Battle of the Mongolian Buffets

For this post, I’ll be comparing the Veniz Grill Mongolian Buffet and the much hyped and very popular with Baguio Visitors. O Mai Khan.

O Mai Khan pics are not mine but the out of focus camera phone pictures of Veniz Grill’s are (cept for the Veniz grill entrance).

Here goes:

Price:

O Mai Khan : about 200 ( I have to check on this)

Veniz: Single Bowl : 119

Eat-all-you-can: 159

Unlimited (with Refillable Iced Tea): 189

Executive: (Unlimited + Dessert) : 219

In Veniz Grill, I went for the unlimited with refillable iced tea flavored drink, sugar water  iced tea. A 30 pesos difference from Eat-all-you-can is all worth it.

The O Mai Khan price just covers the unlimited returns for a bowl of Mongolian buffet.

Winner for this Round: Veniz Grill

Location:

O’ Mai Khan is now in Upper Session Road along Narda’s. They’ve got a pretty spacious parking lot but always be ready to move your car when another vehicle has to leave. I like how Baguio restaurants are getting away from the Central Business District. This one’s still at the CBD but away from the usual maddening crowd and definitely better looking than their Old Otek Street Location.

(pic not mine)

Veniz Grill is at the Big Sunshine Building/Hotel Veniz Building along Abanao Street. Go to the Grill, not the cafe. The Grill is upstairs. You have to snake your way thru the peeps eating at Betty’s kitchen to get to the Grill. Poorly planned floor design. Or was I going the wrong way? The other door near the escalators had a sign that told me to go to the “other” door. Was there a third door that I missed? Oh well. Parking? Not sure if you can use the Veniz Hotel parking tho.

picture not mine

Winner for this Round: O’ Mai Khan

The Buffet:

This is where things start to get serious. I really don’t get what the O’ Mai Khan Mongolian Buffet hype is about. I have considered my being from Baguio as a factor. We get our highland veggies fresh. Spinach is not nothing new for us. We know our leaves, we know our greens, we know our veggies. So when I finally saw the O’ Mai Khan buffet for the first time (yes I’ve been a Baguio resident most of my life), I was like, “They’re gaga over this? Like seriously?”

I was unimpressed. All this hype for a bunch of veggies in a bowl. Haha. That’s oversimplified, I know. But coming from a person who knows her gulay and how much they cost in the market, I was simply not moved.

The O’ Mai Khan Buffet starts with rice. And then someone would help you with the meats. I remember chicken, pork, meat, liver were the choices. The attendant would ration you a small portion of your preferred meat. I didn’t try to ask for more but I also never got to hold the tong. I felt so unempowered in this buffet. :).

Here’s what you can find on the OMK buffet line. Picture’s not mine.

not my picture

pic not mine

On the other corner, Veniz Grill buffet line starts with the meats — chicken, pork, beef, liver AND meat additives too  — sliced squid balls and sliced chicken balls. The balls were a good addition! Here’s another thing they had that OMK didn’t — noodles!!! VG had Vermicelli, Bihon, Canton and Miki as noodle choices. Whereas OMK only had rice. VG had rice too at the end of the buffet table.

Here’s VG’s buffet table.

Both had pretty much the same veg line up. Their carrots were just as dry, sprouts just as brownish. :-). Their greens were fresh and crunchy though. VG had bigger bowls to contain the greens. I think that matters too.

Now for the sauces:

OMK didn’t have a cheat sheet and I didn’t want to pour everything into my bowl so I ended up with weird tasting combinations on all my 3 tries. VG had a cheat sheet, which I followed to the letter and it gave me amazing results. I like how they had — rice wine and red wine to their line up. The taste in the finished product was subtle but it mattered. Getting the sauce combination for a Mongolian buffet , I think is the most important part of making your own meal. Guesswork usually doesn’t do it. I saw a customer asking the OMK attendant to mix it for him, which she did. I guess I could’ve done that too. But I just realized too late.

Here are the VG combos. I tried the Veniz Grill mix — it’s a little on the sweet side but I love the touch of red wine and the peanuts and the subtle sesame oil flavor to it. Then I tried Chinese — mine’s a little spicy but still love it. Then lastly, I had the American combo. This I liked the least, I think I put in too much Oyster sauce or too much sauce, little ingredients.

Clearly for this round, it’s VG. They had noodles, they had a cheat sheet, when no attendant was in sight, I put my own meat but even when someone helped me out, they didn’t scrimp.

Other Stuff:

OMK had a really nice and clean bathroom. VG’s was nice too but they only had one water closet.

I love the view at VG. It overlooks Burnham Park. If they had an open veranda dining, that’ll be the bomb!

Wi-fi: VG had wifi which I had trouble connecting to. My phone didn’t detect OMK wi-fi.

Dessert: VG has a wide selection of desserts. They even had the cake all you can promo. I was too full to try.

Ambience: OMK makes you feel like you’re in a Spanish resto. Wooden chairs and wide spaces. VG makes me feel like I’m in McDo Session, which isn’t a good thing. It seemed dark and unhappy in there.

pic not mine

All in all, I feel I’m getting more value from my money at Veniz Grill. I just feel OMK’s buffet was overrated and overhyped. My expectations were sky high whereas with Veniz, I really had no expectations but was well pleased with what I got.

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6 thoughts on “Battle of the Mongolian Buffets

  1. hi.. if you love mongolian buffets..you have to try one at prince plaza hotel on legarda road, they have hot pot too if you want to cook your own recipe.depending on your budget (around 245)and tastebuds, it’s comparable to omk and vg too. must try their home-grown bread, it’s a bit greasy but when freshly made, goes well and best with butter and condensed milk(yummy!) walk a little further to baguio palace hotel and try mr.ching’s restaurant. had the best and huge serving of lomi there too(good for cold or stormy weather up here). anyway..i find your foodie blog very informative..a must try experience. so..see you around.. =)

    • oooooh yeah, I’ve been to that buffet a couple of years ago. Will come back for sure. Thanks for the tip! And thanks too for visiting eatsinbaguio! Happy eating, Anne!

  2. I was disappointed by OMK’s mongolian buffet. I dont know why its such a hype. No noodles, no squid balls, the teriyaki and oyster sauce looks like its watered down. Mushy na rice mo, wala pa rin lasa. Right walang guide kung anong ok na halo. In my opinion it was terrible. Di na ko babalik dun and i wont even recommend it

    • Haha. As I always say, different strokes for different folks. I especially love the noodle selection and the fish ball/ chicken ball/ squid ball add-ons at Veniz. But I think what people love about OMK’s buffet is the freshness of the greens, which is something you don’t see a lot of when you’re in Manila.
      Thanks Glenn, for dropping by and telling us about your buffet experience!

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