By Sol Vanzi
Images by Noel Pabalate
Fiesta is a word that instantly brings smiles, evoking scenes of shared merriment and bounty. And no one takes fiestas more seriously than Filipinos.
Every Philippine town marks the feast day of the community’s patron saint with a fiesta, a tradition residents observe even after settling down in other places, or in foreign lands.
Inspired by the grandeur of Filipino festivals, and because Sundays are meant for dining out, get-togethers, and cheatto-feast day, Sheraton Manila has expanded its buffet spread at S Kitchen to an extravagant feast called Sunday Fiesta.
“Sunday brunch has become popular here in Manila, so we created a concept that invites people to not just eat but dine like there is a celebration. It’s that overall authentic experience of local culture through food,” says executive chef Kiko Santiago.
S Kitchen features a widespread of international selections, with the Filipino station as it focal point. But for Sunday Fiesta, it is made extra special.
As you enter the restaurant, you will be greeted by a fresh lumpia bar, where spring rolls are wrapped fresh on the spot.
The star of every fiesta, a whole roasted pig, stuffed with paella, is cooked over charcoal in full view of diners, alongside cebuchon, liempo, pork barbecue, isaw, chicken inasal with bacon, and some seafood like tuna panga (jaw) and pinaputok na bangus (stuffed milkfish).
Rice is offered in many guises and options, like binagoongan with mango and fried rice with salted egg and dilis (anchovy).
Popular Filipino fiesta staples like bagnet, chicharon, and crispy tadyang (ribs) are kept warm at the roasting corner. For luck, there’s pancit: crispy canton, bihon longganisa, and miki batchoy.
Young kid (goat) is used in spicy kaldereta. Very much in demand are crispy pork binangoongan and classic kare-kare with homemade bagoongto die for, and many varieties of fish cooked in different ways.
Sheraton’s chefs are adept at making native delicacies like biko sa latik (rice with toasted coconut cream topping), banana-langka turon, ube maja with cheese, and a perfectly soft and chewy palitaw (sweet rice cake).
For dessert lovers, there are decadent cakes, pralines, pastillas, fruit tarts, and macarons with hints and twists of local flavor. Not to be missed is the halo-halo station with over 13 ingredients and several ice cream topping choices.
Much loved Western and Asian dishes are also in full view: sushi, sashimi, cheese variants, cold cuts, steak, dimsum, chicken curry, flavorful soups, gelato and cookedto-order crepe.
Completing the dining experience are the unlimited drinks from fresh juices to sodas, which are all included in the buffet.
Diners have the luxury of time, as the buffet is open from noon to 3 p.m.
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The original article was first published here.