International food critics may constantly refer to Philippine cuisine as “the next big thing” on their shores, but to Filipinos, Pinoy food has always been “the thing”—cuisine that we keep coming back to after having our fill of “fusion” this and “trendy” that.
Small wonder then why Filipinos love Filipino buffets! Not only are the choices practically endless, they reveal the countries and cultures that have left their mark on us—and ultimately, our food. From Chinese and Spanish to American and Malay, our dishes boast such diverse flavors and ingredients, they’re hard to resist.
Hankering for eat-all-you-can Filipino favorites? My Pope names four of the best buffets in town:
Kamayan (Old-time Favorite)
Originally an a la carte Filipino restaurant that encouraged patrons to eat with their hands, Kamayan has since become a buffet place and part of the trio of eat-all-you-can options (after the Japanese Saisaki and continental Dads) under Dads World Buffet. For P688, you can indulge in Kamayan’s own lechon de leche, lechon Cebu, and crispy pata, as well as sisig made with lechon (and not just pig parts). Regulars usually come for the kuhol sa gata (snail in coconut milk), grilled meats and seafood, and popular Pinoy picks like green mango and bagoong, maggaburo, and atchara.
Cabalen (Adventurous Eats)
Kapampangans (Filipinos from Pampanga) are known for being the best cooks in the country, and Cabalen (which translates to “fellow Kapampangan”) proves it by serving not just mouth-watering goodies but actual Kampapangan cuisine. Feeling adventurous? Try beringhe (or bringhe), a sticky rice with coconut milk, and camaru (crickets!). Other dishes that will have you going back for seconds (and even thirds and fourths) are kare-kare, kalderetang baka, beef morcon, and crispy kangkong.
Kamay Kainan (Bang for Your Buck!)
Among the more affordable buffets in the metro (at P343), Kamay Kainan has all your favorites—barbecue, lechon kawali, dinuguan, bopis, beef kaldereta, sinigang na baboy—and more. Add P60 for bottomless iced tea, and don’t worry about dessert: besides the staple sweets like buko pandan and ginataang halo-halo, your meal comes with free ice cream!
Finio (Open for Breakfast)
Most buffets serve lunch and dinner, but at Finio Restaurant, buffets begin at breakfast! For P145, rise and shine to one plate after another of champorado, tuyo, garlic rice, egg, hotdog, tocino, and other morning delights. Bottomless coffee and juices seal the deal. Located at 220 Tomas Morato Avenue (near the corner of Dr. Lazcano Street), Barangay Sacred Heart, Quezon City, Finio restaurant opens at 6:30 am.