I was invited to the Vietnamese Food Festival at Spiral, Sofitel Philippine Plaza Hotel’s famous buffet. A whole section would be devoted to authentic Vietnamese dishes from August 25 to September 5, 2010 in celebration of Vietnam’s National Day on September 2. Master chefs Somnuck Attawon (Executive Chef of Cham Cham Restaurant in Vietnam) and Le Quang Danh (Executive Chef of Nam Phan Restaurant in Vietnam) take the helm for this special spread. This would be an addition to Spiral’s usual 350-dish smorgasbord.
I tried the Cuon Nhiep (Sweet Mustard Leave Wrap). It tasted like a leafy salad without the dressing, so you can pretty much imagine what it was like. I suggest getting lots of sauces for dipping.
This is Banh Beo (Steam Rice Cake). It tastes just like the name implies, like steamed white rice without anything on it. It’s glutinous though so there’s a chewy sticky kakanin-like quality about it. I kind of liked its clean and pure taste. Can’t say the same for my tablemates though. :p
Of course, what’s a Vietnamese feast without their trademark Spring Rolls? Crunchy and fried just right, they go very well with a combination of peanut sauce and fish sauce found beside them.
Next dish I tried was the Banh Xeo (Fried Pancake with Pork and Shrimp). I’d describe it as a crepe-like creation with lots of beansprouts inside. Again, don’t forget to get dipping sauce.
By this time I was already hankering for something more savory and flavorful. I ventured out of our corner near the Vietnamese section and proceeded straight to the foie gras station. Yes folks, Spiral is the ONLY buffet which offers ALL the foie gras you can eat. You tell the chef how many pieces you want and he’ll pan fry them in front of you. Then you choose from a selection of garnishings. I think this makes the buffet fee worth every cent since foie gras usually costs a fortune when ordered ala carte. 😀
I opted to top my foie gras with balsamic syrup and caramelized onions. The foie gras is sooo rich, buttery, creamy, and sinful. I really wanted to have more but I was too scared of the cholesterol content, hehe.
For dessert, I went back to the Vietnamese section and tried the Che Khoai Mon (Taro Sweet Soup). You’re supposed to get a scoop or two of this and then top it with crushed ice and creamy coconut milk. It’s kind of like cold ginataan except that this one contains rice grains and taro cubes only. It wasn’t sweet. In fact, like the rest of the Vietnamese dishes there, it was on the bland side. It’s nothing like what Pho Hoa Vietnamese Noodle House serves, since their dishes are all very tasty. But this is the real deal as prepared by Vietnamese chefs so I guess it’s the way it really is in Vietnam. 🙂
Monday to Saturday Lunch – P2,073.29