Sunday, March 26, 2017

Cebu, Philippines: Death by Buffet ‘Eat-All-You-Can’ at Vikings

OK, nobody died but if you eat here every day you might, haha! It is an exaggeration to prove a point which is similar to the Death by Powerpoint analogy in the corporate world. The buffet industry in the Philippines is big. This kind of eating arrangement has become popular back in the 90’s when restaurants introduced a new concept of eating out – Fulfilling all your cravings for different cuisines in one meal: ‘Eat All You Can!’ (or ‘All You Can Eat’).

I grew up with the ‘Smorgasbord’ concept, similar to ‘Buffet’ which my family does during special occasions such as birthdays and festivals. I really have no idea how a Swedish concept became a vernacular term and local practice? Although the ‘Eat-All-You-Can’ I am sure is borrowed from the American ‘All-You-Can-Eat’.

Vikings Cebu

The family’s business in Cebu is throwing away their Christmas party at Vikings, one of the newest and largest buffet restaurants in the city. My mum just wanted to make things easier this time around. Last year they did a huge Christmas party, with food catering galore, a full-packed entertainment agenda and games et al. Too much work. Stress. So they want to simplify things by treating all the employees to an ‘Eat-All-You-Can’ Christmas lunch. Aside from the 13th-month pay given that is standard in the Philippines, each employee received a personal gift, a shopping gift certificate and they have the rest of the day free. Not bad at all =)

And so this is how I got invited for a free Christmas lunch at Vikings in SM City Cebu by the family. Of course, I won’t say no but if this was left to my decision, I do not think I would quickly go to a buffet restaurant.

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I have never been a big fan of this buffet eat-as-much-as-you-can concept because how much can you eat really? I personally think it is downright expensive and ridiculously unhealthy. But I would definitely eat at these kinds of restaurants if they have an ala carte service, just like what Dutchman and I did last year at the Japanese restaurant in Transwijk Park in Utrecht called Zinnia. We were perhaps the only guests who ate from their ala carte menu that day, haha.

Vikings Cebu
Bread Cheese Salad Stations Vikings Cebu

The Bread and Pizza Stations, as well as the Cheese and Salad Stations. Their cheese selection was a disappointment but it was something I have expected.

NO BINGE EATING PLEASE

But nevertheless, I am treating this buffet invitation to Vikings as an experience.

My big challenge would be what to eat. Exercising control is another thing. The temptation is strong, although I have a small stomach and at some point, I am sure it will tell me to stop eating. But it’s really more of the aftermath that is the issue. That ugly, sick and wasted feeling when your body has reached its food intake limit. Can you relate? It is suffering after the pleasure. But why in the first place would we want to reach that limit and suffer as a consequence? Perhaps this is part of marketing and food psychology. The idea that we are free to eat anything is everything. We are somewhat brainwashed because humans by nature are self-serving, ‘It’s a one-time eat-all-you-can thing for a fixed price.’ and so ‘Take advantage and get the most of what you have paid for.’ I find this really sick.

So my goal for this ‘All-You-Can-Eat’ Christmas lunch is not to feel sick and suffer. Forget about the everything goes concept. Don’t think about the value for my money, er well, I am not paying anyway as I am invited. Just eat normal thus NO binge eating!

First things first, we were given a small section of the restaurant so that we will have our own not-so-private area. The restaurant is open all throughout so you get people passing by all the time anyway. The food and drink stations were strategically located in the middle section and from end to end of the restaurant, giving good access and an efficient flow of traffic to all diners.

This is Viking's slogan by the way – ‘Be merry, eat hearty, and eat like a Viking today.’

Nicely worded but Vikings tend to eat in barbaric ways =)

Vikings Cebu Dutched Pinay

My nephew and I with our Viking hats.

I cannot really recall how many food stations they have because, in my opinion, it was just too much. In fact, I have lost count and after some time I stopped taking pictures of the food. This is the first time I have seen such a huge buffet restaurant. But I was told that there is another one in the city that is much bigger. Oh, what the heck? I am left with no words, haha!

I guess for foodies or let me rephrase that because most foodies I know are selective gourmand types, for those who love to eat, a buffet restaurant is akin to a child entering a lavish and grand candy shop. You don’t know where to begin with! Because you want to taste a bit of everything, which you impossibly can’t. A person can only eat that much unless you are training to become a buffet master eater. Now, you definitely need a life or a health coach if that is the case.

So I settled for my usual favourites at the Japanese, Chinese and Filipino food stations. Sashimis, tempuras, a variety of seafood, chicharron (yes!) and lots of vegetables. I also took a portion of nachos but didn’t like their chilli con carne. I don’t like to leave food on my plate but this one I just have to. Not being a sweet-toothed person, I skipped dessert and went for coffee instead.

Towards the end of the lunch, I went to the toilet and bumped into an old high school classmate. She recognised me first and we got talking.

A few years ago, she messaged me on Facebook as she and her husband, both doctors, were going to attend a profession-related conference in Europe. They will be extending their stay in the continent visiting some capitals and Amsterdam was on their agenda. I was supposed to meet them but the week they were visiting the Netherlands I was travelling as well, so I just gave them tips on where to go, which they were very thankful for.

Ah, the world is smaller than we think. And it’s nice to see old familiar faces. It brings me back in time and always puts a smile on my face.

Anyway, I managed to tame down my eating and did not binge! Hallelujah, haha.

VIKINGS PICTURE GALLERY

Judge for yourself if you want to eat here through the pictures below.

Vikings Cebu
Vikings Mascot Cebu

This 'Viking guy' goes around with a 'Happy Birthday' placard to sing and greet birthday celebrants. He has a team with him but in this photo, it is just him. Nobody is celebrating his or her birthday from our group but my nephew wants to have a picture with him, haha. 

Drinks station Vikings Cebu

The Drinks Station. My favourite was the rose-pink coloured drink but I have forgotten its name, sorry.

Dessert station Vikings Cebu

The Dessert Station is HUGE and actually has many sub-dessert stations. I wanted to try the frozen yoghurt and the halo-halo but never had the chance because my stomach said no already. Helaas...

Gingerbread House Vikings Cebu
Vikings Cebu

My mum and my nephew. Behind them is this big Gingerbread house which I think was only placed there for display purposes, although technically, it edible and can be eaten. The Gingerbread house was made by a local bakery called Julie's Bakeshop.

Grill Station Vikings Cebu

The meat and fish Grill Station with a variety of local sauces available. Barbequing is typically Cebuano so this food station is popular. 

Chinese Shabu-Shabu Vikings Cebu

This is the Chinese and Shabu-Shabu Station. There are lots of vegetables in this area.

Vikings Cebu

This is my first plate =)

Japanese Vikings Cebu

The shrimp (and vegetable) tempuras and sashimis are always my favourites. Not much of a sushi fan, though, because they are heavy, but I will eat it anyway.

Vikings Cebu

My high school classmate that I bumped into at Vikings. That's like 30+ years ago =)

Roast Vikings Cebu

This is the Roast and Western Station. They have roasted turkeys, ducks and red meats, as well as some popular western European dishes which failed to impress me. I'd say, stick to the roasted meats here.

Dughnut Wall Vikings Cebu

Well, they have a doughnut wall! Great for the kids, I guess.

Dessert Vikings Cebu

There are more sweets at the Dessert Station! Cakes, tarts, pastries, sweet spoonfuls and they even have a flowing chocolate fondue fountain where you can dip fruits and marshmallows into it.

Vikings Cebu

We got into the Viking fever as well, as you can see.

Kakanin Vikings Cebu

The Kakanin Station which is typically Filipino rice-based desserts. Sorry, not a fan of these.

Asian Curry Nacho Vikings Cebu

The Taste of Asia and Curry Stations. I would not recommend the Chilli con Carne at the Nacho Bar which tasted very strange. The Fresh Fish Catch of the Day was really delicious and crunchy but they go very quickly!

Vikings Buffet Cebu

We were the last to leave and the Vikings crew have quickly cleaned the place. They will reopen for dinner in 2 hours. Nice view of the parking lot =)

Travel Period: December 2016
Destination: Cebu City (Cebu - Visayas Region), the Netherlands

Keep in touch and follow me on Facebook: Travel & Lifestyle Diaries by Dutched Pinay Travels
Happy Travels! Enjoy Life =)

All pictures were taken by a point and shoot pocket camera or a smartphone.

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