Bringers of Joy



Being away from home, from loved ones and from the familiar can be unsettling, daunting, and bring feelings of homesickness. This is something that Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) know all too well. Though this can be the hardest choice that one has to make, to leave their families and their homes, OFWs make this enormous sacrifice in order to support and create a better life for the ones they’ve left behind. Whatever job they do, it never gets easy, and the longing to find a sense of belonging to a community or “second family” is something that can bring some form of comfort during these times.

This is what the crew members of Jollibee Abu Dhabi strive to bring their customers and fellow OFWs. As they themselves know the feeling of being distant from home, they help ease their fellow kababayan’s homesickness by bringing them the familiar Taste of Home of Jollibee, the flagship brand of the largest Asian restaurant company, Jollibee Foods Corporation.

Elle Leyco, a team manager for Jollibee UAE, has opened four new stores in the past year. “It is an amazing feeling to feel the warmth of hunger for the Jollibee brand, and being able to bring a part of the Philippines to the hearts of Filipinos who are away from home,” she said when asked about what makes opening Jollibee stores in other countries special.

Cocoy, a Jollibee employee from the Philippines was chosen to be one of the members of the Abu Dhabi opening team, shared how exciting it was to be able to serve not only his fellow kababayans, but every nationality he meets in the store as well. “I always look forward to seeing the happy faces of customers who enter the store, and keep coming back for the Jollibee experience. It is the opportunity that Jollibee gives me to be able to welcome Filipinos and other fans of Jollibee that makes me happy working here.”

Saldy Mailong, who has been employed at Jollibee since 1993, shared that the welcoming feeling provided by the Jollibee family is the same today as it was 24 years ago. “There is always that feeling of warmth, family, and support when being embraced into the fold”. Now that he’s part of the Abu Dhabi team, the feeling of homesickness fades away as he is working amongst like-minded people who share the same passion, values, and commitment to serve.  “The joy that Jollibee brings into my life, and the feeling of being part of a home away from home is what we at Jollibee wish to share to our fellow kababayans here in Abu Dhabi, and even to the bigger community of Filipinos in the UAE.”

As OFWs themselves, these Jollibee Abu Dhabi crew members know exactly how important being closer to home means to their fellowmen. As such, they make it a point to make each Jollibee experience a special and memorable one for everyone who walks through the store doors.

Jollibee’s mission has always been to serve great tasting food and to spread the joy of eating to everyone. As it continues its commitment to this mission, its international expansion plans continue to unfold in many locations in the UAE and other countries across Asia, Middle East, North America, and Europe—all to bring more and more Filipinos in these places a Taste of Home.


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About the Jollibee Brand 

Jollibee is the largest fast food chain brand in the Philippines, operating a Philippine network of more than 950 stores. A dominant market leader in the Philippines, Jollibee has embarked on an aggressive international expansion plan, now with more than 150 international stores. 

Technomic has consistently cited Jollibee among its Top 500 ranking restaurants in the United States. 


About Jollibee Foods Corporation 

Jollibee Foods Corporation is the largest Asian restaurant company and the largest restaurant company in the Philippines. It operates over 3,000 stores globally with store branches in the Philippines, United States, Canada, China, Brunei, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, and Bahrain. The brands under its portfolio are Jollibee, Greenwich, Chowking, Red Ribbon, MangInasal, Burger King Philippines, Yonghe King, and HongZhuang Yuan. 

JFC also has considerable investments with the brands Highlands Coffee, Pho 24, 12 Hotpot, Dunkin Donuts in China and U.S. based burger chain Smashburger. 


Jollibee Foods Corporation has grown brands that bring delightful dining experience to its customers worldwide, in line with its mission of serving great tasting food and spreading the joy of eating to everyone. 


Jollibee Foods Corporation has been named the Philippines’ most admired company by the Asian Wall Street Journal for eight years in a row, and was honored as one of the ‘200 Best Under a Billion Companies in Asia’ and one of ‘Asia’s Fab 50 Companies’ by Forbes Asia Magazine. 






***Article was supplied by Jollibee***



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Cabbage Rolls with Ground Chicken


It's been a while since my last post, I'm guilty of laziness and many other valid reasons ;)
We move in to our new place and there were so many things to fix and arrange. Since we are blessed enough to find a nice small studio, I could now cook whatever and whenever I want.

These past few months, we were trying really hard to add healthy options to our daily meal. It is not a physical but mental challenge. However, we chose to slightly change our lifestyle. So a little sacrifice, specially for my husband is needed. Yes, he's not a vegetable fan, so I need so many tricks just to push him to eat it.

I tried to do a cabbage roll with ground lean chicken meat with vegetables. He had few rolls and I think he enjoyed it.


Ingredients:
  • Cabbage leaves (Trim the thick center vein from the bottom of each leaf.)
  • 2 medium minced onion + 1 medium minced onion
  • 5 cloves minced garlic + 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 cups tomato chopped
  • 1/2 kg ground lean chicken meat
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1 cup minced cabbage
  • 1 + 1 teaspoon ground dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • Grated cheddar cheese
  • Salt and teaspoon to taste  
  • water


Procedure:
  1. Boil water and put cabbage leaves for 2 minutes or just when it becomes tender to roll. Drain and set aside.
  2. In a pan, sauté 2 medium minced onion and 5 cloves minced garlic.
  3. Add ground chicken. Let it simmer for 7-8 minutes or until it lost its pink color.
  4. Season with salt, pepper, 1 tsp oregano and 1 tsp of paprika.
  5. Add minced cabbage and baby spinach. Let it simmer for 2 minutes more. Set aside.
  6. In a pan, sauté 1 medium minced onion and 3 cloves minced garlic.
  7. Add chopped tomatoes.
  8. Season with salt, pepper and oregano. Let it simmer for 2 minutes. Set aside.
  9. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  10. Lay flat the soft boiled cabbage leaf and put about 2 1/2 tablespoons of the chicken mixture on its center. Fold the sides over the filling, then roll the leaf up tightly.
  11. Place each roll on a buttered baking dish. Pour over the tomato mixture on the rolls.
  12. Top with grated cheese.
  13. Bake for 40 minutes.
  14. Serve and enjoy!





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Jollibee Opens Flagship Store in Al Falah, Abu Dhabi

Jollibee, the popular Filipino fast-food chain opens its flagship store in the heart of UAE capital last February 8, 2017. It is their second branch here in Abu Dhabi but as expected, Pinoys are always excited to welcome our favorite fast-food restaurant.

An exclusive media and VIP preview was held a day prior the store’s public opening. Ribbon cutting and speeches by Mr. Hisham Al Gurg, Chief investor in the Jollibee franchise in the UAE, Mr. Dennis Flores, Vice President for International Markets of the International Operations Division of Jollibee Foods Corporation, and Philippine Embassy Abu Dhabi Vice Consul Rowena Pangilinan Daquipil,  formally marks the soft opening of our well-loved restaurant.

Jollibee's expansion in UAE with their two new stores here in Abu Dhabi greatly made Filipinos happy. They indeed brought us a 'taste of home' with their signature crispylicious and juicylicious Chickenjoy. There is also the Jolly Spaghetti, known for its sweet-style meaty sauce; and Jollibee's signature 'langhap sarap' Yum Burgers and Burger Steak.



Media and VIPs gathered outside Jollibee store to witness the ribbon cutting.

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Homemade Tonkotsu Ramen


I know it is still very early to claim the winter weather here in UAE, but the temperature recently definitely showed a cooler breeze here in the desert. Well, anyhow, I'm totally enjoying it :) Although this change of weather here also marks a season of colds and flu :( and for foodie like me, the craving for hot soup. Yep, something to warm-up my tummy and to satisfy my ever craving palate.

I've been asking my husband to dine out in a recently opened restaurant featuring bowls of ramen and Japanese style rice bowls topped with different meat of your choice. But since, I've heard no so good reviews from my friends, I just decided to do my own version of tonkotsu ramen at home.

Considering a little effort in preparation, I think it was worth it though. I have to buy pork a day in advance to have it marinated overnight for a flavorful result. The ingredients are not so complicated but requires some techniques. Even boiling of eggs was a little delicate than my usual boiled eggs. It has to be cooked yet the yolk should be a little runny to add flavor in the ramen. Good thing I was able to achieved the perfect texture by boiling it not more than 6 minutes.

Anyhow, here's how I did my homemade tonkotsu ramen!

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Restaurant Review : The Noodle House


It was our 7th year wedding anniversary and we stayed for couple of days in Traders Hotel in Souk Qaryat Al Beri, Abu Dhabi. Our 2 days breakfast was included in our hotel package which was a very good deal; but to dine in for lunch and dinner in a 4-star hotel for couple of days, we thought it was a bit too much for our budget. Good thing that The Souk in Qaryat Al Beri was just 10 mnutes walking distance only from Traders Hotel. We were able to roam around the place and choose from different restaurants they have.

There are many restaurants and cafes in The Souk Qaryat Al Beri which also varies in many cuisines, but we were in the mood for good Asian food. We found The Noodle House which was definitely a good choice to satisfy our craving.

It was late afternoon and the restaurant was quite. There were few people dining at that time. The ambiance was very homey and relaxing. The staff assisted us to our table and gave us the menu. I initially wanted to have noodle soup but after our 10 minutes walk under the sun, I changed my mind ;) . The staff were all very kind and accommodating. It didn't took long and they served our order. Good thing that they already served our food just before diners started coming.
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No Bake Mango Cheesecake


Since we moved in to our new flat, it was a little difficult for me to always cook and bake. We have many flatmates who also cook that is why I do not have enough time to work in the kitchen lately. I really miss baking also, so whenever I have a chance I just do refrigerated cakes just to satisfy my cravings.

We bought a box of fresh green mangoes last week and because I avoided almost anything sour because of health reasons, my husband cannot finish all of our stock. We gave most of it to our friends but still plenty left. We let it ripe but my husband still can't manage to eat them all. So I decided to try a no-bake mango cheesecake.

It was my first time to do a no-bake cheesecake but I'm so happy that it all went perfect! I have seen many videos and read blogs about it and using gelatin to achieve its smooth firmness is just a great technique. Great result with less effort and few utensils to clean ;)

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Boneless Chicken Feet Salad



My husband and I were craving for this chicken feet salad we had during our Singapore food adventure. He consistently requested me to do this recipe at home but I was hesitant because I'm so lazy to debone chicken feet. But what can I do, I also craved for it. So, to satisfy both our tummy, here's a quick recipe plus a little added effort in deboning the chicken feet. Anyhow, it is all worth it! I'm sure this will be a hit as an appetizer, as main course or even pulutan ;)

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Home Style Shabu-shabu



I've been feeling a little under the weather lately. I got colds but I couldn't fully rest because we just moved out from our old flat to a new location which is a little far from my office. I had so much things to unbox and clean. My body isn't so much into dust and considering the hot weather here in Abu Dhabi, I guess if I couldn't fully rest I deserve good home-cooked food.


Since we just move in to our new crib, we just did a quick grocery to buy something that can satisfy my cravings. I added few available ingredients at home and ta-da, I have an instant comfort food!

I had this craving few days after we had dinner with friends in a shabu-shabu restaurant here in UAE. Some call it hotpot which originated in China or steamboat which is popular in Singapore and shabu-shabu which came from Japanese cuisine. This procedure of cooking is putting meat and vegies on a hot flavored soup. It is usually done using a pot heated on top of the dining table.

Here's a quick procedure on how I did my easy home-made shabu-shabu :)
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Singapore Food Adventure


Singapore is definitely a food paradise for food lovers, like me. A wide variety of food is available everywhere to satisfy the appetites of people from different cultures and races. Food are freshly cooked and the aroma will persistently linger in your mind until you try the mouthwatering dish. Singaporean food are mainly influenced by Chinese, Indian and Malay cuisines.

Being in Singapore for few days was such a relief from my daily work stress. My husband and I chose Singapore to visit because of Universal Studios and the food experience. Well, indeed, our food adventure was the best part of our trip :)

We stayed in Marrison Hotel in Bugis Street. We chose Bugis as suggested by my cousin since it is very accessible to MRT connections. Bugis was definitely a good choice since it is a food heaven! You may read my Singapore planning and our Singapore Adventure in my personal blog www.kikayinside.com


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Restaurant Review : Kenny Rogers Roaster Dubai



It's been a long time since I last visited Kenny Rogers Roasters and had a taste of their famous roasted chicken. Around 10 years now I guess. Since I was based here in UAE, I never had a chance to dine again in Kenny Rogers because it was not available here. And although I've had several vacations in the Philippines, my family and I usually preferred home-cooked meals. Well, anyway, I still remember how good their roasted chicken and side dishes back then, so when my friends suggested to visit Kenny Rogers' branch in Dubai last weekend it was a sure go!




Kenny Rogers Roasters opened last December 2015 in Al Karama Dubai and it was a huge success. The restaurants offer a casual dining environment with rotisserie roasted chicken as the main core item, while complemented by a variety of hot and cold side dishes.

I must say that the mouth-watering aroma and the taste indeed matched my expectations. It sure reminds me of my college days back home in the Philippines. Well, aside from the good food, their homey ambiance and the crews' superb customer service is definitely worth our 2-hour drive from Abu Dhabi just to try Kenny Rogers Roaster.














Yum!!! Tender, juicy and perfectly spiced roasted chicken.

I'm not a mac and cheese fan but this one makes me change my mind :)

Yep, my very advance birthday celebration ;)









Location: Al Karama Dubai

Facebook: Kenny Rogers Roaster Dubai
                   
Food:★★★★☆

Price:★★★★☆

Service:★★★★☆






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Restaurant Review : Jollibee @ Dubai Mall



This review was long overdue. Well, we only had a chance to visit Jollibee in Dubai mall recently, although they've been open there for  almost a year in couple of months now. We were lucky to be in queue for just 15 minutes since we arrived there a little early for lunch time. But after my turn to order, people started coming and the crew patiently assisted customers to be properly in line so other people in the food court will not be disturbed.

My husband and I were so excited that we wanted to try everything in the menu. I just told my husband that our priority was to taste the chicken, spaghetti, hotdog sandwich and the burger. So, I guess we've ordered almost everything. Here are our orders!






The aroma was quite 'The Pinas Jollibee'. Hmmmm, I'm already mouth watering while doing this post. Ok, I started with the spaghetti, it was 95% similar to the original. Then I took a bite of the chicken, I would say it was 90% similar to the original. The rice and burger steak was my husband's but I had a taste of it, I guess it's 98% similar as the original. I ate the jolly hotdog later in the afternoon of the same day and I would say it was 80% similar to the original. Overall, the taste was definitely satisfying. There were slight differences in the taste but I'm sure all our kababayans here in UAE were satisfied and happy.

The success of Jollibee here was really obvious that in less than a year they will be opening more branches in Dubai. Hopefully soon in Abu Dhabi also.






Location: Dubai Mall Food Court
                   
Food:★★★★☆

Price:★★★★☆

Service:★★★★☆







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Love Food Festival 2016 in Abu Dhabi


Love Food Festival in Abu Dhabi was held last February 18-21 in Mushrif Central Park. My husband and I visited it on the first day. Since we were there early, the park was not crowded and the aroma while on our way to the caravans was so tempting!


There were many food caravans from London and some caravans were from here in UAE. I would like to try it all but since I'm on a budget and slightly sick, I couldn't indulge so much to everything.

Here are some photos from my visit.



It was a pity I couldn't have churros :( I have a cough so I avoided eating sweets. 



Very unique!




I ordered chicken pad thai from Bangwok and it was yum! The serving was good for two :)


Grilled cheese from The Cheese Truck was one of my favorites. The taste? Heaven! ;)



This is Braco (British Tacos) from The Roadery is definitely delicious! One of my favorites since their last year's visit here in Abu Dhabi.

 We enjoyed watching baking demo by French pâtissier and celebrity chef  the "Cake Boy" Eric Landlard.



The night was young but we left early because it was very cold. Although, I didn't had much food to try, I really enjoyed the night. Indeed, food festivals are my favorite. Good food, vibrant music, happy people. 




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