One of the things I miss most when I’m travelling the world looking for the best countries to retire cheap in, is the food from Canada. Don’t get me wrong I love noodles and dumplings but after a while, I really miss a good old Alberta steak, or even some pizza. Cheap greasy pizza from Pizza Hut is my perfect hangover food. You can get these items in Asia, but most of the time they are super expensive and don’t usually come close to the real thing. For example my beloved Pizza Hut isn’t the greasy savoury goodness you can get back home. They change the sauce for the taste of the Asian audience. This means adding more sugar to everything in the Philippines. The spaghetti sauce here is sweet not spicy, and the ketchup is made from bananas not tomatoes. That’s why I was super glad to find a luxury internationally buffet here in Cebu. It’s called Vikings and it is $25 (780 php )for a beautiful buffet.
I wasn’t sure if it would be any good, and was humming and hawing about going in. As you know my food budget is usually $5 a day, so a $25 meal is really really out of my ballpark. To eat here I would have to use up my entertainment and food budget for 2 days. While I was standing there at the entrance I thought I would check out the wait. I went to the front and they politely informed me that if I didn’t have a reservation I’d have to wait. And that the reservations for the whole day was already full at 11am. I asked roughly how long my wait would be, and again politely they told me it was based on if somebody no showed their reservations. I was a little agog at this. Then I looked behind me and asked, “Are all those people waiting?”
I was told that they were, and that clinched it for me. A busy buffet is a good buffet. (Travel tip if you find an all you can eat buffet with no line, you are guaranteed overdone prime rib boast, stale cakes and general apathy.)After a 2 hour wait I eventually made it in. The wait wasn’t too bad because I could wander around the SM mall until my number was called. I did have to go back frequently to check because they would call your number and wait 10 seconds. If you missed it too bad, so sad.
Was the wait worth it? As you know I love great buffets and I’ve been to the best buffets in Las Vegas, so my standards for buffets are high. The wait and the $25 price tag also had to be put into consideration. Considering you can get a huge amount of delicious BBQ here in the Philippines for $2(60 php) it’s hard to think of spending $25 for one meal.
I can say that after a 2 hour eating session including all the beer I could drink it was definitely worth it. Here are some pictures I took for your food porn addictions.
That right you can just eat candy. Also there’s a sundae area.
Made from fresh fruit, the banana shake and a freshly made crepe were my dessert. Delicious!
So many tables of just desserts, this buffet caters to the Philippino sweet tooth with more desserts in than Willy Wonka’s factory!
Fresh but limited selection in the sushi,sashimi ,maki section. Still all you can eat sashimi is great. Just be careful some Asian tourists think it’s alright just to take all of the salmon sashimi in one go. You’ll be standing there behind them and they’ll just scoop the whole boat thing onto their own plate.
They do beef roasts right here. Instead of fully cooking it, like you get at most buffets they only sear the outside of the roast. Then when you get it they cook it to your exact liking. (I don’t know why North American buffets don’t do this). Most of the time buffet roasts are overdone and dry by the time you get some, especially at cheaper buffets. Not here, it was delicious!
One thing that I’ve never seen is Philippino food at buffets in other parts of the world. Vikings definitely does it right.
One last thing about Vikings that was kind of cool was that halfway through lunch they perform a birthday song for everybody. This is a choreographed waiter thing with singing and dancing. There’s also a birthday king which comes out and gives little chocolate birthday cakes out. It’s kitschy and fun like the restaurant!
So is this the best buffet in the world I’ve ever gone to? No, it’s good, but the best still goes to the Bally’s Sterlings Sunday brunch in Las Vegas . Is it the best in the Philippines ? Sure seemed like it!
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