Every summer in August, Swedes throw a party in honor of a very special crustacean!
Last September 14, 2019, guests feasted on bountiful servings of imported crayfish and Nordic spreads, drank free-flowing beer, dressed in Viking costumes and danced to the festive music as Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila, in partnership with NordCham Philippines and Philippines Norway Business Council, staged the biggest Crayfish Party in Asia at the Harbor Garden Tent.
Here’s a photo essay on the day of the event…
The harbor tent was decked in Nordic-themed flags and transformed into a mini Viking coastal village. Every inch of space was decorated in classic Viking décor that left little to the imagination.
Guests were all out in their Viking costumes since exciting prizes were up for grabs!
But for those who came in casual wear, they were happy enough to wear the Vikings themed paper bibs and hats to make the party extra festive.
A parade of bountiful crayfish and whole roasted pigs opened the night of festivities, followed by the traditional chanting of Helan Går and the skål (toast).
The celebration was elevated with free-flowing ice-cold beer, a friendly beer-drinking game and a captivating ABBA musical tribute by the Silk Band, which brought guests to their feet to dance to the iconic 70s group’s all-time favorite hits.
The star of the night: Crayfish flown in exclusively for the party to ensure authenticity.
But what is crayfish? Crayfish, also known as freshwater lobster, is found in the Northern Hemisphere and is not native to Philippine waters, which explains why we’re not that familiar with it. Due to a plague that almost wiped out the crayfish population, a law has been made to prohibit the fishing of crayfish year-round except during the crayfish season that starts in August. This is the reason why the crayfish is rare and expensive.
The taste? It’s delicate, sweet and a bit salty. You eat crayfish by twisting off the head and sucking it—the best part! Remove the body like how you eat your shrimp and pull the lower end of the claw to get the meat! Of course, you won’t be expected to fill up on shellfish alone.
We couldn’t talk about our amazing night unless we also talk about the food any decent crayfish party would offer. The sumptuous Nordic feast highlighted several traditional dishes including…
ASSORTED COLD CUTS: Salami, mortadella, jamon
SALADS: Cucumber salad with Asian dressing, potato and herring salad, beetroot with boiled eggs
CRAYFISH WITH LEMON WEDGES AND DILL LEAVES
SOFITEL ARTISAN BREAD BASKET: Soft rolls, hard rolls, baguettes, crispy breads and crackers, 3 kinds of cheeses (brie, gouda, edam)
UNDER THE HEAT LAMPS: Roasted marble potatoes, boiled dill potatoes, Jansson’s temptation (Swedish casserole), Swedish meatballs with brown gravy and lingon jam, sausages & surkål, sailor’s stew, cod and salmon fillets with horseradish sauce, chicken adobo & rice
Roasted whole pig (lechon)
DESSERTS: Kladdkaka (Swedish chocolate cake), toscakaka (Swedish almond caramel cake), ostkaka (Swedish cheesecake), red velvet cupcakes
The Crayfish Party featured plenty of beer along with a variety of exciting games and competitions. Old favorites and new exciting challenges awaited the participants with exciting prizes in store!
Proceeds went to the Chosen Children Village (CCV), a foundation focused on bringing less fortunate and disabled children toward a more meaningful and productive way of life. The Crayfish festivities did not only live up to my expectations, but the attendance also exceeded them. Congratulations Sofitel Plaza Manila and NordCham Philippines for a very successful event!
Live an Awesome Life,
ABI of Team Our Awesome Planet
Disclosure: We were media guests of Sofitel Manila. I wrote this article with my biases, opinions and insights.