If you really think about it, the buffet is the worst way to eat. You’re stuffing yourself with more food than you really need because it’s, well, there. All those flavors are so mixed up on your palate that you can’t really make sense of them all afterwards. Each dish becomes a fleeting memory overwhelmed by the next plateful of the next dish and in the end you end up regretful you ate too much of one thing or another leaving you with no room for that pasta that your dinner companion says was just amazing.
Or maybe that’s just how I eat. I love buffets. I love trying new food, mixing them up and seeing how much cake I can swallow before I get a sugar headache. I love not having to take my usual ten minutes to decide what to order when I eat out, because I just walk around and pick up whatever catches my eye, or nose.
Which brings us to our buffet restaurant du jour: Vikings. We’ve been to the branch behind Mall of Asia, and the place is packed to the rafters. And the restaurant itself is huge — a necessity because the spread is the biggest I’ve seen so far (anyone know any bigger spreads, please let me know). We’ve been there a couple of times and I estimate I need to go back there a couple more times to be able to try everything. It has the standards: Japanese sushi, Chinese dimsum, roast, ham, cheese, a salad bar, Filipino cuisine (including lechon), desserts.
Plus pasta, pizza, grilled seafood (remember your table number, because it takes a while to grill the raw fish and squid so the servers need to know where to bring the grilled food when they’re cooked) and an entire table devoted to appetizers.
Sadly, no Korean food, so if you guys know of a buffet that serves that (and I mean a decent number of dishes, including kimbap, chapjae, barbecue, ramyun, and at least three kinds of kimchi), please let me know. However, the clincher is that unlike most buffets, the drinks here are as bottomless as the miso soup (which, however, was not very good, according to M.) — all kinds of soda, juice (mostly made from powdered drinks, though, so I’d skip it if I were you), draft beer (yeah, you read that right), coffee. And if ice-cream is not your thing, they also have frozen yogurt. Not a lot of good toppings, but it comes in two flavors and you can always use toppings from the halo-halo table and dip into the hot fudge fountain.
Now, Vikings isn’t exactly Sofitel’s Spirals or Circles at the Shang, but it’s pretty good for its PhP 900 ($20) per head price. One thing I’d recommend is to stay far away from the dimsum. The only thing worth eating is the siomai (although who the hell goes to a buffet for siomai?) — the sharksfin and hakao were disappointing. The sushi was ok, and the second time I was there, there was a whole 4-foot-long tuna on the sushi table alongside all the prepared maki and sashimi, so you were literally picking slices of your tuna sashimi off the dead carcass of the fish. Mmmm. I would’ve taken a photo of that with my camera, but it felt weird because the fish wasn’t cooked, so it felt a bit like taking photos at a funeral. (Which I’ve done, actually, because my Dad wanted proof I was there. Long story. Love you, Daddy!)
In addition, if you plan to try a lot of dishes, maybe you could hold off on the beer, as it’s a bit too filling and will take up tummy space you could be filling with lechon. And most important of all, call ahead and make a reservation. The queue for a table on any night, even if it’s not a weekend, gets pretty long.
Bldg. B, San Miguel by the Bay, Seaside Blvd.
Pasay City, Metro Manila