It was during the first few days of the semester – when you have all the money you’ve accumulated during school breaks and requirements and quizzes are not due until a week or so – that I dragged Dora, AC, Tords, Dai and Chabs to Golden Fortune Restaurant in Binondo for a buffet dinner. The place was highly recommended by Wu to Tords. As what you have probably noticed, nothing works better than word of mouth for me so off we went (I am slowly losing my faith on the internet and its veracity).
The place was the first eat-all-you-can I’ve been in that was almost deserted. I learned that it was actually a restaurant and you can just avail of their Shabu-Shabu for 380 pesos per person. There’s no buffet table. Instead, the waiters give you a checklist and you put a mark on all the things you want to be delivered at your table. No idea how some of them look like or how big the portions are.
The waiters put an electronic stove on our table plus a casserole with hot water and bone. We first thought that this was the complimentary soup so I put some in our bowls. AC already tasted hers before we realized it was not soup, it was where we’ll soak and cook our foods. That’s why the waiters and other customers were looking at us funny. We should have brought Wu with us because we were so clueless. haha
We enjoyed the new experience at first but after a couple of minutes, the joy of cooking in boiling water has lost its power to amaze us. Then we realized that the food was bland and we ordered way too many. Plus, combining everything in one container was not a good idea, a bit gross towards the end, actually. And of course buffets come with a price for left overs (650 pesos, ouch!). There is no way we are paying that much. We forced the remaining dishes down our throats even though our stomachs were giving up. And the tension was building waiting to explode because everyone was starting to become moody.
While eating, a waiter carrying plates with fresh foods stopped at our table and we all looked at him fiercely while holding our breaths. Shit, another round, I cannot eat anymore, I promise never to eat at buffets again – were some of the thoughts that ran through our minds during that shirt period of time. Then the waiter looked at a piece of paper and moved to another table. At that moment, all of us sighed in unison, a sigh of relief. Then we laughed and the tension from before was forgotten. We survived what we consider as an almost impossible challenge thanks to patience, resourcefulness, and water.
When we next saw Wu, we complained and told her our experience. She then said that we should have asked for a grill and she apologized for not being able to accompany us. Come to think of it, a grill would have made a huge difference and we would have eaten more (grilled instead of boiled meat, om nom nom).
It would be unfair to say that the place was bad because of our lack of knowledge on the proper way to enjoy shabu-shabu. But a second visit is not on my list for the near future. Besides, the cute manager, who we think is the son of the owner, did not grace our request to have a picture taken with him. You think you’re too handsome? huh? Don’t know what pleasing customers mean? LELZ!
One thing’s for sure, it was an unforgettable dinner.