The Fruity Sauce That Makes Jollibee's Spaghetti Unique

To say that Jollibee's is just another fried chicken restaurant chain would be a mistake. Yes, the Filipino restaurant does specialize in deliciously crispy fried chicken, which the company refers to as ChickenJoy. It has chicken sandwiches and tenders, too, as well as some of your standard fast food sides like french fries and mashed potatoes. Beyond that, however, things start to get a little different.

Alongside all that poultry and potatoes are burgers and burger steaks, a sweet drink called a Pineapple Quencher, and spaghetti — though this is hardly the kind your nonna makes for Sunday dinner. Jollibee's take on the dish is smothered in a meaty red sauce somewhat similar to bolognese. However, unlike the sauce people are used to in the U.S., it has a sweet flavor profile thanks to a unique ingredient: banana ketchup.

A condiment staple in the Philippines, banana ketchup is a sweet and tangy dip made from sugar, spices, vinegar, and, yes, bananas. The latter ingredient takes on the role of tomatoes, which are difficult to grow in the Philippines. As such, banana ketchup — which earns its familiar red hue from food dye — became the base of the sauce used in Filipino spaghetti, including the version featured on Jollibee's menu.

Banana ketchup isn't the only unique ingredient in Jollibee's spaghetti

Remember when we said Jollibee's banana ketchup-based Jolly Spaghetti sauce was somewhat similar to bolognese? That's because it's packed with ground meat, and that's not the only source of protein in the menu item, either. Additionally, Jolly Spaghetti features bits of ham and hot dog slices, both of which add saltiness to the sweet sauce.

Altogether, the combination of ingredients creates a sauce that one Redditor described as being reminiscent of "a sweet bowl of chili." That may not sound appealing to those who prefer their spaghetti sauce more on the savory side. However, based on the reviews for this Filipino fast food menu item, the various ingredients in Jollibee's Jolly Spaghetti just seem to work.

"It's actually very sweet, but rich and hearty," YouTuber Peep This Out said in their review, while their fellow YouTuber theendorsement awarded the dish a score of 86 out of 100. The late Anthony Bourdain was also a fan, calling the dish "strangely alluring" during his visit to the Philippines for an episode of "Parts Unknown" in 2016.