Tasty, Myanmar: Getting Acquainted with Burmese Cuisine

When people think of Asian cuisine, Burmese cuisine would rarely be top-of-mind.

Myanmar (formerly Burma) has been closed off from the rest of the world for decades. And while it has opened its doors in recent years, it’s still not getting as much tourists as its neighboring countries. It’s probably one of the reasons why Burmese cuisine is still not that popular.

When you do decide to visit, you’ll be treated to a variety of dishes influenced by Indian, Chinese, Laotian, and Thai cuisines. Myanmar owes this to its geographical location.

Burmese cuisine
My order (expectation)
Burmese cuisine
A Burmese feast! (reality)

In the first few hours of arriving in the country, my friends and I sat down at a restaurant. We thought the menu was pretty straightforward. You just have to choose a curry set (choice of chicken, pork, beef, fish, mutton, or venison meat), and that’s it.

But when our orders arrived, it came with bowls of soup, a plethora of side dishes, and a huge plate of fresh vegetables with dipping sauce. Needless to say, we were overwhelmed.

And did I mention they served unlimited rice and even free dessert? Now, that’s bang for your buck.

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Lamian World Cuisine at The Bellevue Bohol

Lamian, the Bellevue Resort Bohol’s main in-house restaurant, serves traditional Filipino and international fare using the ingredients the region has to offer.
The moment we stepped inside, the first thing that came to mind was fine dining. But with the warm lighting, earth tones, carved wood, and sea shell-adorned partitions, guests will surely enjoy the classy but relaxed atmosphere.
 Lamian has a seating capacity of 180 and is open from 6:00 am – 10:00 pm daily.
Here’s some of the fare at the dinner buffet: Japanese station offering assorted Sashimi, Maki and Tuna; at least two soups; plain & fried rice; cold cuts and cheese; assorted fresh garden greens; pasta station (they have an Italian Chef, by the way); fry station (highly recommended!); some of the mains were Spicy Shrimp, Fish Fillet Escabeche and Chicken in Coconut Milk; carving station with lamb leg and baked pork leg; dessert station (lots of options); fresh fruits and a liquor section.
They served some offbeat appetizers and sides like the one pictured above, Pickled Vegetables, Kinilaw na Tanigue (Tanigue Salad), Seaweed Salad and Tokwa at Baboy Salad!
Spicy Shrimp
Some ‘exotic’ dishes were: Ox Tongue Estofado (pictured) and Kalderetang Kambing (Goat Meat Stew in Tomato Sauce)
Halo-Halo
Probably every Filipino’s favorite dessert…except me. :p
Local Desserts
 
Endette and I were so amused with our room and the resort’s facilities we actually forgot to have lunch.
 
So, as embarrassing as it may sound, I was so famished come dinner time I thought I had every bit of excuse to indulge and stuff myself. Bad idea! I never felt so full in my entire life I literally felt like I was going to explode.
 
Death by buffet…literally

Counterclockwise: plate of fried fish fillet, squid rings and prawns; fried rice with slice of lamb with onion sauce and Escabeche; Carbonara and dessert plate consisting of Chocolate Moist Cake, Blueberry Cheesecake, Crunchy Chocolate, Creme Brulee, and Caramel Poundcake
 
***
 
The next morning, we decided to dip in the pool first while everyone was having breakfast.
 
My breakfast plate: Hash Brown, bacon, sausage, fish fillet, Pork Steak and Beef Tapa 
 
It was a beautiful and sunny day so we decided to dine al fresco.
 
And even though we were a bit late for breakfast, the buffet spread was well-replenished.
 
Of course there are the breakfast staples hotdogs/sausages, bacon, longganisa; an omelet station; pancake station; cereal station; hash brown; some mains like Beef Tapa, Pork Steak, Chicken with Spinach Sauce and Fish Fillet; dried squid and danggit; some dimsum; congee; fresh fruit juices; breads/rolls and assorted spreads; fresh fruits and assorted native delicacies.
 
***
 
What I like most about Lamian is how they allowed Filipino delicacies to take center stage whilst offering a variety of international fare. This, coupled with the attentive and courteous staff ensures guests will have a pleasurable dining experience. Lamian, indeed!

Allegro Restaurant of Bluewater Maribago Beach Resort

Aside from our gorgeous room, guess what else we enjoyed about our stay at Bluewater Maribago? Why, the sumptuous food, of course!

We had our buffet dinner and breakfast at Allegro Restaurant which is centrally located within the resort with a view of the main pool.
Recreational Bar

We arrived too early for dinner. Who’s excited? 😉

Allegro offers a variety of themed dinners and entertainment throughout the week. We were very lucky that the theme that night was Fishing Village! 😀Fresh local catch of the day grilled to your liking

Some mains (Beef Mechado, Chili Crab, Fish Fillet with Tausi), side dish and soup that night.

And I just realized I forgot to take a picture of the carving station, but the roast pork was insanely delicious!

I also noticed they have an extensive selection of appetizers, salads and desserts.

Notable ones are Breaded Pugapo and Prawn Filled with Cheddar and Dalandan-Tartare Sauce, Tomato and Kesong Puti, Bacon Shrimp and Pineapple Salad, Food for the Gods and the Pandan Brazo de Mercedes.

Then at 7:30 pm, the show started with a Tahitian dance followed by the Fireball Dancers. The performers were really good. And on their last set, they even asked the audience to join them. Well, the foreign guests were more than happy to be part of the production number. 😀

And the buffet breakfast? It was equally impressive.

For breakfast, guests can choose to either dine al fresco at the patio or inside this air conditioned hall
Variety of noodles and you get to choose the ingredients you want
Breakfast spread consists of cold cuts; salads; some Korean fare; a French toast, crepe and pancake station with a variety of sauces; assortment of rolls, and spread and cheese; dimsum; the usual tocino, ham and longganisa; an omelet station; and even a congee and champorado station 😀
Assortment of cereals and dried fruits
Breakfast of champions. I loved everything! 🙂
 
Clockwise: Danish pastry, sticky roll, bacon; chocolate de batirol; French toast, mini burger, a shot glass of strawberry yogurt; blueberry pancakes and mango crepe.
 
Not included in the picture is an omelet and a plate of siomai that Endette and I devoured! It was so good – comparable to the ones made in authentic Chinese restos in Binondo. 😀
 

But what made our dining experience more enjoyable was the superb service. The staff was not only attentive, but they anticipate your needs. You don’t even have to ask them to refill your water and will even volunteer to get the coffee/hot chocolate for you. They also greet foreign guests in their respective language and are particularly very fond of children.

It’s no wonder guests have a lovely stay at Bluewater Maribago.

 

Lunch Buffet at Garden Cafe, Cebu City Marriott

The Garden Cafe at Cebu City Marriott is like an urban oasis. It is located right at the heart of Cebu’s business district – and the only one with direct access to Ayala Center – but surrounded by greenery which makes for a lovely dining experience.
Enjoy al fresco dining
Overlooking the pool area

 

With high ceilings, glass panels that allow natural lighting and with views of Marriott’s garden (thus the name), you get to enjoy international cuisine at a classy yet relaxed setting.
 Good thing we were allowed to take pictures before the buffet started

 

At only Php450 for international lunch buffet (weekday) – and Php925-Php1,600 for themed dinners – there’s a surprisingly wide selection of food to choose from.
There’s the soup of the day, bread/rolls, cold cuts, some Japanese fare, at least 5 mains, a salad bar, pasta station, cheese, crepe station, a modest selection of desserts (varies daily) and fresh fruits. You can also make your own sandwich. And they have lots of wine too.

 

Soup of the day: Chicken Coconut Soup
Make your own sandwich
Salad Station
Make your own pasta
TOP L-R: Stir Fried Noodles, Breaded Fish, Chicken ala King
BOTTOM L-R: Pork Ribs with Barbecue Sauce, Beef Curry, Chicken Cacciatore
The Pork Ribs is a must-try! The sauce and mango salsa was just amazing. For dessert, don’t miss the Hazelnut Tart and crepe. The crepe is made on the spot with your choice of ingredients. Mine had banana and mango filling drizzled with chocolate sauce topped with shavings of white chocolate. Yum! The crepe was very smooth and delicate but strong enough to hold the fillings. I was also very happy that they had cheese, particularly, Brie.
 
Ms. Cleofe Albiso, Director of Sales and Marketing, sat down with us over lunch and shared some information about Garden Cafe and Marriott Cebu.
 
We learned that their chef is Thai – so consider yourself lucky if the theme is Asian – their Food & Beverage Manager is Argentinian and the General Manager is American. She shares that Marriott Cebu really source for and only use the freshest ingredients. Additionally, they have a panel that meticulously conducts a taste test every day. It’s also worth noting that they strictly comply with regional standards to make sure that the hotel’s overall quality is consistent with the Marriott brand.
Here’s the August – September schedule:

So if you happen to be in Cebu’s CBD, I definitely recommend dining at Garden Cafe. You will surely get your money’s worth.
 
 
Garden Cafe at Cebu City Marriott Hotel
Cardinal Rosales Avenue
Cebu Business Park, Cebu City 6000

Bistro del Cielo Restaurant

Truth be told, my mom and I had a lot of restaurant options for dinner when we stayed at Parque España, but I assured her that the in-house restaurant, Bistro del Cielo, serves really good food.
When I was still working in Alabang, we held two company occasions here so I already know the quality of the food and I’m glad that, after 3 years, it did not disappoint.
Simple but classy interiors of Bistro del Cielo
Guests also have the option to dine al fresco. This area’s just beside the pool.
Filinvest City at night

Dinner
The waitstaff immediately handed us the menu as soon as we picked a table. We were then served complimentary dinner rolls with butter after placing our orders. It was also a bonus that a live band performed that night so we didn’t mind waiting for the food — not that it took that long.
Broccoli and Feta Cheese Soup
People who know me know that I don’t eat vegetables, but throw in any kind of cheese as a main ingredient of any dish and it easily becomes a pièce de résistance for me.
Take, for instance, the Broccoli and Feta Cheese Soup that I ordered. Now don’t let the plain looks fool you. This soup packs a lot of flavor. Served hot,  one sip and I immediately tasted the rich flavor of broccoli balanced by the tangy and generous chunks of feta cheese. Its creamy texture complemented the soup’s consistency as well; not too thick or runny. Just right for me.
Needless to say, this one whetted my appetite. :3
Oriental Pork with Nasi Goreng
For the entree, I chose the Oriental Pork with Nasi Goreng. Two generous portions of succulent pork loin glazed with oriental sauce topped with chopped spring onions served with nasi goreng. You can also just pair it with plain rice.
Though the nasi goreng doesn’t look exactly like the original, it’s just as savory. The bean sprouts provide just the right crunch that complemented the tender meat. Interestingly, the chili added just the right amount of spiciness. It’s not overpowering. I loved it!
Pork Kare-Kare
My mom ordered the Pork Kare-Kare (they also serve seafood and vegetable versions). We were both surprised when this arrived at the table since it doesn’t look like the usual Kare-Kare.
The pork skin was crunchy yet the meat itself is tender. The peanut sauce, albeit runny, perfectly balanced the pork’s crispiness. My mom is a really good cook and not easily impressed with restaurant food, but she liked this a lot. It was that good.
Turon del Cielo (à la mode)
The dessert took some time to arrive and when it did, I naturally asked the waiter for the ice cream because it said à la mode on the menu, but he said that’s it. I just let it slide because I was satisfied with the dinner anyway.
I took a bite and it was awesome! This is not your usual turon. Aside from the banana filling, it has ube (purple yam) and macapuno! No wonder it took some time to make. It’s like halo-halo in turon form. Genius! And the chocolate drizzling just took it to a whole ‘nother level. My tummy was more than satisfied. :3
The tab arrived and we paid Php875.00 (already inclusive of tax and service charge), which by my standards, is reasonable enough (almost affordable) given the quality of the food.

 

Breakfast

I think my mom and I had too much of a good sleep that it was already 8:00 am when we woke up…and the buffet breakfast is only until 10:00 am. Needless to say, Bistro del Cielo was already almost full to the brim when we got there (also an indication of the hotel’s occupancy rate).

Fresh fruits
I wasn’t able to take pictures of the buffet spread since 1) the restaurant is not that big (see first picture in this post) and 2) hello, I don’t want to die from fork stabs. You don’t want to piss hungry people by taking too long in the buffet line.
Anyway, they seemed to have most, if not all, breakfast buffet essentials. You can make your own porridge, there’s plain and fried rice, noodles sausages, fish, Beef Stroganoff, an assortment of pastries, an omelet station, a DIY-cereal and pancake station and, of course, the fresh fruits plus unlimited coffee, tea and fresh fruit juices.
My first plate
My DIY pancake: topped with dried mangoes, raisins and prunes drizzled with chocolate sauce
 
If you happen to be in Alabang, I highly recommend you try dining at Bistro del Cielo. You will definitely get your money’s worth.

K

 

*Complimentary breakfast for 2