North Asian Showdown | a Flavorful Journey through the Best of Korea, Japan and China

The Manila Marriott Hotel presents the North Asian Showdown, a month-long special buffet offering at the Marriot Cafe featuring oriental cuisines from Korea, Japan and China. Running from September 17 to October 15, guests can enjoy bulgogi, japchae, galbi and spicy hot pots from the Land of the Morning Calm, fresh sushi, sukiyaki, katsu and ramen from the Land of the Rising Sun, and a myriad of dimsum, roast meats and steamed fish from Middle Kingdom.

Last September 17, #TeamPinasMuna was invited by Manila Marriott for the press launch of the North Asian Showdown. During the pre-dinner cocktails, members of the press were treated with drink creatively mixed with sake and soju. The event also marks the formal relaunch of Marriott Cafe with its newly revamped interiors.

We were then given a tour of the different stations where dishes are freshly cooked and customized to the guests' liking. The tour started at the Korean Hotpot station followed by the Grilling Station and the Korean Main Dish Station. Next were the Sushi Station and the Tepanyaki Station.

We then proceeded to the Chinese Main Dishes Station, the Roasting Station and the Dimsum Station. Finally, we checked out what's cooking at the Ramen Station and at the Bibimbap Station. Executive Chef Meik Brammer also introduced Guest Chef Suh Dong Jin from Korea and Marriott Manila's Chinese Sous Chef Jun Li.

After the quick tour, it was finally time for us to sample what the North Asian Showdown has to offer. Below were the photos we posted on Instagram during the event. All three photos received positive response from our IG friends, a sign that the combination of Korean, Japanese and Chinese cuisines in a buffet setting will surely be a big hit for Filipinos.

The first one we tried was the Korean Hotpot. Our hot pot was loaded with prawns, mussels, scallops, squid and kimchi boiling in spicy seafood broth. For extra thickness and flavor to the soup, we recommend adding raw egg to it. If you want it with noodles, head to the ramen station and ask for some noodles for your Korean Hot Pot. Just be creative.

We then tried their sashimi. We requested for a plate of salmon, tuna, octopus, yellowtail (Japanese amberjack) and mackerel which was beautifully arranged for us. I was really impressed by the assortment of sushi available at Marriott Cafe, while most buffet restaurants only offer two to three variants, Marriott Cafe has five.

Next, it was time to try the Chinese dimsums. We had siomai, hakaw, roast duck and century egg. One thing I learned in Korean restaurants is to pair dimsum with Kimchi which what I did here. Kimchi helps to cleans the palate and its spiciness adds a layer of flavor to the siomai.

We then tried the ramen. Since it is a buffet, you can customize what ingredients go into your ramen bowl, you can customize the mix. Below is the photo of our ramen before pouring the broth into the bowl.

The ramen station only offers one type of broth, a pork broth which you can customize by adding miso paste, sesame oil, soy sauce and other flavorings. Below is our ramen with the broth poured in.

We then ordered a bowl of bibimbap. You can either customize your bibimbap or order a standard bibimbap mix. Only after a few minutes, our bibimbap was served on our table fresh from the station.

When eating bibimbap, you must mix all ingredients, including the rice, in the bowl so that all the flavors blend together. Above is the photo of our bibimbap prior to mixing, below is our bibimbap with all the ingredients mixed together. A little warning, bibimbap is meant to be spicy as it is mixed with gochujang (chili pepper paste). If you are not into spicy food, just request a non-spicy version of the dish.

Finally for dessert, I had the assortment of cakes from the dessert station. There's also premium gelato which Marriott Cafe makes in-house. If you are looking for something light, there are fresh fruits that you can have as dessert as well.

What we love about Korean, Japanese and Chinese cuisines is that they are so different yet they are also very similar. Their differences when combined create interesting contrasts and their similarities are rooted in the basic ingredients and flavors of their cuisines. It is interesting that one can mix and match dishes from one cuisine to another without resulting to a clashing taste. It is just right to combine these three countries' cuisines in one buffet event such as the North Asian Showdown at the Marriott Manila. Here are other dishes you can expect at the North Asian Showdown:

North Asian Showdown
Marriott Cafe | September 17 - October 15, 2015

Schedule Lunch Dinner
Monday to Saturday P1,900 nett ---
Sunday to Thursday --- P2,100 nett

Reservations: +63 (02) 988-9999

Manila Marriott Hotel
No. 10 Newport Boulevard, Newport City Complex, Pasay City, Philippines
Contact Number: +63 (02) 988-9999
Instagram: @ManilaMarriott

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