ews flash: Halal food is not just for Islams or Jews, it is for everyone. This is what I learned at the launch of The Manila Hotel's Halal Kitchen. The first of it's kind in the Philippines for a 5 star hotel.
Halal involves food experts, food technicians, scientists, and more to reach the quality of food that is fit for the health conscious and discerning when it comes to food hygiene and sanitation. The Manila Hotel received their Halal Certification from the Muslim Mindanao Halal Certification Board last August 1, 2012.
Beginning this September, Halal certified food will now be offered in the Ylang Ylang Cafe lunch and dinner buffets, and also to room service orders. Here's what to expect at the Halal food spread. Let's start at the Salad section:
This is called Taboulleh which is minced parsley mixed with spices. It's a good companion for Babaghanuj.
Babaghanuj is made from roasted eggplants mixed again with delicious spices. It was my first time to try this although I've heard about this so many times. I love Indian and Middle Eastern food but haven't had the chance to explore their salads and appetizers until Manila Hotel.
If you're looking for an alternative to your daily western salad, here's a killer salad spread that shouts Middle East.
I was clueless until one of the helpful chefs approached me. Chef Hanna Usman helped me create my salad plate. It was delicious and the variety was a feast to my tastebuds. Greens were smothered with garlic-lemon olive oil dressing.
That creamy white dip is actually hummus which is made of garbanzos aka chic peas. Hanna told me I should try it, especially if I saw the movie Zohan haha :) I am now in love with hummus, it's so creamy and it's true you can dip anything in it!
Let's cross over to the breads
A variety of Samosas, Papadums, and Nan. It's hard to decide whether these are appetizers or desserts. Especially when you dip them in chutneys. As you can see, I had papadums with my salad and hummus.
Chicken Biriyani is the foundation of your Halal feast. It's great for all the forthcoming dishes. This rice is great with some yogurt. You'll really learn a lot from this Halal buffet - don't be afraid to experiment and try new food.
Roganjosh Lamb is a famous Indian dish which you'll normally see in other restaurants. This one has five star quality though. There's generous lamb cutlets which are all very tender. The spiciness of all food items are friendly for everyone.
Beef Rendang is rubbed with sweet and chili spices. I lean towards dishes that are saucy so I skipped this one. My date says its incredible though.
Fried prawns are great to dip in hummus, or it could be just me. I'd dip anything in hummus now.
Here's my plate for the main entrees, in case you want to compare notes later :) I had to save a lot of room for my favorite curries and masala.
I loved all of these and wish I had more than one stomach. Here's my tip, don't pour all dishes together on your plate. Use the small bowls or saucers for different dishes.This way, the flavors don't mix and you can decide later on which your favorite Halal food is.
To end my Middle Eastern exploration, I had vegetable samosas and more papadums with chutney. I also thought our local dessert, guinataang halo-halo should join the coconut based curries in my tummy.
I asked for hot water afterwards so everything is digested well. We were very much satisfied with the Halal food selections at The Manila Hotel. They have over 11 food stations at Cafe Ylang Ylang but that day, my focus was on their Middle Eastern fare.
Can't wait to go back, I shall call this place curry heaven :) Enjoy the Halal Buffet and the rest of the 11 food stations at Cafe Ylang Ylang for P1,800++
P.S. This cake puts the Cake Boss to shame.
The Manila Hotel Centennial Cake.