5.015 2-Piece Chickenjoy Meal

 -Cycle 5, Item 15-
20 (Mon) January 2014

2-Piece Chickenjoy Meal


from Jollibee (UN Avenue) [takeout]

in my office (WHO WPRO)

-Ermita, Manila-


Through mid-April, I am an STC in NHP DHP at WHO WPRO, organizing the upcoming OODL consultation, coordinating with MCN's PEARL project, perhaps providing some support to TFI for ENDS research, and continuing my work with the on-going RADAR project under HSD DHS (Short-Term Consultant / Noncommunicable Disease and Health Promotion Unit / Division of Building Healthy Communities and Populations / World Health Organization / Western Pacific Regional Office / Overweight Obesity Diabetes Law / Maternal and Child Health and Nutrition Unit / Pathway for Effective Action through Regulation and Legislation / Tobacco Free Initiative Unit / Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems / Review Assess Draft Amend Reevaluate / Health Services Development Unit / Division of Health Sector Development)--if only because I speak the language so fluently, I feel right at home.  In short, I'm here to work on public health law.  

The Regional Office for the Western Pacific; my office window is to the immediate left of the air-conditioner generators on the roof of the main conference hall (the building with the black roof and the flags in front); my apartment building can also be seen in the distance, directly above the H in WHO.

Jollibee, across the street, visible through the trees, and KFC, next door, to the left, hidden by the trees at this angle--enemy forces laying siege to the castle.

This kind of point-of-sale marketing is the first thing that has to go, if only for my sake.

Specifically, I'm most excited about developing a framework that will help countries implement various legal interventions concerning poor nutrition to combat overweight/obesity, one of the four key risk factors for noncommunicable diseases, such as diabetes, cancer.  The work represents the perfect confluence of the three subjects that I love/know/do best/most: food, writing, and law.  I'm the guy to lead the charge against Big Fast Food, because I understand through personal experience the powerful industrial/fiscal/cultural/scientific/gastronomic forces at play.  As Ronald McDonald's lifelong bitch, for example, I understand how compelling point-of-sale marketing can be (see most recently 4.361 Prosperity Burger with Curly Fries).  Come to think of it, I'd also be a good champion against tobacco.  And alcohol.  And physical inactivity.  This really is the ideal job for me.

The smallest office in the joint but with the biggest white board, acquisitioned/installed at my request.

The Apple Thunderbolt Display, purchased during the lunch break and brought back to the office on my very first day, makes work more fun/efficient, being able to review/manipulate so many windows/applications/documents, at once, in crisp clarity; I may get another one and install it to the left, if that's possible--seriously.

Better than air-conditioning.

Because drinking the stuff just ain't enough.

This should be a great hit at our department potluck dinner.


 For a so-called guide on writing style, the title of the book is ironically quite ambiguous.

In a prior post on this same item from this same fastfood chain (see generally 4.262 2-Piece Chickenjoy Meal...), I recognized the ubiquity of fried chicken in the Philippines, especially urban areas like Manila, but mischaracterized it as a side dish.  In fact, fried chicken typically and frequently constitutes the meal per se.  Deep-fried items--they even deep-fry pork belly (see for example 4.285 Lechon Kawali)--are very popular here in general.  Despite such a proclivity for fat/oil-heavy food, most Filipinos remain relatively thin because they don't eat very much of it at a time.   Same with how the French stay slim on a steady diet of cheese/butter/pastry.  The notion that Americans are fat because they eat too much sounds obvious to the point of absurdity, but that's how simple the reality is.  Anyway, back to Manila, a very common quick meal is a piece of fried chicken, a ball of steamed rice, and a small tub of gravy.  

With the 2-piece meal, I'm eating double the normal portion.  That's why I'm twice as heavy as everyone on the street.

Incidentally, the chicken really sucked.  Strange fake butter aftertaste in the skin.  Meat's too salty, overbrined.  Ugh.  Never again.  (I went there this time, for a quick snack to hold me over until dinner--I hadn't eaten lunch, and I was anticipating staying late at work--only because the lines at KFC next door were too long.)

 What I actually ate for dinner back at the apartment, much more healthful; but then there's that tall glass of Scotch.


  1. Where did you get the kimchi?

  2. after all the effort I put into writing this post, the only thing that you ask about is the kimchi??? i guess this remains a korean blog at heart.

    i was going to discuss the kimchi in a future post. i bought it at a korean market across the street. they have imported kimchi and locally made. this one's locally made. it's ok. more details later...

    1. I am always curious about kimchi. Going from my parents house with 2 kimchi refrigerators to resorting to kimchi from Costco and Trader Joe's, I am always intrigued about how folks manage to find kimchi in foreign countries and non-coastal US states.

    2. where do they have kimchi at costco?????? (trader joe's, i can see.)

      funny, my cousin was visiting from NY recently, and he came grocery shopping with me at E-Mart, and he was SHOCKED that kimchi isn't sold in Korea in jars, the ones with white lids, like they do in the states--i'd never even thought about that.

      so, yes, you do raise an interesting point about the differences in kimchi worldwide.

      someday soon, i'll do a post on the korean grocery store situation here in manila, including the kimchi. they also sell kimchi in local markets here.

    3. Does Costco in Korea carry kimchi?

  3. In CA and NY, they sell the cabbage and radish version in ~4lb plastic jars with white lids. Not the most tasty kimchi but it will do when you are in a bind.

  4. as far as i can recall, costco korea doesn't have kimchi, but maybe i've just never seen it.

    yesterday, while grocery shopping, reminded of this comment thread, i bought 3 different jars of "local" kimchi to do a taste test. it's not the kimchi from the korean market, which i'll have to discuss separately later on. i'll probably do it this thursday, but the post won't be up for awhile (since i'm already like 2 weeks behind). i'm wondering what i should pair it with, either samgyeopsal, or spam and eggs, or ramyeon.

  5. Plain, just cooked white rice

  6. 1. Please explain the background to that Coca-Cola-themed cookbook!

    2. Of course you should combine the kimchi with spam and eggs :)

  7. And yeah, don't you think a big explanation to why Americans often are so fat is because they often barely move their asses anywhere without the help of petroleum-fueled vehicles?

  8. @skim: even though the kimchi taste test is largely inspired by you, I can't take your suggestion for plain white rice. sorry. i just don't like kimchi that much without something more.

    @gustaf: i was browsing the cookbook section of a bookstore here, and there it was. i'll provide more details in a future post, when i actually try to make one of the recipes.

    SPAM and eggs is really what i want to do--how well u know me--but i think i might have to do a separate taste test of SPAM or SPAM-like products here.

    i don't think that lack of physical activity is exclusively an american problem, though yes that does contribute. i mean, how do you get to work? these days, i've been losing some weight, even with all the fried chicken here, because i walk 30 minutes each day, to and from work.

  9. 1. Cool, looking forward to a post concerning that cookbook!

    2. Plus, it's what got us started on our Swedish-Korean cooking exchange! :)

    3. Actually, I get to and back from work by bus. And the bus stop is just a couple of minutes away from my home. So if I only would move to get to and from work, I would move that much every day. But I also try to go to the gym and go running several times a week... Ideally 3 times for each activity, but in reality it often ends up being only 2 times for each... So maybe you are right in that a big part of the explanation behind American obesity is the portions... But that brings us to the question: WHY to Americans eat so damn much? Because food is cheaper in the US than in many other parts of the world (in realtion to average income, that is)

  10. 2. okay, then, maybe i'll do spam & eggs....

    3. i'm sure there's a book out there that explains how american food culture came to be all about size. super size, all-u-can-eat, etc. in fact, just last nite, i was watching this show on History Channel called All You Can Eat (which features some kind of theme, like "Street Food," and goes around the country to showcase the places places), episode about "Extreme Eating," and a lot of the dishes were things like "Quadruple Bypass Surgery Burger," featuring 4 patties, 4 pieces of cheese, and bacon between each layer, or the "Redonkadonk Burger," featuring 2 grilled cheese sandwiches for the bun (i.e., 4 pieces of bread, 2 slices of cheese), plus a beef patty, spam, ham, fried egg, and another cheese slice. what's really kinda gross is how proud the show seemed to be about it. ugh. of course, i'd still try them, but in the same way as trying ants or frogs.

  11. 2. Good :)

    3. There's probably many books, academic report, conferences etc on the subject... It's possible to "nerd down" into almost any subject there is...Speaking of programs like the one you mentioned, have you heard about "United States of Bacon"? It's a food show where the (really fat) host travels around the US to try out different bacon-themed dishes that are somehow famous.... I've just seen snippets of it and it seems just as gross as the dishes you mentioned.....

  12. US of Bacon? You mean, it's an entire series? every episode on bacon? sounds lame.

    i'm coming up on a post concerning the aforementioned All You Can Eat. Totally disgusting.