Being at the M Café of Marriott Manila was like traveling through Asia, most notably through Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Thailand. It was because we were invited to try out The Flavors of Asia, a gastronomic offering that runs this entire July 2012. Read more…
The Flavors of Asia is a month-long celebration of Asian flavors, but it was more authentic because Marriott Manila invited a chef each from the countries they are featuring. They flew in Chef Phan Tien Hoa of Renaissance Riverside Saigon for Vietnam, Chef Thanatorn Krobsuay of JW Marriott Bangkok for Thailand, Chef Dadang Wayhudi of JW Marriott Jakarta for Indonesia, and Chef Ruhizad Muri of Renaissance Kuala Lumpur for Malaysia.
This food festival was very opportune, as we have just arrived from a trip to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with Airphil Express and Tourism Malaysia. It was also only last May did we unexpectedly go to Bali, Indonesia with Philippine Airlines. I tried to remember everything we had in those trips, so I would know what to expect.
There was a short launch where we were oriented on what the chefs will be serving and what their signature dishes are. Presented were a selection of satay from Indonesia, rendang daging or beef rendang from Malaysia, cha gio or fried spring rolls from Vietnam, and som tam or green papaya salad from Thailand.
After the presentation and a game we won with the fashion bloggers, we were ushered to Marriott Café where we were having dinner. We found out that the Asian selections were not limited to what was presented, for each chef gets his station to showcase his cuisine.
Chef Phan Tien Hoa, a native of Ho Chi Minh, showcased Vietnamese cuisine, which is popular for its use of fresh herbs and vegetables. I tried his banh xeo, a savory crepe with shrimp and pork, and of course, I did not miss out on a steaming bowl of tasty pho.
I remember when we were in Bali, we had a lot of satay because it was one of their most popular and most affordable food. We thus had a great time sampling Chef Dadang Wayhudi’s satay. The best one was the beef, and the peanut sauce was phenomenal.
Thai restaurants are ubiquitous in Manila, but having Thai food by a Thai chef is a different experience altogether. I loved Chef Thanatorn Krobsuay’s kanom pang na moo or pork canapés. I also liked his kaeng khiao wan or green curry, and his tod mun pla or fish cakes.
Lastly, we sampled the Penang-style cooking of Chef Ruhizad Muri whom I had the chance to chat with about places in Malaysia. He had me try his stir fry consisting of seafood and a blend of herbs, spices, sauces, and vegetables. I loved the execution of his dish.
The Flavors of Asia is backed by Market Café’s impressive buffet stations. It was my first time there, and I actually had a hard time selecting what to eat from a myriad of delicious fare.
By the way, they have an extensive selection of desserts too, and some were actually created for the Flavors of Asia. I must say that my sweet tooth was very satisfied that night.
It was indeed a great dinner. It wasn’t just because the food was outstanding, but it was an experience to have chefs from different countries cook for you. It was like taking a gastronomic tour around Southeast Asia, only that I’m right in Manila.
The Taste of Asia runs until July 31, 2012. Rates are 1,850 PHP net for weekdays and 2,000 PHP net for weekends. They also have cooking classes with lunch for only 1,500 PHP. For inquiries and reservations, call Marriott Café at +63 2 988 9999.