The Grace Hotel is currently hosting a food festival showcasing the flavours of the Philippines. They flew down three chefs from the Philippines to cater for the buffet which will run lunch and dinner every day until this Sunday. It costed us $38 for the lunch time buffet, which makes it an expensive work lunch, but that is the price one pays for curiosity of foreign cuisine without flying to that foreign land.
Being a Filo food virgin, I literally had a bit of everything (except the shaved ice, discussed below). And let me disclaim now that I wasted approximately one heaping plate of food, plus a coffee. And yes, I agree such flippant regard to food where millions of people around the world are dying of starvation is atrocious behaviour. But hey, I pay penance for my sins the rest of my life where I am not buffeting (which is a rare event in itself), and I was at a buffet of a cuisine I have never tasted, I’m allowed some leeway.
I had another small plate of seconds, and all that left me quite full, not uncomfortable but overeaten and comfortable 🙂
The appetiser salads selection:
The hot mains selection
Since last Saturday, I’ve been on a sugar-free diet/detox, where I don’t eat (or try very hard to avoid) anything that contains sugar. Only because last few weeks I embarked on a baking frenzy (cleaning out pantry at full turbo), and binge eating my creations, which in turn made me feel quite unwell. I’ve been doing so well this week, I never said to some really tempting carrot cake during a morning tea at work. But I was unable to say no today (there are no cheat days in the sugar-free diet diet/detox). I steered clear of the shaved ice desserts (the toppings included jelly, adzuki beans, honey beans), but only because I don’t appreciate shaved iced desserts nor do I get hankerings for jelly or canned beans. I am told by a Filippino man at the dessert bar with me that shaved ice is a summer favourite. But THESE (below) were Asian dessert heaven! And I’m so glad I didn’t say no, because aside from the egg custard and the banana spring roll, everything else was only mildly sweet so I don’t feel so guilty (yay for Asian desserts!).
After lunch, we helped ourselves to coffee and tea. I tried the cappucino from their coffee machine just to compare to the nuclear-weapon-of-mass-destruction-in-disguise we have at work.
And what does Filippino taste like? It likens to any other South East Asian cuisine, to me anyway. When I told a manager, who is Malaysian, about my lunch time food adventure, he said, “Filo food? They’re very bland aren’t they? They don’t use a lot of spices” And I guess that is true, none of the dishes were in your face with spice & flavour, it was ladida, very neutral, and homely, my style.
When I asked for that Filippino man from the dessert bar’s opinion of the meal, he said, “It’s quite good, for us.” Friend 1, who is Cambodian and perhaps in a better position to critique this buffet than me, felt it wasn’t authentic Filo food, but rather tailored to suit the Western palate. Perhaps that is true. But overall I enjoyed my lunch, and at the end of the day, I guess that’s all that counts.