In celebration of Father’s Day this year, we had lunch at Mabuhay Palace and dug into plates after plates of dimsum. Hakaw, siomai, congee, dumplings…you know it. We saw this restaurant the last time we went to The Manila Hotel (read Review of Café Ilang-Ilang). We were all enticed with their dimsum buffet offering (only at Php 888 net per head) and promised to try it in our next visit to experience “the most luxurious Chinese dining in the city.”
We’re happy that this restaurant also offers a la carte dishes including vegetarian (for my dad). Mabuhay Palace’s quality of food is good and its consistency is tough to dispute. With its lavish menu of authentic Cantonese cuisine, there’s 100% your palate will be delighted. It’s one of the best we had so far. Come hungry, and you won’t leave disappointed. 🙂
Review of Mabuhay Palace Dimsum Buffet (The Manila Hotel, Manila)
Mabuhay Palace is decorated with imperial Neo-Classical interiors highlighted by rich hues of bright red, orange, and gold, with chinoiserie carved Chinese dividers. Panels are padded with dragon-pattern fabric and glass that you surely won’t miss right off from the entrance. The walls are adorned with hand-crafted panels made of jade and precious stones, which narrate the tale of the philosopher Confucius, opulent art works that took a family of artisans two decades to complete. The dining room felt cozy and the seats were comfortable. Each table will make you feel like you’re own private space.
The staff were warm and professional. Orders were quickly noted, but it took some time before food arrives on the table since they’re prepared and cooked only upon order. Main courses will only be served after finishing all dimsum entrees. We had to request for them to be presented at the same time alongside other items. Service was not perfect and there were items we ordered but didn’t get. Despite the service hiccup, we had an awesome meal. We received a sincere apology and some free drinks in return.
Unlike regular buffet setup where people queue at the buffet stations and get food from the counters, in Mabuhay Palace, patrons order food from the waiters while seated by ticking items on a checklist. It’s simple: just let the food come to you. There’s no need to wait in line or consider the movement (or appetite) of other people in the restaurant or select dimsum entrees stacked high with bamboo or metal steamer baskets from steam table trolleys as in a typical Chinese restaurant. Rather, it’s more of a formal dining encounter where guests just have to sit, relax, and enjoy food served on the table.
Dimsum is the ancient Chinese art of making a whole lot of damn fine food, served small plate-style. Why settle on one dish when you can sample dozens? To make the most out of our dimsum buffet experience, we tried everything that’s available on the dimsum menu checklist: steamed pork and shrimp siomai, vegetable and chicken spring rolls, steamed seafood spinach dumpling, no mai gai (deep-fried glutinous rice dumplings with black pepper chicken and leeks), ma lai gao (steamed cup buns), seafood taro puff, seafood nori roll, deep-fried wonton, ham sui guk (baked pork barbecued puff), steamed buns chocolate and walnut, steamed crystal skin shrimp dumpling (hakaw), steamed pork and shrimp dumpling with zhen jiang vinegar sauce pan-fried pork and shrimp dumpling, pan-fried me chai and dong po pork buns, volcano buns, and mushroom bun.
Aside from dimsum, cold cuts are also part of the all-you-can-eat menu. We had century egg seaweeds and golden fried crispy smooth tofu. For the main course, each person is allowed to choose one. My mom, sister, and I ended up choosing: crispy-fried shrimp glazed almonds, honey-glazed chicken, crispy ginger, and crispy fried pork spareribs. We could have ordered another main course (for my grandfather) but we were already too full to finish everything! While waiting for the mains, we were served with sweet corn coup with crab meat and Zzechuan hot and sour soup. For desserts, we had deep-fried chocolate buchi, blueberry jelly, and red bean jelly.
Everything was excellent and we were so impressed. This must be the gold standard of dimsum restaurants in Manila. If I were to choose my favorite, it would still be hakaw. It’s the best. Fresh, juicy shrimps encased in a transparent dumpling wrapper looked and tasted amazing! Yum. 🙂
Price for Value:
Mabuhay Palace at The Manila Hotel is an elegant restaurant where nobody’s trying to flip tables or rush you out the door. It’s ideal for big group dinners or luncheons, with easy-to-share dimsum for everyone at a relatively fair price. If you’re into Chinese food, it’s hard to go wrong spending a special occasion here. Look forward to a whole table full of plates crammed with dumplings, steamed buns, and Chinese pastries. Go with people with a large appetite and make a reservation by calling (02) 527 0011. 🙂