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Have your fill of crayfish, cheese, and tea this month


By CJ Juntereal

There’s a lot going on this August in terms of food. The biggest WOFEX (World Food Expo Philippines) I have ever seen ended just last Saturday, but that’s a story for another column. And there are some pretty nice hotel food promotions going on in the next few weeks. These are just a few of the good ones.

Crayfish Party 2018
Crayfish look like tiny lobsters, except that they have small claws and a head that resembles a jumbo shrimp. They taste like a delicious cross between crab and shrimp. I’ve always thought of them as American—because of the crawfish boils that are popular Cajun fare—but I recently found out that they’re a Nordic treat as well.

Have your fill of crayfish at NordCham Philippines' Crayfish Party

Have your fill of crayfish at NordCham Philippines’ Crayfish Party

Crayfish parties are a traditional summertime celebration that are said to have originated in Sweden before spreading out to neighboring countries. The parties are held in late summer or August, during the harvest season. Rather like Oktoberfest, there’s a lot of rowdy fun, eating and drinking, drinking songs and games, and dancing. The crayfish are the star of course, boiled in salt water and seasoned with lots of dill. The only way to eat them is with your hands—pull off the head and suck the briny juices out, then work the meat out of tail to gobble down. And repeat until there’s a bright red pile of shells in front of you.


Crayfish parties are a traditional Nordic summertime celebration that are said to have originated in Sweden. The parties are held in August, during the harvest season.


I hadn’t realized that the Nordic Chamber of Commerce (NordCham) Philippines hosts a crayfish party every year. The event features bountiful servings of crayfish that are specially flown in; and San Miguel beer, Engkanto Craft Beer, Martin Miller gin, and Absolut vodka, all of which go so well with the crayfish. The rest of the spread includes Nordic specialties like salmon gravlax, Swedish meatballs, all sorts of pickled herring and smoked fish open-faced sandwiches, roasted pig (lechon to us, but roasted pig sounds so much more Viking-like). All sorts of desserts, salads, charcuterie, and potato dishes round out the menu, including Jansson’s Temptation, which is a creamy potato dish that tastes like macaroni and cheese. Of course, there will be guests in Viking costumes, and lots of fun dancing and singing courtesy of the Bloomfields.

Five kinds of herring on crispbread. Herring is the backbone of Scandinavian fish cookery

Five kinds of herring on crispbread. Herring is the backbone of Scandinavian fish cookery

The Crayfish Party happens on Sept. 8, from 6 p.m. at Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila’s Harbor Garden Tent. Tickets are P3,900 per person.

Cheese and Charcuterie Buffet
Alfred, at the ground floor of the Makati Diamond Residences, is an elegant, sunny looking restaurant. It currently hosts a Cheese and Charcuterie Buffet that is great value for money at P1,800 per person. A whole leg of Jamon Serrano, smoked pork, raclette and caramelized brie, slow-cooked US Beef Belly, Pinakbet Paella with Crispy Bagnet, a chocolate fondue station, and gin and tonic bar, and house-made ice cream, are just the highlights of the buffet. The rest of the items are rounded out by hot and cold appetizers, various charcuterie and breads, sodas, juices, TWG tea, Toby’s Estate coffee, a selection of wines and San Miguel beer. The hotel calls it a “grazing buffet,” but really, there’s enough food to make a full meal of it—from apperitifs to after dinner drinks!

A leg of Jamon Serrano dominates the charcuterie station at Makati Diamond's Alfred restaurant

A leg of Jamon Serrano dominates the charcuterie station at Makati Diamond’s Alfred restaurant

The cheese and charcuterie buffet is available every Friday until Sept. 28 at Alfred at the Makati Diamond Residences from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

MaArTEA Afternoon Tea
at The Lobby of the Peninsula Manila
There’s nothing quite like afternoon tea at the Pen—the hum of conversation, the clink of teaspoon against bone china, the fizz of champagne, the elegant tiered tea tray, and seeing and being seen. August brings a little sympathy with the tea as the MaArTea Afternoon Tea Collection is a supplementary fundraising activity of MaArte at the Pen 2018 (Aug. 10-12)—an ultra-luxe bazaar highlighting the best in Filipino craftsmanship, that is a fundraising event for the National Museum of the Philippines organized by the Museum Foundation of the Philippines, Inc. (MFPI).

Executive chef Xavier Castello and his team have created a selection of East meets West sweets and savories to pair with the Tsaa Alaya line of hot and cold teas that use leaves and herbs picked from various regions of the Philippines. The teas are delicious, with very Filipino flavors like mango and pineapple blended with lemongrass, lemongrass blended with ginger and turmeric, and sweet pandan. They pair well with the tea, which includes the hotel’s famous English raisin scones served with dalandan curd and Baguio strawberry jam, smoked honey ham with kesong puti, and poached prawn salad, among others.

This August, afternoon tea at The Lobby of The Pen will be for the benefit of the National Museum of the Philippines

This August, afternoon tea at The Lobby of The Pen will be for the benefit of the National Museum of the Philippines

MaArTEA Afternoon Tea will be served at The Lobby, priced at P1,250 per guest or P1,850 with a flute of champagne.

Best Buffet Brunch Ever at Hyatt City of Dreams
I’ve always enjoyed Sunday Brunch at The Café, but I think kids will think it’s the best buffet ever because for all Sundays of August, it will include a meet-and-greet with their favorite DreamPlay characters, games, and an all-day pass to DreamPlay.

For August, the food will be both adult and kid friendly, with buffet stations named after favorite characters. The food will include slow roasted US Beef, roast chicken, waffles and pancakes, a nachoand quesadilla station, a pasta and pizza station, grilled items, an Asian Noodle Bar, a feast of comfort fried things like crispy pata, corn dogs, and curly fries, an Asian station with dimsum, a cold seafood smorgasboard, and enough dessert to turn any adult into a kid again.That includes a halo-halo station, soft serve ice cream, cotton candy, and a chocolate fountain.

eat as much as you want with Kungfu Panda's Po at Hyatt Cafe

eat as much as you want with Kungfu Panda’s Po at Hyatt Cafe

Tickets for the Sunday Brunch may be purchased at the Reception Desk of Hyatt City of Dreams The Café or at the DreamPlay ticket booth. Adults (13 and up) pay P1,999, children aged six to 12 pay P1,288, and those age zero to five pay P480.

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