Thursday, November 25, 2004

Pollo Campero, Jollibee, Yoshinoya

Chain chain chain, chain of fools - Don Covay

Take these chains from my heart and set me free
- Hank Williams

Schooled in anticorporate attitudes from my Bay Area days, I was thrilled to discover two tasty fast food chains from overseas that are thriving in the face of Yanqui hegemony; Pollo Campero and Jollibee. Yoshinoya isn't as toothsome as the other two but good things do come in threes and there are commonalities. Mostly, all three are serving food that is substantially different from the American ideal yet modified from its original form to fit the standardised fast food model, with amusing results. Eat at Pollo Campero or Jollibee and stick it to the man!

Pollo Campero
1605 W. Olympic Blvd. (at Union). Open from 10 a.m.-10 p.m., seven days a week.
Pollo Campero is from Guatemala, and proffers delicious fried chicken spiced very differently from the famous Colonel. The main reason for visiting is to see what the local community went bananas over when they opened their store in Pico Union - lines around the block and widespread rejoicing (luckily the craziness has died down enough that one can waltz on in these days). My favourite Pollo Campero story is that of the woman who flew to LA - prior to the opening of the local outlet - with hundreds of pieces purchased from the Guatemala City airport branch and stored in garbage bags. She resold them at a high enough profit to make back her airfare!


139 W. Carson St. Carson, CA 90745
(310) 513 1941
A Filipino hamburger megachain, Jollibee reminds me of the new wave Party line "capitalism with Chinese characteristics". These folks are growing faster than McDonald's in their native Philippines, fueled by strangely familiar hamburgers that are nevertheless tailored to the Pinoy palate with soy sauce and a lot of sugar. I frequented the SF Jollibee often but have yet to trek out to Carson to scratch this itch. Sort of a pan-fast food restaurant, Jollibee prepares soft-n-squishy spaghetti, dogs, fried chicken and a few choice Filipino treats (fast food palabok - woohoo!) in addition to the aforesaid burgers, which are actually substantially better than the competition to my sugar- and soy-liking taste. I like the Pinoy-specific desserts such as halo-halo and the langka/jackfruit pie. I am proud to use my Jollibee key ring whenever I go to do laundry.

many locations
This was a cool place to eat in SF where there was only one outlet - in a lousy food neighbourhood near the Financial District - and its trashy fast food ultra-thin beef-over-rice bowl was actually a novelty (I never ate the sushi or other offerings). The attraction was mostly the amazing speed with which the food appeared, a truly frightening haste which didn't square with the passable quality - I suppose turnover must have been higher than it appeared. I still maintain its a better port in a storm than Jack-In-The-Box.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

myn family -'s coming over to visit me here in L.A. coz i work here and they stay in the Bay Area and I am so grateful for your website coz we love to eat and i really need somebody to help me to find good food place. a million thanks!

8:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yoshinoya Ack! What the heck is up with those vegetables? That glaze on them is not of this earth

12:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yoshinoya...we called it "Beef Bowl" back in the late 80's. Not as good as it was then. The worst is in Cerritos. Slow, Slow, Slow.
Jollibee...been to the one in Cerritos once. Can't remember why I don't go back.
Pollo Campero, I'll have to try it next time I visit my client in that area. Sounds good.

9:59 PM  

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