This Cebu merienda buffet looks like a steal. That’s what I’ve thought everytime I read about Maayo Hotel’s daily afternoon snack buffet. It was really tempting that I told RJ, my friend, that we should try this. But being a resident of Talisay which is 12 KM south of Cebu City, it’s quite far with the hotel closer to the Marcelo Fernan Bridge than SM City. It’s so out of the way! But then, why not? Is this P250 Cebu merienda buffet worth it? Is it worth the drive?
Maayo Hotel opened its doors late last year. It’s a four star hotel in Mandaue City and claims as the first and only wellness hotel in the province. Maayo is Cebuano for ‘good’ and they offer a local vibe and feel, offering to deliver an authentic Cebuano experience. One of the first offerings they had is this P250 merienda buffet consisting mostly of Cebuano delicacies, Filipino snack favorites and popular fare with a mix of sweet and savory dishes. At P250, it’s cheap and budget friendly. And we came here to check it out.
The merienda buffet is located at Dayun (Cebuano for welcome) at the 7th floor. It’s actually part of the lobby but elevated a foot above the normal flooring with high ceilings, comfortable furniture and views of the surrounding area. The buffet spread is setup at a couple of tables infront of what I think is a conference area. It has four sections: the hot section, pizza and sandwich, dessert rack and the delicacies section. I was told by the staff that the food is rotated daily.
The snack items
My first small plate (there were no big plates available) was easily filled with food items. The shanghai lumpia was really good. It’s crispy and plump which reminds me of the ones we usually order at Majestic Restaurant, even the flavor. The wrapper is thin and its amply filled. It’s so good that I went back for it three times. Unfortunately, I didn’t find the sweet and sour sauce that goes well with it and I didn’t ask. But this food? Really recommended.
The pancit is sating with lots of ingredients. The binignit was done right. Not too sweet and has ample bits of the usual slices of bananas and camote (sweet potato) although I prefer having the gabi (yam). The arroz caldo is well flavored and thick, not too salty and not too gingery too. Just the right amount. Because of the many dishes, what I did was more of tasting majority of the items including the pizza (yes, you should try it too), the puto cheese (a bit dry), the slices of cassava cake (hard at some parts and forgettable), the choco mousse in a shot glass (good, get two), the cheesecake (so small but so good), and some mini sandwiches (just okay).
As for the make-your-own-sandwich, while the ingredients are there, it would be better if there’s some sort of mayo or spread too. For the drinks, they offer three: brewed coffee, sikwate (hot choco, really good although not as thick but you have to try it), cucumber juice (very refreshing and I had several glass of this!), and infused water. Wasn’t really able to taste everything since by then, I was already too full.
So is this P250 Cebu merienda buffet worth it?
I think it’s a cheap and good price for the food that are mostly good. The main snack dishes are filling and I really loved the shanghai lumpia, the arroz caldo, the binignit and the pansit. The sweets, generally recommended. Will I come back again? Definitely, yes. As the staff told me, food is rotated daily and on other days, they have bam-i (a sauteed noodle dish primarily served in Cebu), siomai (dumplings), siopao (steamed meat buns), puto and dinuguan (rice cake and blood stew), turon (fried banana fritters with jackfruit slivers in rice wrappers) and many more. Although distant, it’s well worth the drive.
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6014 Mandaue City