Filipino cuisine has slowly seeped into the consciousness of the food-loving Doha community, with offers of breakfast, brunch and dinner buffet almost everywhere.
Marhaba foodies recently tried the Filipino Night at the East & West Restaurant of Saraya Corniche Hotel. We enjoyed the dishes as much as the entertainment, and matched with the hospitality of our hosts, we felt how its like to dine in Manila, with the friendly mix of sound and smell and family creating a backdrop for a lively evening of good food and fun.
The buffet offers popular Filipino dishes like Kare Kare, Pancit, Sisig and Bulalo. They also have Macaroni Salad and Ensaladang Talong for starters, and various desserts to finish it off. Someone unfamiliar with these dishes will find the buffet not very different from the staples of regular Asian restaurants. But that is where the similarity ends.
Filipino food, unlike other more popular Asian cuisines like Thai or Japanese, can hardly be described as having a particular character. It uses all sorts of ingredients and cooking styles learned and copied and mixed because of influences from the Chinese, Spaniards and Americans.
The food is not lavish and it doesn’t seem to pretend to be so, but it does provide enough nourishment for a weekend family gathering. The videoke on the background is also a good alternative to blow off some steam – the chance to sing comes with the QAR49 dinner!
If you plan to go this weekend, we recommend preparing a song list, to save time browsing the songbook. Savour the salads while contemplating on your opening song. Start with something a bit low key. When you’re ready for the main dish, belting out is not at all inappropriate. Chicken and beef, the main stars of the buffet, could get a bit heavy with rice, and standing up while singing should work up your appetite. Make sure to drink enough water.
If you’re not much of a singer, you can join the audience encourage other diners to sing more. This will slow down the buffet traffic and you get to try everything!
We found ourselves listening to videoke singers while enjoying sweet desserts, joining claps of approval after each song. We stopped when someone belted out Adele’s Chasing Pavements. Based on experience, it’s always better to ‘give up’ in time to leave room for a cup of warm tea just to make sure you’re settled and ready for the weekend.
Author: Lalaine Turqueza
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