Pandemic dimsum buffet in Cebu’s Tin Gow

Categories Food

As the country is starting to open up during this pandemic, the dimsum buffet in Cebu’s Tin Gow was a welcome break from months of staying at home. The Grand Dimsum Feast at Tin Gow has been on for lunch since late August, featuring the mouth watering creations of Master Chef Low at P650 net per person excluding drinks. On offer are 24 kinds of delicious dimsum that you can order from a menu card. It was RJ’s birthday and we decided to have lunch at this Chinese restaurant at the Waterfront Hotel in Cebu City.

All along, I was thinking of dimsum buffet food laid out on a long table or at least a traditional roving cart offering various dimsum. But I was wrong. I’m not sure though if this was a new setup due to the pandemic but I think it was also good. You order from a menu card then they will prepare the food then serve these on your table, arriving steaming hot.

Good dimsum buffet in Cebu

From the menu card, we ordered first, six different kinds, a combination of steamed and fried dimsum. Hot oolong tea in a pot and teacups were served while waiting. In less than 10 minutes, our orders were laid out on the table one by one. I am familiar with the standard dimsum: the meaty and well tasting siomai, the oh so tender pork spare ribs, the crunchy spring roll and the delectable, and one of my faves in this dimsum buffet, the deep fried shrimp roll. There was also the ham suey kok, which the waitress happily pointed to us. It’s sweet dough filled with a small portion of meat. The taste and texture of the dough is akin to that of siopao, or pork steamed buns. The last one, pork roll was good too. Thin rice flour sheets rolled with pork bits.

We ordered another round with pork spare ribs and shrimp rolls, since we loved these two so much. Yes, these are highly recommended! We also added radish cake and stuffed eggplant. I do admit that at this time, I was beginning to be full. The first batch of order was quite filling already. For the third and last order, we got bite sized pieces of fish ball, squid roll and the deep fried squid roll which was beautiful to look at and I love the crunch. For dessert, we opted for the custard bun.

Is The Grand Dimsum Feast worth it?

Yes! The spare ribs was just too good that we had a second serving. The pork siomai too. And there’s the shrimp roll that we can’t just get enough of. I’m not so fond of radish cake but the more I ate the one we ordered, the more I was liking it. The pork roll was sublime too. I love the texture of the velvety rice flour sheets contrasting with the bits of meat. That beautifully cooked deep fried squid roll was a play of texture: crunchy outside, tender inside.

We were not able to try the two types of siopao, the different congees and noodle dish. The beancurd with fruit sauce, sesame ball and chicken feet and the chinese red bean bun too. We were too full by then and I don’t want to have leftovers. Perhaps, a second visit should be scheduled, soon.

Somber, almost deserted lobby

Some observations though. We entered the Waterfront Hotel and I was a bit surprised that what used to be a vibrant lobby was quite somber at just a few minutes past 11 o’clock. The usual lighted shops were dim and closed. Other than the lounge staff, there was just one other guest having coffee. Cafe Uno, the buffet restaurant and Madeleine, the pastry shop were still closed. It was a far cry from the bright and busy lobby that I’m familiar with. Gone are the guests coming in and out or people at the lounge.

As we were ushered in to the spacious Tin Gow with its Chinese style interiors, we were the only diners then. When we finished at a little past 1 PM, there were three other tables that were filled. I looked around the deserted restaurant when we entered. Round and rectangular tables placed at a distance with each other while seats are few and spaced. Pipe in modern music kept the atmosphere lively though.

As the economy is gradually opening up, I do hope that Waterfront Hotel, and the rest of the hotels not just in Cebu City will finally gain their shine once again. For now, let’s do patronize their offers and help businesses.

Dimsum buffet in Cebu
First batch of dimsum that we ordered. During our lunch, we ordered three times, each with different types. This spread consists of siomai, spring rolls, ham suey kok, prawn roll, pork rice roll and oolong tea
Dimsum buffet in Cebu
The siomai is just so good!
Stuffed eggplant
Dimsum buffet in Cebu
Deep fried squid roll
Dimsum buffet in Cebu
Squid ball
Custard bun is also good
A deserted Tin Gow. When we arrived, it was only us having lunch. When we left at past 1 PM, there were three other tables with diners.
The Grand Dimsum Feast
Tin Gow
Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino
1100H-1500H Daily 
(032) 232-6888  
Stan Cabigas helps businesses get qualified leads and more sales via Facebook Ads. He's also a photographer, blogger and writer based in Cebu, the Philippines. A true blue Cebuano, he makes stunning images and meaningful photo stories. His work has been published in local and international publications including National Geographic Magazine, Geo (Germany), Sunday Times Magazine (London). His personal Photography work has been exhibited in Asia and Europe including Paris, Seoul and around the ASEAN regional capitals. He is also a peripatetic traveler and has been to all 81 Philippines provinces.

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