The UK’s love affair with fried chicken isn’t going away any time soon, but despite the sheer volume of fry shops that line our high streets, one of the nation’s true cult favourites has taken a long and winding route to Leeds. Jollibee, founded in the Philippines, has become a smash-hit wherever it’s launched, powered by crispy chicken, ‘Jolly Spaghetti’, and one very active mascot.
Jollibee first hit the UK with a London launch in 2018, and if you’d like a taster of how excited, consider this: people queued for eighteen hours to be the first through the doors. The brand is now targeting 50 stores across the country by 2025, and they recently added Leeds to their growing chicken empire, to go with outposts in Liverpool, Edinburgh, Leicester, and beyond.
Though the crispy fried chicken – known as Chickenjoy – is the star of the show here, Jollibee distinguishes itself from KFC and the other chicken joints with dishes such as their Jolly Spaghetti, which is a sweeter take on the classic Italian dish. It’s what turned the legendary late chef and food traveller Anthony Bourdain into a fan, who dubbed Jollibee “the wackiest, jolliest place on Earth”.
Elsewhere on the Jollibee menu, the famed Yumburger is probably first on the must-try list, whilst the mango coconut sundae should provide a sweet ending to your dinner here. Looks like life is pretty jolly at Jollibee!