A Chinese New Year Feast

The year of the Horse is the Chinese New Year’s theme for this holiday. We spent the middle of this day at our personal luxury hotel of choice, Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila. We had always made it a point to stay at this hotel every time we visited the Philippines before we ended up living here. It had been a while since we had visited the place. It was, in fact, nearly two years ago, just after Typhoon Pedring had flooded much of Roxas Blvd and destroyed the restaurant. So we were seeing the (not so new) renovations and joining the hotel guests in the celebration of the Chinese New Year.

Greeted by two of the restaurant management staff: Kyungku Caleb Han (Restaurant Manager) and Tanguy Gras (Outlet Manager for Spiral)
Greeted by two of the restaurant management staff: Kyungku Caleb Han (Restaurant Manager) and Tanguy Gras (Outlet Manager for Spiral)

No surprise, the food was magnificent, as always. We saw they had kept the assorted food stations that served the themed variety of food associated with a particular region of the world.

Servers at one of the varied food stations; each station had its own specialty cuisine.
Servers at one of the varied food stations; each station had its own specialty cuisine.

Trio

An area inside the restaurant specializing in serving a variety of cheese and cold cuts with meats ready to be sliced hanging in the window.
An area inside the restaurant specializing in serving a variety of cheese and cold cuts; meat ready to be sliced are hanging in the window.

They had added an enclosure that reduced the size of the original outside patio, but it didn’t look as if it mattered much as most people sat inside. It put us a little farther away from the food but closer to the bar…

The fully stocked bar inside La Veranda, an addition to the restaurant.
The fully stocked bar inside La Veranda, an addition to the restaurant.

We wound up spending a few hours here instead of just making a quick stop for coffee and the restroom (it’s better than using an outside public toilet). With the abundance of choices, we did our best not to let our eyes get bigger than our stomachs. We ate all we put on our plates and did not let anything go to waste.  The tossed salad, called Yisang, even came with a story. Also known as Lucky Tossed Salad, you are supposed to toss it in the air and catch it on your plate….the higher you toss the salad (and catch it), the more luck you will have for the year. It had 22 ingredients, so rather than trying our hand at throwing this in the air, we just ate it. This dish is only available during the celebration of Chinese New Year.

Starting off with an assortment of seafood: lobster tails, shrimps and baked mussels topped with cheese and a side plate of fresh fruits
Starting off with an assortment of seafood: lobster tails, shrimps and baked mussels topped with cheese and a side plate of fresh fruits
Twenty two ingredients make up this holiday tossed salad served during Chinese New Year.
Twenty two ingredients make up this holiday tossed salad called Yisang served during Chinese New Year.
A dessert plate with white and dark chocolate treats.
A dessert plate with white and dark chocolate treats.

We were treated very well by the restaurant staff. Everyone we came in contact with was friendly and helpful, and we were re-introduced to the executive chef whom we had met the last time we were here. He told us he thought I looked familiar, but couldn’t remember from where. So we reminded him: Where Else Philippines!

With some of the people behind the fabulous food at Sofitel: Eric Costille (Regional Executive Chef - Asia) on the right and Mok Chee Wah (Executive Sous Chef) on the left.
With some of the people behind the fabulous food at Sofitel Spiral Restaurant: Eric Costille (Regional Executive Chef – Asia) on the right and Mok Chee Wah (Executive Sous Chef) on the left.

Kung Hei Fat Choi!

Until next time!

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