Buffets – you either love them or hate them.
One of the best I’ve had recently was during Philippine Food Week, where the Shangri-La Sydney worked with the Philippine Department of Tourism to create something special.
Ice sculptures loaded with fresh seafood, a carving station, and a halo-halo dessert cart (where you decorate your shaved ice with evaporated milk, sweet beans, fruits and jellies) were just the beginning.
Not being well versed in Filipino cooking, I was keen to try as many new dishes as possible. Meaning I passed over plentiful Balmain bugs, crab and oysters for cold dishes like a bright oyster ceviche (kilawing talaba) and green mango with shrimp paste (manggang hilaw at bagoong).
Filipino cuisine employs nose-to-tail eating, so expect to see everything from pork innards in vinegar (bopis) to oxtail in peanut sauce (kare-kare). Both are delicious.
For the less adventurous, there are many grilled and roasted meats, especially pig (crispy pata).
Lucky dessert goes to a separate stomach, because the coconut pudding with sweet corn (maja blanca) is delightful.
While you’ll have to wait until next year to attend this festival, you can try Filipino food including crispy pata at La Mesa in Haymarket.
For buffet, the Shangri-La Hotel is running a festive buffet ($75/head) each Thursday to Saturday throughout December.
176 Cumberland Street, The Rocks
Ph: (02) 9250 6206