prefers Jollibee’s spaghetti.

“The taste definitely sticks to my mind… I could definitely eat it and distinguish it from childhood. It’s really familiar to me,” he says.

“You can put the flavor in the chicken but you can’t take away the culture and the nostalgia,” Weissman concludes, giving Jollibee a gold star of approval — “a first in But Better history.”

READ: Who got served? Jollibee and Nando’s mascots engage in fast food dance battle in Malaysia

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