Date of Award



Julie Kim

Second Advisor

Oneka LaBennett


On February 13, 2009 in Woodside, Queens an estimated 4,500 Filipino- Americans formed a line outside in thirty five-degree weather. Braving the cold and a nearly four hour wait these Filipino-Americans were desperate for the first east-coast extension of Jollibee to open itʼs doors. The media that covered the opening attempted to understand what was behind this Filipino fervor, one New York Times article was titled “Fast Food for the Filipino Soul”. Filipinos told reporters they were desperate for a “taste of home.” But what is this “taste of home”? The Filipino owned and operated fast food chain serves hot dogs, hamburgers and fried chicken: American food. So why is it that a Filipino fast food chain that serves American fare is so popular amongst Filipinos? Despite this paradox, Jollibee is nothing short of a cultural and economic success within the Filipino community; my thesis aims to find out why. I address this question through academic research on Filipino food studies, Filipino cultural and historical works, and utilize anthropology projects on space and ethnic identity as a lens for my own ethnography. By way of academic research and ethnography, my thesis will prove that the phenomenon of Jollibee in Woodside, Queens is attributed to Filipino notions of nation and nostalgia.