The Philippines really is a ‘bucket list’ destination for many people and Shangri La Mactan Resort and Spa is ideally located in Cebu which has been one of the most widely visited tourist destinations in the country for many years. During the last 25 years this internationally acclaimed resort has kept visitors coming back for more, and with recent refurbishments and additions it looks set to continue this trend for many years to come.
The 530 luxuriously appointed rooms and suites provide guests with spectacular views of the resort, the tranquil ocean and the distant islands; rooms and suites include those situated in the unique and exclusive Ocean Wing offering extra levels of privacy and luxury for those that desire it.
Set amidst lush tropical landscape stretching over 13 hectares and boasting a 350m private, white sand beach reaching down to the crystal clear ocean it’s the perfect place to relax and unwind.
Offering a myriad of facilities including multiple dining options, various swimming pools, a par 3 golf course and the award winning CHI, The Spa at Shangri-La, guests will be spoiled for choice when deciding how to spend their time.
The Vegan Food:
We enjoyed breakfast at the all day dining restaurant, Tides and also the more intimate and exclusive, Acqua; both offered a buffet with multiple options that were suitable for vegans and both also offered to prepare extra dishes that were adapted for us.
The staff in each location were super friendly and helpful in going out of their way to make sure we enjoyed the full breakfast experience; we sampled dishes including vegan vegetable pancakes prepared by the Korean chef at Tides, a variety of stir fried vegetables, tofu and noodles at each outlet and the most delicious local style breakfast dishes at Acqua.
Vegan options for dinner:
There are two really good options for dinner at Shangri La Mactan Resort and Spa and of all the various dining outlets in the resort, Acqua and Tea of Spring offered the best choices for us as vegans.
Our dinner at Acqua was nothing short of a wonderful adventure in food; it was a perfect combination of deliciousness and imagination.
We began with ‘Ajo Blanco and Tomato Tartare’ which made us want to go away and learn how to make this traditional Spanish soup so we could attempt to recreate this dish at home. There were so many layers of flavour and texture; sweetness from the onion confit, juicy tomatoes, freshness from the mint leaves and the creamy, smooth, irresistible thick ajo blanco soup with a subtle hint of vinegar.
A truly impressive dish.
Next the ‘Risotto Asparagi e Arancia’ took a classic Italian risotto, richly flavoured with olive oil, and added a twist of candied orange to give an intense sweet and aromatic citrus hit with every mouthful of warm, perfectly cooked rice.
Comforting, moreish, totally delicious.
The main course ‘Parmigiana di Verdure e Tofu’ managed to replicate all the sensations of the non-vegan version of this dish by using tofu. It was intensely tomatoey and flavourful with a crunchy vegetable caponata filling, exquisite with decadent oil rich eggplant slices and had the added bonus of the texture of firm spongy (almost chewy) tofu pieces inside.
A true masterpiece.
Dessert came in the shape of ‘Bavarese Cocco and Calamansi e Coulis ai Frutti Rosso’ which was a light, smooth set coconut cream combined with zesty flavours from the calamansi. A wild forrest berry coulis topping added a wonderfully tart fruitiness. It was a delight to eat and the perfect end to a meal which we’re sure will be on our favourites list by the end of the year.
Tea of Spring, the Shangri La’s Cantonese restaurant, also offered plenty of options for vegans to choose from. The ‘Salt and Pepper Baguio Eggplant and Japanese Tofu’ is a particularly good dim sum choice. When it arrived, we realised that it was actually a small mountain of sweet smelling fried treats; when we tasted it the combination of the the saltiness on the outside of the batter and the soft eggplant or creamy tofu was irresistible.
The ‘Wok-fried Mixed Deluxe Vegetables in a Crispy Yam Basket’ was another dish which ticked the box for being a ‘naughty but nice’ treat. Served with a vegetable fried rice and a smokey spicy chilli sauce, it was a truly filling and hearty dish, packed with a variety of vegetables.
Dessert fiends should try the ‘Chilled Mango Puree with Pomelo and Sago’ which consisted of a firm set creamy sago pudding, drenched in a pleasingly potent almond essence and topped with sweet fruity mango and juicy tart pomelo.
The Vegan Essentials:
Our room was prepared with non feather pillows prior to our arrival which is always appreciated. We were also treated to a fresh fruit platter and some delicious vegan chocolates too.
The Shangri La amenities are not suitable for vegans, so we would recommend packing your own soap and shampoo etc.
There were a range of vegan friendly massages in CHI, The Spa; vegans should check which products are to be used with other treatments.
The Vegan Food Quest Verdict:
Check-in to the Shangri La Mactan Resort for a beach resort holiday where vegans are well looked after. Don’t forget to take advantage of the excellent and helpful service by telling the staff you are vegan so they can do their best to help you navigate the extensive breakfast buffet.
For the chance to have an outstanding vegan meal, book a table at Acqua and let Chef Andreas Burzio and his team delight you.
We were guests of Shangri La Mactan Resort and Spa but please rest assured that their generosity in hosting us didn’t influence our views.
Shangri La Mactan Resort and Spa
Punta Engano Road,
Telephone: +63 32 231 0288
Cost From: From £350 / $420 per night (Jan 2017)