Ice cream-topped fries from Filipino fast-food chain Jollibee recently went viral on TikTok.
The dish features soft-serve on top of French fries with chocolate sauce and coconut flakes.
While interesting, I’m not sure it was a great value for the money.
Filipino fast-food chain Jollibee has been rapidly expanding in recent years. It recently launched a viral product — ice cream-covered French fries.
Fast-food chain Jollibee has been spreading quickly around the world, expanding from what was once a fan favorite in the Philippines to a multi-national fast-food empire with over 5,800 stores globally, according to the company on LinkedIn.
Within the US, the chain had already opened 56 stores in February, with the aim to open 20 more by the end of this year, and 500 locations by 2028, a spokesperson told Insider.
Known primarily for its fried chicken, called “chickenjoy,” and spaghetti with a sweet tomato sauce (which is common in the brand’s home country), the chain is looking to increase its grasp.
Earlier this month, these efforts included a new dish launched in the UK which quickly went viral on TikTok: a portion of French fries covered in soft-serve ice cream, drizzled in chocolate sauce, and then topped with coconut shavings.
The ice cream-topped fries dish went viral in the UK.
The original viral video, in which Jollibee UK’s TikTok account showed the suggested dish being made, gained around 600,000 views at the time of writing and was met with strong praise in the comments section (many commenters asked when they could purchase the dish).
Two weeks later, the brand posted a second video of the fries asking viewers if they would order them. That video received 2.2 million views and over 300,000 likes at the time of writing.
Jollibee quickly announced the dish would be available across the UK.
Jollibee isn’t the first chain to encourage fries-and-ice-cream combos.
Jollibee’s is far from the first fast-food company to combine these sweet and savory favorites.
In 2016, McDonald’s suggested that diners dip their fries into their milkshakes, according to Metro. While it was met with some skepticism at the time within the UK, the habit is quite common with other brands in the US, including fast-food chain Wendy’s, which encourages their diners to dip their fries in their “Frosty” milkshakes.
Growing up in the UK, it was much less common, so I was naturally intrigued.
The UK was experiencing a heatwave, so I decided to try Jollibee’s cooling dessert.
I’ve never dipped my fries in anything sweet, but this seemed like the perfect opportunity to test out the combination (particularly as I’m no stranger to trying TikTok recipes).
I visited the Jollibee’s location in Cardiff, Wales, which opened last July. I’ve been here a few times since its opening, but only ever for fried chicken, which I enjoy.
Within the store, Jollibee is clearly pushing the product due to its popularity on TikTok.
I was expecting the loaded fries to be fairly well advertised, but I was surprised to see the emphasis placed on the item’s virality.
While restaurants may often push items that go viral, I have never seen one advertised with the label: “As seen on TikTok.”
While ordering, I asked the cashier how popular the fries had been. They said the dish had been met with a lot of curiosity.
I ordered my ice cream fries, which came to just under £5, or around $6.50. Speaking to the worker at the front of the restaurant, they said reactions to the fries had been mixed.
While there had been a few people like me who saw it on TikTok, the worker suggested it wasn’t quite as popular as the original video might suggest.
Making it appeared simple enough: A worker took a box of fries and placed them directly under the soft-serve machine.
While assembling my order, the worker asked if I’d like the coconut flakes on top, as shown in the original video (I said yes).
A significant portion of the top comments on the original viral video suggested that the brand should remove the coconut flakes, so this might be a divisive inclusion.
Presented in a large box, the dish is very simple, and not the most elegant of presentations.
With credit to Jollibee, the dish looked almost identical to the one in the viral TikTok video. A decent portion of fries was nestled in the box underneath a fairly random pattern of soft serve and chocolate sauce.
I was given a fork but found the dish was much easier to eat with your hands — albeit messier.
Jollibee’s did provide me with a fork to eat the fries, but it felt a little unnatural to use. Instead, I opted to grab a few fries at a time and dip them into the ice cream and chocolate sauce.
Overall, the salty and sweet combination was better than I thought it would be, but the fries were soggy before I even started eating.
In theory, this dish has the makings to be very interesting. Its very nature is polarizing, juxtaposing the hot and cold; salty and sweet; soft and crispy. However, it didn’t deliver on all of these for me.
The salt of the fries did offer a nice savory boost to the otherwise heavy chocolate and ice cream. I often find many fast-food dessert options far too sweet, and I was happily able to finish the entire box of fries.
However, even before I had begun eating, the fries had lost their crunchiness, having soaked up all the moisture from the toppings. The cold and soggy fries weren’t the best, even if they were covered in ice cream.
In order for this dish to really work, the fries would have to be fresh out of the fryer, both hot and very crispy to contrast with the ice cream. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case for my order.
I did enjoy it, but I probably won’t order them again.
I think the fries are a good idea in theory and I did enjoy them somewhat. However, I don’t think I’d order the dish again, mostly because of the price. At nearly £5, or $6.50, it seems high when you could order a separate medium fries and a separate ice cream sundae together for around £3, or around $4.
In the world of fast food — where almost every menu item is affordable, accessible, and generally tasty — these ice cream fries just didn’t fit the bill.
If I want to re-create the same flavor combinations, I’ll order the items separately next time. For now, I’ll be sticking to Jollibee’s excellent fried chicken.
For those who want to try it themselves, a representative for Jollibee in the UK told Insider the ice cream fries will be available only in the UK for the next month. Despite this one reviewer’s opinion, popular demand may see them rolled out internationally to all stores, including the US, as well.
Read the original article on Insider