Best Filipino Restaurant - 2012
It's true that Jollibee is a fast-food chain at which the staple of fried chicken has more in common with the Colonel than Filipino pritong manok, but there's no denying the company that bested KFC and McDonald's in the Phillippines has become the unofficial ambassador to the greatness of Pinoy cooking, a cuisine most Americans underappreciate and misunderstand. First, it reels you in with the spicy buckets of fried chicken, and then, maybe the burger. Pretty soon, you taste ube for the first time in milkshakes colored as purple as that plushy dinosaur, or you're biting into an old-school pocket pie filled not with apple, but langka. From there, it's a slippery slope to the Fiesta Noodles otherwise known as pancit palabok, the Pinoy version of pad Thai, or the other pleasures offered by Red Ribbon, a Filipino bakery chain connected to Jollibee that serves the scariest dish of them all: dinuguan, a jet-black stew made with pork blood. It's about then that you realize why there are more Filipinos at Jollibee than there are Chinese people at Panda Express.