A game of pies | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

There are only two questions I ask when I go to any branch of beloved Filipino fast-food chain Jollibee: “What parts of ChickenJoy are available?” and “Is there Peach-Mango Pie?”

If neither leg nor thigh parts are available, I leave the restaurant. Yes, I’m a shameless fried-chicken snob. I know what I want and its name is red meat. (By the way, the “rib part” is an abomination and should be erased from the menu.)

However, when the cashier asks me, “Ma’am, willing to wait po for Peach-Mango Pie,” I always reply with an unequivocal “Yes!” Because Peach-Mango Pie is a lot like love, it is worth waiting for.

In some ways I am a Jollibee evangelist, spreading the gospel of The Bee to the nonbelievers. (I recently had a spirited, albeit weird, conversation with two Singaporean professionals about Peach-Mango Pie during a trip abroad.) When I learned of Ube Pie, the newest culinary creation to grace Jollibee’s menu, I knew this was a story begging to be written. Finally, I can put my obsession to good use.

Here is a definitive ranking of Jollibee pies, from the just OK to the GOAT (greatest of all time):

5. Banana-Langka

In the course of my research for this article, a friend questioned my placing of Banana-Langka Pie at the bottom of the pie totem pole. What, she asked, was my beef with a pie that tasted like the Filipino snack, turon?

And that was precisely my issue with it. Ripe saba and sweetened langka encased in crispy lumpia wrapper, deep-fried and coated in burnt brown-sugar glaze—these make turon the snack we all know and love. While I am all for food innovation, I believe removing the brown-sugar glaze and crispy wrapper from the equation makes Jollibee’s Banana-Langka Pie an unnecessary and poor imitation of this Filipino snack icon.

Banana-Langka Pie is just not turon—never is and never will be. (The question of whether langka should even be included in turon is separate debate altogether.)

4. Choco-Mallow

In theory, chocolate lovers like myself should be besotted with Choco-Mallow Pie. It’s Jollibee’s pocket pie version of s’mores. Deep-fried chocolate pastry filled with velvety dark chocolate and gooey marshmallow cream—I mean that should have catapulted this dessert item to at least No. 2 on this list.

Alas, Choco-Mallow Pie proves there is such a thing as too sweet when it comes to dessert—and even too chocolate-y. Marshmallow cream in itself is sweet, but if you add melted chocolate that is more sugary than bittersweet plus a chocolate-flavored pie crust to the mix, what you get isn’t a sweet treat but a toothache waiting to happen.

My mom often says dessert should be the exclamation point in every meal, but Choco-Mallow Pie is just too many !!!!!!! in my book.

3. Ube

The newbie in Jollibee’s roster of pies, Ube Pie is such an obvious pocket pie variant that I am surprised it took Jollibee so long to create it.

Maybe it’s the timing. Ube, with its rich, earthy, nutty, vanilla-like flavor (not to mention its intense purple color), has been enjoying its moment in the global culinary spotlight. And it’s 2018 after all, the year of Pantone color Ultra Violet.

I was skeptical at first. I never liked how some desserts (like ice cream) would try to artificially recreate ube’s distinct flavor. But my doubts were laid to rest after that first bite of Ube Pie. The gooey, creamy ube jam filling is just the right amount of sweetness and is a great counterpart to the salty-sweet pie crust. The only con I could think of is the texture. A more chunky consistency would have been better.

2. Tuna

Jollibee’s Tuna Pie is a game-changer. Unlike the rest of the fast-food chain’s dessert pies, this seasonal cult favorite is a savory meal in itself.

Instead of the usual burst of sugary filling that melts in your mouth when you take a bite, with Tuna Pie, what you get is a mouthwatering medley of tuna, carrot and mushroom mixed in creamy, cheesy, peppery sauce. And it’s addictive. I know of people who hoard these goodies when they become available a couple of weeks before Ash Wednesday.

I do think it’s smart marketing that Jollibee offers this delicious pie only seasonally. I’m pretty sure it would have usurped the pie throne if it became a permanent fixture in Jollibee’s menu.

1. Peach-Mango

Still the pie to beat, Peach-Mango Pie is Jollibee’s signature dessert pie. It is a classic, the OG of Jollibee’s pocket pies, if you will. And it is such for a very good reason.

I don’t care if this is just nostalgia talking, but Peach-Mango Pie is pure perfection. Its filling of diced mango and peach and fruit slurry is sweet, tart and not at all cloying. The fruit flavors are a match made in dessert heaven and perfectly complement the slightly salty yet sweet, golden-crispy pastry.

The pie in itself is wonderful—that distinct crackle of the flaky crust, that decadent hot fruity mixture oozing onto your tongue, that acidity that bursts in your mouth when you bite into a piece of mango—but topping it with Jollibee’s vanilla soft-serve makes it utterly sublime.

Taking a bite of Peach-Mango Pie is akin to having an out-of-body experience. It’s just that good.

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