HEAT: How Covid 19 Changed Buffet Dining Forever (Here’s how to do it safely)

To buffet or not to buffet during the pandemic? There are two protocols for buffet dining in the new normal: first, you still have buffet stations but with one-way socially distant flow of diners; and second, you can order eat-all-you-can from a menu and everything is delivered to your table.

Watch: 🔴 The Reopening Story of HEAT with Executive Chef Scott Brands

If you want to dine buffet-style, go for establishments with high standards of safety protocols and with diners that follow health standards diligently.

We tried HEAT at Edsa Shangri-La Hotel three times during our staycation, and here are tips on how to eat at a buffet safely…

Related Blog Posts:
• Staycation in Manila: How to Do it Safely with the family @EdsaShangriLa
• How Covid 19 Changed Buffet Dining Forever (Here’s how to do it safely @ HEAT)
• SUMMER PALACE: Best Chinese Restaurant in Manila (for your Next Lauriat Celebration Safely with the Family)


Safety First

If you are going on a staycation, your antigen test result must be negative so even the kids can go. For those who are just going to eat, you have to fill up a health declaration form, pass the temperature check, sanitize your hands and wear your face mask + shield.

In general, we avoided indoor dining with other guests. We were, of course, worried to breathe the same air as the other diners who did not undergo antigen tests, especially when they were eating with masks off. Make sure to book an outdoor area or a private room for your family.

Every time we went out of the private room, we taught the kids to always wear masks and face shields and to follow the one-way flow and the social distancing floor markers.

Although you could bring a maximum of 2 plates, we told the kids to bring just one so that they could practice control and be selective of the food in the buffet. The plates are heated, by the way. Sanitize your hands every time you can.

The Japanese station is the most popular and most people crowd here, so plan your time to queue at this station and follow social distancing even if you are standing next to your family.

The kids were able to learn the protocols quickly. Best to condition them already before they set foot in the one-way buffet. The food was served on their plates so even the little ones could go to the station and ask for the food they wanted.


Noodle Station

This is our favorite station, and we recommend starting here because this station can have a long queue since the noodles are prepared and assembled upon order.

Our favorite here is the laksa and beef soup! It’s recommended to drink hot soup throughout the dinner and avoid cold water throughout the meal.


Western Favorites

This has the most extensive selection and all the food are prepared behind an acrylic cover and with heater containers. You can only order from the opening and must continue following the social distancing markers on the floor.

One of the reasons for going on buffet is to eat signature meats and indulge in them for your celebration. The servers slice them and serve them with mask and shield on. Make sure to call the attention of servers not wearing their shield properly.


Asian Favorites

The Asian Favorites are located on the tail end of the one way flow, and make sure not to counterflow to the dessert section. We would usually go three times to the buffet area—first for appetizers and our favorites, second for new things to try, and lastly for the dessert section to cap the meal.

The dimsum selections at Shangri-La hotels are the best, and how we wished they would allow us to get each basket to bring to our table. The dimsums are prepared in Summer Palace so you can be sure that they will pass the discerning taste of the little ones.


Desserts

Go for their signature halo-halo prepared for you, and make sure you get their ube and leche flan, which are our favorites.

The homemade ice cream is the best, and you can add toppings of your choice and eat it in a cone or a halo-halo glass.

The taco and the French toasts were irresistible and best enjoyed a la mode.


Breakfast

If you are on staycation, breakfasts are served a la carte and our favorite are the Filipino sets especially the longganisa, but we usually ordered one of each of the Filipino options and shared with the family.

The sets are served with their freshly baked Filipino and French breads.

They also have a keto-friendly breakfast and healthy alternatives.


Final Thoughts

Overall, there is a way to enjoy the buffet safely, and even if we have vaccines already, the health and safety protocols will become a standard.

It is very important to orient kids to treat the private room as their home base and to wear masks and shields every time they go out of the room. Book the al fresco area in advance as it has a nice view of the garden and the pool.

Show your kids this blog post and use it as an opportunity to teach them on what to expect and to prepare a game plan on what food to get. It is always best to be at the buffet as the first guests to avoid the queues.

For additional protection, I do hope that the servers wear gloves. Also, establishments should figure out a way for the shields not to fog up so that the servers can wear them properly.

Let me know if you have additional suggestions and comments on how to eat at a buffet safely in the post-Covid world.

Related Blog Posts:
• Staycation in Manila: How to Do it Safely with the family @EdsaShangriLa
• How Covid 19 Changed Buffet Dining Forever (Here’s how to do it safely @ HEAT)
• SUMMER PALACE: Best Chinese Restaurant in Manila (for your Next Lauriat Celebration Safely with the Family)

Live an Awesome Life,

Founder & Digital Creator, Our Awesome Planet

P.S. Teach your kids to place the mask and shield safely on the table and to sanitize the mask with alcohol whenever possible.

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