Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food

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Poopy
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food 2005/11/09 12:19:33 (permalink)
I thought the Chinese buffet was only popular in Wichita, but I guess I was wrong. People here do love a buffet of flavorless, textureless food. I can barely even think of one or two sit down Chinese restaurants and even those aren't very good. I find it best to go to the Asian markets and buy fresh vegetables, dried mushrooms, sauces, etc to make my own.
#31
V960
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food 2005/11/10 11:49:39 (permalink)
Not sure how helpful this will be but Lotus Restaurant in Morresville, North Carolina (exit 36 off I-77) is great and NO buffet. about a mile off the slab towards town on the left after you go under Hwy 29. Great...not sure how long they will survive not having a buffet but they are great now.
#32
snoopy123
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food 2005/11/26 18:50:23 (permalink)
I have always loved Chinese Buffet. Chinese buffets are plentiful here in Houston. A handful are really decent and priced just right.
#33
BT
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food 2005/11/27 02:37:45 (permalink)
quote:
Originally posted by wanderingjew

I have now decided that when I travel, I will not eats Chinese anywhere else perhaps with the exception of San Francisco.


Well, if you decide to try Chinese in SF, be aware that since the city has a majority Asian population, Chinese restaurants there are like standard American restaurants elsewhere--there are good ones and there are some pretty darned bad ones. I suggest that your chances of hitting a good one randomly are best in the predominantly Chinese neighborhoods like Chinatown, but also the Richmond District (outer Balboa St. and inner Clement St.) where there are a number of good ones. If you wait until Sunday around lunch time, just follow the crowds of Asian diners.

As to Chinese buffets (as opposed to Indian/Pakistani buffets which are common), they are quite rare in San Francisco but their cousin, the Chinese take-out joint (not a sit-down place that offers take out, but a place that offers a variety of take-out foods only, kept warm in a steam table) is pretty common. The best known example of this is the national chain, Panda Express, but in SF there are quite a few independent ones and I am not above patronizing them for a quick, easy supper.
#34
V960
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food 2005/11/27 09:02:39 (permalink)
Our problem on the east coast is the proliferation of buffets and the disapearance order by menu Chinese places. I want to go in and order five entrees, six apps and three soups for ten people...can't be done anymore. Ahhh...I'm getting old.
#35
MilwFoodlovers
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food 2005/11/27 10:29:57 (permalink)
I love cold Chinese leftovers for breakfast and we have just an outstanding local Chinese restaurant, Fortune, so that has kept me out of the buffet places.
When my father was alive, he loved his shrimp, my mom could chose low fat offerings, my son could pig out on meat because his girlfriend, who was a vegetarian, could avoid it, I could have my wasabi dipped sushi rolls and my wife could enjoy her potstickers. My father has passed, my mom lives 90 miles away, and my son, his girl friend, my wife and I have either Thai or Indian made to order dishes at restaurants. Still we did have some good times if not always great Chinese foods at those buffets.
They serve a need and still are better than frozen dishes from the grocery store I guess.
#36
Scorereader
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food 2005/11/28 14:52:32 (permalink)
Some of the take out places in DC serve pretty decent chinese food.
They also serve a bunch of other stuff, like fried chicken, hamburgers, fried seafood, chicken wings and the like.

The Asian owners still know how to cook decent Chinese. So, I have been pleasantly surprised by two places, one is on 15th St. SE, and is located in a well known drive by shooting spot. But it IS on Capitol Hill and the neighborhood is improving. Thankfully, when I was there, an on-duty uniformed officer was also getting food for him and his partner in the cruiser. The other is on Benning Rd NE between 24th and 25th Street.
Again, the neighborhood is in transition, but even the soup is tasty. You can see the cook use the wok through the bullet proof plexiglass.

But, for the best Chinese take-out in DC, Mr. Chen's Organic Chinese located in Woodley Park on Calvert St. tops even some well known local sit down establishments like Yenching Palace.

However, when visiting our little political center, you really need to go to one buffet...Tony Cheng's Mongolian BBQ.
It's not your typical Chinese Buffet. Though it is all-you-can-eat, I have yet to disappoint a visitor by this recommendation.


#37
V960
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food 2005/12/05 14:18:16 (permalink)
The buffts in NC, TN and SC tend to be feeding troughs for construction workers at lunch and unbelievablely obese folks at dinner. Just my experiences from being a traveling peddler.
#38
HollyDolly
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food 2006/01/19 10:58:37 (permalink)
Yeah,here in the San Antonio area there are springing up a lot of chinese buffets.There's China orchid in the olympia Forum Shopping Center,China harbour on Walzam Rd. and China Seas on Thousand Oaks which are pretty good.there are some good chinese restaraunts like Beijing on N.W.Military Drive,and Golden Wok on Gardendale and Wuzbach,which is as far as I know,the only place in town that does dimsum on Saturday and Sunday.Tried it a while back and it was excellent.
Yeah,Americans keep getting fatter and loosing all sense of taste of what good food of any kind can be.just call it the McDonald's Syndrome.
#39
berndog
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food 2006/01/19 13:53:00 (permalink)
Scorereader, thanks for the tip about Mr. Chen's Organic Chinese. I saw it as I moved my son into DC for his spring semester last weekend and it is right around the corner from his apartment. I thought the name was a little corny with the "organic" part, but it sounds great and he'll be doing a lot of take-out.

We had dinner Friday evening at City Lights on Connecticut Ave and it was very good. We both love hot and sour soup, but I got to finish his as it was just too hot for him. First time I've ever seen that happen from that "chip off the old block". We both have asbestos stomachs when it comes to hot and spicy.
#40
1956MarkII
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food 2006/01/31 20:09:08 (permalink)
berndog-

I'm in Rochester, too. Which buffets do you frequent? Haven't been to any local ones in awhile, but I've always enjoyed the one across from Southtown.

For those of you in the Tampa, FL, area, I ate last week at Kwanda Asian Bistro on 19. OUTSTANDING!! Lunch was just $6.99/ person, and their sushi was among the best I've ever tasted. The entire buffet was top-notch, I highly recommend it.
#41
MandalayVA
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food 2006/02/01 01:08:32 (permalink)
quote:
Originally posted by Scorereader

However, when visiting our little political center, you really need to go to one buffet...Tony Cheng's Mongolian BBQ.
It's not your typical Chinese Buffet. Though it is all-you-can-eat, I have yet to disappoint a visitor by this recommendation.


I normally avoid Chinese food (psychological fallout from a vicious case of food poisoning I suffered as a child after my first visit to a Chinese place) but I do like Mongolian BBQ's. A friend who works in DC took me to Tony Cheng's and it rocked hardcore. There's a little place not far from me in Midlothian called Genghis Khan that's pretty good too--one of the few I've been to that offer lamb; everywhere else it seems to be beef, chicken, pork and shrimp. If forced to go to a buffet (and it's happened) I usually eat chicken wings and rice. And nine times out of ten that sucks too.
#42
Ashphalt
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food 2006/02/01 14:21:34 (permalink)
Chinese buffets have not taken over yet in the greater Boston area. There are some, especially in the burbs, and still a couple of menu places that offer a (good!) lunch bufffet.

We've tried Chinese buffets and been very disappointed (and sick from the grease). Old Country tastes and feels better. If we have 3 or more people we find we end up spending LESS at a menu restuarant, get much better food, and no matter how many at the table we always have leftovers for a couple of lunches.
#43
jkml
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food 2006/02/21 14:39:52 (permalink)
We have not yet found a really good Chinese place where we have moved in Yardley, PA. There is one place that serves decent, not great, Thai, but their Chinese is not wonderful. Have not seen a buffet here that is ok, except to eat the Mongolian Grill. Came from Chicago, where you can find some decent and even pretty good places. Will be going up to Long Island, so if Stevekoe has suggestions, let me know.
#44
berndog
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food 2006/02/21 15:42:46 (permalink)
quote:
Originally posted by 1956MarkII

berndog-

I'm in Rochester, too. Which buffets do you frequent? Haven't been to any local ones in awhile, but I've always enjoyed the one across from Southtown.


MarkII, I can't remember the names, but we usually go to the one in Greece on West Ridge Rd, in Lowes Plaza. It's at the west side of the plaza between AAA and the health club. I've also eaten at the one across from Southtown, and we sometimes go to the one at Greece Ridge Mall next to Barnes and Noble.

The chinese food at all of them is passable, but not great. We enjoy the sushi and the crab legs the most, or have something cooked at the Mongolian BBQ..

When we want really good Chinese, we go to a menu place, like The Wokery off Buffalo Rd., or the one (I forget the name)on W. Ridge in Elm Ridge plaza between Sam's Club and Walmart. When I lived in Henrietta, we used to eat frequently at the Shanghai on W. Henrietta Rd, and their food was always excellent.
#45
improviser
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food 2006/12/04 13:23:34 (permalink)
The New China buffet in Clemson isn't bad. I tend to gorge on mushrooms when I'm there.

I understand the pizza, cheese sticks, french fries, etc., that seem to be popping up on buffets more and more these days. Little kids are picky eaters; gotta have something they'll be sure to eat.

Last night, at New China, there was something on the dessert bar that stopped me in my tracks. I tend not to get dessert at buffets since it's never very good. But I saw this out of the corner of my eye and had to venture for a closer look.

It was a pumpkin pie. At a Chinese buffet. I know I'm in the South but that's ridiculous. I suspect someone gave the owner's the pie and they didn't like it themselves, so put it on the bar.
#46
buffetbuster
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food 2006/12/04 13:43:00 (permalink)
I used to love Chinese food and would get it at least once a week. Then I started dating a Beijing born Chinese woman who would take me to authentic Chinese restaurants. After eating the good stuff, it can be difficult to go back to the Americanized Chinese again. I typically only get Chinese anymore if I am in a city like New York, San Francisco, Toronto, etc.
#47
PapaJoe8
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food 2006/12/04 14:20:45 (permalink)
My trick for the buffets is to use the side sauces they offer to spice things up. I get some small bowls of every sauce, and then mix and match the sauces with the food. Kinda bland otherwise, but I live on the spicy side.
Joe
#48
Scorereader
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food 2006/12/04 17:09:12 (permalink)
Boy, after reading some of the old posts, I realized how much I miss Berndog.
I wonder if his son is still going to school here in DC.
#49
Sonny Funzio
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food 2006/12/04 23:22:29 (permalink)
A decent Chinese buffet is definitely a very guilty pleasure of mine.

But when I hung around with many chinese friends years ago (in Ann Arbor) I got into the habit of ordering the things that many chinese restaurants take particular pride and pleasure in making well when serving other chinese ... dumplings, noodle dishes, bean curd dishes, and spring rolls.
#50
fabulousoyster
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food 2006/12/05 08:36:46 (permalink)
I've seen menus offering "some hard to find classics." Chow mein, Chop Suey, Sweet and Sour Pork.
I still order these.
But most of the time I order Singapore Mai Fun. Everything in angel hair pasta curried, spicy, delicious.
#51
hep2thejive
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food 2006/12/05 08:51:48 (permalink)
I had some greatChinese food (dim sum) with my father this weekend at Hollywood East in Wheaton, MD.

We had Spareribs in black bean sauce, rice crepe with shrimp, and lots of steamed dumplings. I don't think they had steamed chicken feet - at least I didn't seem them. That might be a different style...I was actually hoping to get some.

The bulk of the restaurants are serving things like General Tso's, Crab Rangoon and dishes made from that brown sauce that comes in giant cans.

Barry
#52
Jennie
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food 2006/12/11 15:20:38 (permalink)
That brown sauce can be pretty tasty, mind. I'm sure it is, therefore, incredibly bad for you. Good thing I don't get restaurant Chinese terribly often any more.

My small children love Crab Rangoons.
#53
V960
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food 2006/12/18 16:48:07 (permalink)
We now only get take out.
#54
callmebruce
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food 2007/01/15 21:40:49 (permalink)
Buffet food? No!!!!! (erm, maybe).

We moved to Marietta about 10 years ago, and gave up on Chinese food (and pizza as well). Couldn't find anything good. A place moved in nearby about a year ago, and we tried them. I really liked it! I'm no critic, but it tasted good to me.

I spoke with the owner today. He works 7 days a week, from 10:30AM until closing at 9:30PM most nights, 10:00PM weekends. A long day! He asked how we liked it, and I told him I thought it was great. He said he uses a lot less oil than most traditional places - and was weighing going to a more traditional style to get more customers, or sticking with a lighter fare.

They don't do desserts, but we talked a little bit about it. He asked me to drop by tomorrow at 9:00AM. I'm looking forward to it. They are a take-out place. They have two tables - but are geared for take-out. (no delivery)

I have to give admiration for someone running his own business and putting in the time it takes to do it right. I can't imagine doing what I do for a living 7 days a week, 12 hours a day.
#55
PepperPhil
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food 2007/02/07 13:30:28 (permalink)
Our Chinese buffet still has an order menu.... I think most do, don't they ?
Or at least I think they do
#56
doggydaddy
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food 2007/02/07 13:56:51 (permalink)
I am worried for the only good sit down Chinese restaurant in town. I think that they cannot compete with the two giant buffets within a half mile of his place. There are other places that I call 'point and order'. That is, they all have the same pictures above the counter and the menu seems exactly like the next place.

This place serves Chinese, Japanese/hibachi and sushi. They have a couple of pages worth of sushi items. I think that the fact this place serves sushi puts some of the locals off. I went there the other day.
They used to serve won tons with a duk sauce, but they were missing. No duck on a early weekend night. The sushi plates would come out with these incredible garnishes made out of carrots. At the end of the meal you would get half an orange that is cut into small cool sections. And there wasn't any fortune cookie!!!!

mark
#57
rhrd
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food 2007/02/07 14:36:33 (permalink)
We have a lot of poor Chinese (and Chinese/Italian/American) buffets in NJ. Am looking to go to one this weekend, have been on a buffet kick (low carb influences that). Some of the best Chinese food I've had in years was from a little place in a south Jersey strip mall. It was funny that my completely uninitiated to foreign cuisine mother in law found it, then was too afraid to try the lichees the restaurant was kind of enough to give us for dessert, on a beautiful platter with a carved bird about a foot high!

I would LOVE to find good buffets in our area (between NYC and Philly, above Trenton). Just tried a Mongolian "barbecue" (round grill) a few weeks ago, and loved the food and the way you can select exactly what you want. A kick to watch the kids fill up the bowl with pineapples and very little meat!

There is a great Chinese buffet in Lodi I believe, where they've got like 200 things and everything is always hot and fresh, like at a fancy buffet where they change the trays when they get half empty.

I suppose we are lucky in this area, my friend who just moved to Ohio can't find an Asian grocery store or a Chinese restaurant with "real" food.
#58
CajunKing
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food 2007/02/07 17:07:34 (permalink)
We have 3 chinese buffets, 1 decently good, 1 ok, 1

The sits right on the banks of a small creek, when the health inspector inspected the place this fall. They had left the back door open and a opossum got into the store room.

There is a really good Chinese sit down style restaurant up in western hills, I wish I could remember the place. The food has always been top notch, and service with a smile.
#59
Greymo
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food 2007/02/07 17:34:20 (permalink)
It is my belief that the demise of good Chinese food came about with the proliferation of all the Chinese buffets. Unfortunately, it seems that many people prefer quantity to quality.
#60
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