Shed Off Your Holiday Weight with Healthy Foodie Manila

Healthy Foodie Manila review

The Christmas and New Year season is the time of year when everyone can eat all the food that they want and gain a few pounds (or even 10) without receiving judgment from family and friends. But after all these festivities, when we’re back to living our regular lives, that is when the pangs of guilt and regret come to haunt us with the horrific sights of our puffy cheeks and jiggly muffin tops. We immediately subject ourselves to crazy fad diets like water therapy and fasting. But where’s the fun in that, right? What if we tell you that you can shed all that holiday weight off but still get to eat delicious food and enjoy 4 meals a day? Yes, you can, and it’s with the help of Healthy Foodie Manila. 🙂

Variety of delicious dishes from Healthy Foodie Manila's weekly menus

What is Healthy Foodie Manila?

Healthy Foodie Manila is one of the best diet food delivery services in the Metro that provides calorie-counted and portion-controlled meals according to their customers’ specific health needs, whether it be to lose or to gain weight. It’s important to note that they can cater special kinds of diets like vegetarian, pescatarian, and paleo. You may also avail the services of their registered nutritionist / dietician for a free nutrition consultation to help you determine the type of program you can most benefit from.

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Eat Like a Viking at Vikings SM Megamall

If it’s not obvious yet, Ken and I love eat-all-you-can buffets. We’ve had our fair share of both good and mediocre buffet restaurants. As we eat our way through all of the buffet places here in the metro, our standards continue to heighten. But, really, it was all because of Vikings Luxury Buffet.

Vikings Buffet in SM Megamall Mega Fashion Hall

We first had dinner at their SM North Edsa branch a year ago on a weekday. We were amazed by the variety of dishes they were offering, and the best part is you can enjoy everything for only Php 688 during lunch time and Php 888 for dinner and weekend/holiday lunch. There are other buffet restaurants that offer less quality selections for a higher price, so we were happy to see we’re getting much more than just our money’s worth at Vikings.

Fast forward to last month, we were invited to dine in at Vikings new branch in SM Megamall, at the Mega Fashion Hall. We already loved their buffet in SM North Edsa, but this new location is pretty special. 🙂

Vikings SM Megamall's desserts area

With an abundant selection of dishes – from Filipino, Japanese and Chinese dishes, to generous servings of flavorful meats, and custom pizza and pasta – Vikings Luxury Buffet in SM Megamall will definitely satisfy your every craving. Let me start by telling you about the highlights of our lunches at their new branch at the Mega Fashion Hall – first was with family, and next was a generous invite extended to The Burp Society (post about our meet-up there soon on TBS’ blog!).

The Burp Society at Vikings SM Megamall

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A Luxurious Lunch at Spiral in Sofitel Manila

Our family loves eating at buffets. It all began when our Nanay finally decided that she’s too old to throw grand parties at home. We can’t blame her though. She painstakingly handles everything from planning, shopping, cooking, and even cleaning up. Since then, buffets have become our go-to place when we’re celebrating something special. We’ve tried a number of buffet places like Yakimix, Café Jeepney, Seoul Garden, 7 Corners of Crowne Plaza, F Restaurant at F1 Hotel and our recent favorite, Viking’s. But one place we’re dying to try is Spiral at Sofitel Manila. We were supposed to celebrate our nanay’s birthday at their restaurant earlier this year, but she had something else in mind.

The new Spiral buffet restaurant


The New Spiral

After the devastation Typhoon Pedring had caused, Spiral had to close for 13 months as it went under an $11-million renovation. They took inspiration from the Filipinos’ resilience and viewed all that has happened as a blessing in disguise. They were given a clean slate and a chance to start all over again. And as the saying goes — “When you’re down, there’s no way to go but up.” Boy, did Spiral soar high! The old Spiral was already great, but the new one definitely blew all competition out of the water!

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Dimsum Break : Steamed Rice Craving, Satisfied!

I wrote about how excited I was that Dimsum Break is opening a branch in SM North Edsa last year, and I was desperate to finally have a taste of their Steamed Rice again after years of longing for it since I moved back here in 2009 after my 1-year stay in Cebu. Days after their opening in October 2012 (I know, this post is a year late), I dragged my nanay to their first branch at SM Annex and ordered away.

Dimsum Break's Original Steamed Fried Rice

Cebu may be known for many delicious food, but I’m willing to bet that Steamed Rice is on the list of dishes that Cebuanos, or anyone who has lived or even visited Cebu, are craving for when they go anywhere else.

Dimsum Break is the self-service, fast food restaurant of Harbour City Dimsum House, one of the popular Chinese restaurants in Cebu. I’ve dined in both restaurants there and the quality of the dim sum and Steamed Fried Rice are well-kept, so I know they’d make sure to maintain the quality even here in Manila.

So, Steamed Fried Rice, or simply Steamed Rice, is like your typical rice topping dish – rice topped with a savory mix of their ‘secret’ rich sauce, peas, shrimp and pork. The sauce is what makes this rice bowl so irresistible. We’ve tried making them at home – check out Mai’s Steamed Rice recipe – but we have yet to finally uncover the formula of Dimsum Break or Harbour City’s Steamed Rice.

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Xin Tian Di Chinese Restaurant at Crowne Plaza Manila

It’s been awhile since Ken and I last ate at a Chinese restaurant together. I think the last time was when we went on our DIY Binondo food tour (which we’ll be blogging about very soon!) last year. So when we were invited to check out Xin Tian Di restaurant at the Crowne Plaza Manila Galleria, we gladly accepted.

Xin Tian Di at the Crowne Plaza Galleria Manila in Ortigas

Located on the fourth floor of the hotel, Xin Tian Di is Crowne Plaza’s signature Chinese restaurant. Aside from a menu of Chinese dishes, they also offer various Asian cuisines such as Indonesian, Singaporean, Szechuan and Nonya (Peranakan). Upon entering the restaurant, you’d feel the welcoming ambiance of the whole place, from their friendly staff up until their comfy chairs and tables.

Inside Xin Tian Di restaurant in Crowne Plaza Galleria Manila

I love the colors and the interiors altogether, offering a very warm atmosphere and good acoustics, making Xin Tian Di a perfect venue for business meetings or get-together with your friends or family.


Xin Tian Di Dim Sum Unlimited and Yum Cha

Before we go to what we had for dinner, let me tell you first about one of their famous offerings: unlimited dim sum.

Xin Tian Di’s Dim Sum Unlimited is available now during lunch (11:30am-2:30pm) where you get to choose from over fifty (50) dim sum for only Php 1,188 nett per person. The Dim Sum Unlimited menu includes appetizers, entrees and desserts, so you can enjoy a complete meal for that price.

And good news for all you morning people! Starting on July 14, 2013, that’s this Sunday, Xin Tian Di will start offering a breakfast edition of their unlimited dim sum – their Yum Cha promo, which will be available from 7am til 10am. For the price of Php 588++, you’d get to choose among 36 varieties of dim sum, and even includes rice, congee, noodle, dessert and house tea.

These are awesome deals you shouldn’t miss, especially if you feel like hoarding some dim sum over breakfast or lunch. 😉 Oh, and make sure to check out Deal Grocer since I’ve seen them offering deals there. A few months ago, I bought vouchers for dinner at 7 Corners (will blog soon!), Crowne Plaza Galleria Manila’s other restaurant.

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Dimsum Break : Finally in SM North Edsa!

Update: Dimsum Break at SM North Edsa Annex is FINALLY open! Read our review here.

One thing most of you don’t know about me is that I lived in Cebu for about a year. Sure, there are many dishes and food places that anyone traveling there shouldn’t miss like Taboan (best place to buy pasalubong like danggit and dried squid) and Sutukil near the Mactan Shrine (Dampa-style restaurants). But, there’s one specific dish that I have been longing to have a taste of again and that’s Steamed Rice, Cebu style. So, I was frantic when I learned that Dimsum Break from Cebu is opening a branch here in Manila – at SM North Edsa! 😀

Dimsum Break in SM North Edsa is opening in October 2012

(Photo from Dimsum Break’s Facebook page)

When I moved back here, I have been longing for another taste of their Steamed Rice. In a desperate move, I begged Mai, one of the contributors in this food blog, a pure Cebuana, to come up and share a recipe for Cebu style Steamed Rice that she made here at home. The flavors are close to the actual dish from Cebu, but there’s something missing. Still, the recipe did satisfy our craving.

Cebu Style Steamed Rice -

You might be wondering what the heck this Steamed Rice dish is. Don’t take it literally. It’s not just plain steamed rice. It’s a mix of many ingredients and with just one small bowl, it can fill you up because of the combination of the rice, the sauce, peas, the shrimp and pork (or beef). It’s so good that it’s one of the things I deeply miss about Cebu. 😀 If you’d like to try making at home, check out Mai’s Steamed Rice recipe.

Harbour City Dimsum House from Cebu

Anyway, going back to Cebu. There are 2 popular restaurants there where you can order Steamed Rice. One is Harbour City Dimsum House, which is my favorite spot. Here’s a REALLY OLD and LOUSY photo of our lunch there one weekend (taken back in 2008, I think, and I didn’t know better 😀 ):

Steamed Rice and dimsum from Harbour City - photos from 2008

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Cafe Jeepney : Buffet in Intercontinental Manila

Being a group-buying site frequent shopper, I actively check various deals sites to find out if they have anything new that I’d be interested to purchase. Since I haven’t bought anything from Deal Grocer yet since the 3rd quarter of last year, I decided to buy 2 half-priced vouchers for Cafe Jeepney’s banquet buffet that they were offering. I’ve done my research and I’ve read fellow food lovers enjoying their buffet spread, so I had some set expectations already.

Cafe Jeepney

This is a long overdue post. We dined here in December last year, but they’ve had their famous buffet for decades, so I don’t think there’ll be a lot of changes you can expect, except some of the dishes that were available during our visit might not be the same ones you’ll get when you dine in.

Cafe Jeepney is located inside the Intercontinental Manila in Makati, right beside Ascott Manila and across Glorietta 4. When you come in the front entrance, they’re on the right side. You’d see this:

Cafe Jeepney inside InterContinental Manila, Makati

As soon as you enter, you’d be welcomed by this cozy, well-lit dining area, with high walls and plenty of decors.

Miniature SARAO jeep inside Cafe Jeepney

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F Restaurant : A Flavorful Feast at BGC

It was the first day of December last year (sounded like a really long time ago eh?), we were headed to Bonifacio Global City in Taguig. It was a very familiar place to me since I used to work there at ePLDT Ventus so now, I always look forward to any opportunity that brings me to this same place where I spent two years working. This time though, the whole BGC is populated with more establishments everywhere you look and it’ll take some time before we can try all the restaurants here.

Best Western Premier F1 Hotel at The Fort, Taguig

The reason why we were at BGC : we were invited to dine at F Restaurant on the fifth floor of Best Western Premier F1 Hotel, the first hotel in the area and is located (strategically perhaps) in front of St. Luke’s Medical Center. Just by the sound of the name of the hotel where the resto is located, you’d know our expectations were set high. 🙂

As soon as we entered, we were welcomed with a very festive scene – beside two tall Christmas trees is this house made of candies, marshmallows, and other goodies. I began to understand Hansel and Gretel. 😉

House made up of candies, marshmallows and other goodies

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Golden Fortune in Victory Mall, Caloocan (Monumento)

Ever since my mother saw the fruits of my labor from blogging and became supportive (read: active), most especially here on Certified Foodies, whenever we go out, she NEVER wanted to eat anywhere we’ve already dined in before. So, when we went grocery-shopping a few weeks ago at Victory Mall, she convinced me to eat at Golden Fortune Restaurant.

I’ve been seeing this Chinese restaurant for like a hundred times over because I usually frequent Victory Mall when I buy inks for my printers. So, I was looking forward to trying their food, especially because I wanted to know how they compare to Wai Ying Fast Food Restaurant in Binondo.

Golden Fortune in Victory Mall, Caloocan City -

The ambiance inside Golden Fortune’s branch in Victory Mall is surprisingly warm considering they’re at a VERY crowded mini-mall at the heart of Monumento, one of the busiest places in the Metro. I guess it’s mainly because of the lighting. But, the waiting staff were also very accommodating. We didn’t have to wait long for our orders and the woman waiting on us seemed okay with our questions. She was all-smiles and was even checking if we needed anything. That’s awesome customer service, if you ask me. I forgot to get her name though. 🙁

Anyway, as soon as I saw the menu of Golden Fortune, I heard my tummy grumble. Aside from the dumplings and rolls one can order, their rice meals (Che Chai Rice) were also very tempting. There are a lot of food choices on their menu! And my first impression was they were all reasonably priced.

I wanted to try Golden Fortune’s Hongkong Lechon that they’ve been advertising on their walls. So, that’s what I ordered. I ordered the Hongkong Lechon Che Chai Rice for Php 88.00. You can order this with unlimited rice by just adding Php 8.00. But, since my mom was not ordering their rice meals and I’m trying to lessen my carbs intake, I didn’t avail of their unlimited rice promo. 😀

Golden Fortune Hongkong Lechon Che Chai Rice -

As you can see, for Php 88, the serving is big enough for someone with my appetite (I shared, promise!). 😀 I love the crispiness of the pork skin and the flavor of their lechon. I also liked that there wasn’t much fat on the lechon slices I got.

Golden Fortune Fried Rice, Php 198 -

We ordered Golden Fortune Fried Rice, Php 198.00. Honestly, it was a bit expensive for me since the serving wasn’t that much. Good thing it was good, with all the carrots, shrimps, green pepper, and cabbage adding more flavor to it. I expected it to be a little oily, but it wasn’t. So, I was still very satisfied with this order.

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Wai Ying Fast Food in Binondo, Manila

I am a big fan of Chinese food and I love dimsum A LOT. But, my desire to roam the streets of Binondo in Manila to taste the most authentic Chinese cooking/cuisines was heightened the night my mother brought home the best dimsum soup and siomai I’ve ever tasted.

I’ve asked a couple of my friends who are familiar with the Chinese restaurants in Binondo because my mom forgot the name of the restaurant. When my mom and I were at Divisoria last November, we decided to head over to Binondo and she’ll just try to remember where it was located.

After almost an hour of looking for the restaurant, the pedicab driver finally led us to Wai Ying Fast Food. As soon as my mother saw the front of this Chinese food joint, she immediately exclaimed we’re at the right place. Finally, I thought. I was already hungry. 😀

Wai Ying Restaurant in Chinatown in Binondo, Manila -

Wai Ying Fast Food is a two-storey restaurant at Buenavidez Street in Binondo, right across Manila Chinatown Hotel. Wai Ying has been around for over a decade and they are very popular in Chinatown. Front of Wai Ying Restaurant in Binondo -

At the very entrance, you’d see ducks and chickens being roasted by the window. They have a mini kitchen at the entrance so you can actually see them preparing food.

If you want a relaxing dining experience, you might not completely enjoy at Wai Ying’s. They’re just a small Chinese fast food restaurant. So, if you’re planning on bringing friends along with you, prepare to wait for tables or head on upstairs for more tables.

Anyway, as soon as we were handed the menu, it was funny to see my mother ordering away. 😛 So, we ended up with around seven (7) different dimsum dishes and other plates of Chinese food. 😀

First, we ordered 2 cold Lemon Tea (Php 50). It was really refreshing, especially after what we went through looking for Wai Ying all over Binondo (sorry, I can’t get over it :D). The lemon slices and the genuine taste of tea made it one of my fave iced lemon teas.

Wai Ying's Lemon Tea - Php 50 -

Oh, by the way, while I was taking photos of the menu, the guy who was waiting on our table approached me and gave me a copy of their menu. Nice, eh? They’ve got very accommodating staff, even during that very busy lunch hour.

Front of Wai Ying's menu -

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