Homestyle buffet at Carmen's

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Friday, February 21, 2014


A BUFFET is a system of serving meals in which food is placed in a public area where the diners generally serve themselves. Buffets are offered at various places including hotels and many social events.

Actually, the buffet table originated during the middle of the 16th century. This custom had its prime during the early 18th century, and was developed into the more modern buffet around the beginning of 19th century.

In the Philippines, buffet eateries have been sprouting like mushrooms. After all, Filipinos love to eat.  While in the United States, it is called "All You Can Eat," it's the opposite in the Philippines where it is known as "Eat All You Can."

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We have ventured eating in various buffet places in Davao City. We considered one as a favorite place (going there every now and then) - until another one comes around. But they have one thing in common: foods, foods, and more foods.

But there's a new buffet place in town and it is serving different kind of foods as they are cooked just like you are at your home. "We draw our main inspirations from our family, our love for eating and from our home sweet home," the owner says.

The name of the newest buffet place in town located on E. Quirino Street is aptly Carmen's Homestyle Buffet. It is named after the grandmother of the owner.

"We have been serving home-cooked meals in family events and gatherings," the owner says. "We thought of bringing our simple house recipes to the public by opening what we call as karinderya buffet.'"

Customers are assured that Carmen's is using fresh ingredients for the foods it is serving. More importantly, they are prepared in hygienic manner. Plus, all the dishes are cooked homestyle.

What made them to come up with such idea? "We have observed that Filipinos loved variety in their meals," the owner says. "When ordering in a karinderya, the soup-viand-dessert serving was a commonplace."

Hence, Carmen's was recently opened and it offers home-style dishes (Filipino lutong bahay) in a buffet setting. And the price is not too pricey. For a pocket friendly price of P129, you can eat to your heart's content either lunch or dinner. High school and college students have a discount of only P109 (as long as they can show school identification cards).

For that sum, diners can enjoy a variety of dishes including a soup, appetizers, desserts, and Pinoy viands.

During our recent visit, we tried pinakbet, adobong chicken, sweet and sour pork, beef calderetta, and pansit. We ate also a lot of lato and the sweet desserts and fruits.

Aside from the cheap price, Carmen's also offers a warm, home-style ambiance. Diners can sit on its authentic iron wood furniture (iron wood is touted as the "hardest wood in the world"). 

But the most breathtaking is the multi-colored "circles on the ceiling" designed by formidable and young architectural and engineering team.  
Actually, it is inspired by the colorful Pinoy fiesta buntings.
Carmen's also merienda buffet at P79 per person.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on February 21, 2014.

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