Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food

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Sundancer7
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food 2007/02/07 17:51:16 (permalink)
quote:
Originally posted by Greymo

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.


The folks may temporarily prefer quanity for quality but they will not for long. I saw the same thing in Knoxville. Chinese buffets were every where but they began falling just as fast.

Quality always wins in the long run. Maybe not the short run.

Paul E. Smith
Knoxville, TN
#61
Scarlett
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food 2007/02/07 18:06:12 (permalink)
I grew up where Chinese food was from a can!

Later, as the restaurants started moving I really didn't know what I wanted to order... I was glad when they started offering (by choice only) the buffet. I would take a tiny bit of several dishes on my plate to taste and then determine if I wanted to return to the buffet for more of a certain item. I found loves and not-loves... I also found that soy sauce is NOT my friend...
The "American" items, pizza, etc. really does not bother me either. My friend's son really enjoyed his time there too.

Geezzzz - could it be?? am I becoming too tolerant???
#62
Twinwillow
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food 2007/02/07 18:18:31 (permalink)
Although the proliferation of "Chinese" buffets is very evident here in Dallas,
thankfully, due to a very large Chinese population, we have some really great
authentic Chinese restaurants in Dallas. Dim Sum, Hong Kong style and Chinese BBQ with the beautiful mahogany skinned roast ducks hanging in the front window to huge Asian markets selling very fresh fish-still swimming in their tanks, the Dallas, Texas area is well covered.
The best Chinese in Dallas? In my opinion, "First Chinese BBQ".
They have 4 locations in the Dallas area and one in Austin.
The ratio of Asian to Caucasion in these restaurants is about 85% Asian.
That should tell you something!
#63
Donna Douglass
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food 2007/02/07 18:44:33 (permalink)
Columbus, Ohio, has some truly good Chinese restaurants, three of which come readily to mind: Joey Chang's, Hunan House and Hunan Lion, all three of which are owned and/or operated by members of one family. They are white tablecloth type places, fabulous food, fine ambience and service. I'm sure there are others but these three we've experienced personally.

There is a huge Asian Buffet restaurant out on West Broad Street at Galloway, OHio, which offers an enormous number of different dishes, not only Oriental but includes such things as fried chicken, ham, salads, and desserts. It is very clean and very popular but in my opinion, nothing spectacular as far as quality is concerned. Very friendly folks nevertheless and not too expensive. One thing that draws me back from time to time is that on Friday evening they have steamed crab legs, and for the cost of the buffet for dinner (I think it is about $10+), it is great to have all the crab legs you want. But we don't go often. I really prefer to order from a menu and have it delivered to the table.

But we do love Chinese food.

Donna
#64
Greyghost
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food 2007/02/07 20:05:37 (permalink)
In Albany, NY we have plenty of the buffet type restaurants, but are blessed with a few truly good Chinese restaurants as well. The Dumpling House comes to mind for one. Asian cuisine in general is fairly good here.

Great Japanese and Indian restaurants also dot the landscape.

Personally, I would not bother with the buffet type restaurant of any sort whether Western or Asian. If you have a lick of sense, you know what you are going to get.
#65
wanderingjew
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food 2007/02/07 20:29:45 (permalink)
Although I don't think much of Chinese Buffets, or of Chinese food outside of the NYC Metro area for that matter, the best Chinese Buffet ever was at the now defunct Long Island Seafood Dumpling House in Merrick NY. Gone for over a decade, this restaurant offered good quality Chinese cuisine in a buffet setting, I don't recall the prices but actually they were quite steep for the time (probably at least $15 per person)

Here is a review I found in the NY Times from 1988!

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=940DE2D81730F933A15750C0A96E948260
#66
V960
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food 2007/02/08 09:15:56 (permalink)
Charlotte has had a new buffet entry that is a bit high priced but very good. I was surprised at the quality. Many selections and a OUTSTANDING sushi assortment. A cook to order area, sushi bar, steam table area and salad bar. Ten bucks for lunch and double that for dinner. Real original name...China Buffet...near Eastland Mall on the North side of town, keep your hand on your wallet if you go to the mall.
#67
ScreenBear
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food 2007/02/08 23:22:34 (permalink)
I bemoan the loss a couple years ago of Canton Tea Garden, Jersey City, N.J., an art deco expanse on the second floor, harkening back to the 1930s when it was founded. A couple of movies were filmed there, including, "To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar."

The chow mein was the old-fashioned, dark kind, as was the fried rice. The ribs were consistently super.

I've found other Chinese restaurants in N.J. either mediocre, gimmicky, or falsely advertised as gourmet, whatever that means. While I have a decent enough take out place, I'm hard-put to replace Canton as my sit-down joint.
The Bear
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jerzeydawg
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food 2007/07/09 15:30:05 (permalink)
quote:
Originally posted by ScreenBear

I bemoan the loss a couple years ago of Canton Tea Garden, Jersey City, N.J., an art deco expanse on the second floor, harkening back to the 1930s when it was founded. A couple of movies were filmed there, including, "To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar."

The chow mein was the old-fashioned, dark kind, as was the fried rice. The ribs were consistently super.

I've found other Chinese restaurants in N.J. either mediocre, gimmicky, or falsely advertised as gourmet, whatever that means. While I have a decent enough take out place, I'm hard-put to replace Canton as my sit-down joint.
The Bear


The Canton was definitly a piece of Chinese hostory in Jersey City. Those of us whom were fortunate enough to have eaten there are lucky to say that we have experienced it.

P.S. Do you remember in the mens room they had a cologne dispenser where you would insert a dime and you got a spray of cologne of your choice? I believe that there were four different selections, Canoe, Brut 33, Old Spice, & maybe English Leather.
#69
Sonny Funzio
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food 2007/07/10 12:47:00 (permalink)
quote:
Originally posted by jerzeydawg

Originally posted by ScreenBear
P.S. Do you remember in the mens room they had a cologne dispenser where you would insert a dime and you got a spray of cologne of your choice? I believe that there were four different selections, Canoe, Brut 33, Old Spice, & maybe English Leather.


I really like those old touches.
Up until a couple years ago, there was a restaurant near me that in the men's room had a mouthwash dispenser and one of those rotary shoe shine machines. They also used an old fashioned way to keep the restroom smelling fresh ... they kept the urinals full of ice ... only thing missing were old fashioned toilets with the commode tank up on the wall that you pull the chain to flush.
Seems there are few such places left.

#70
ynotryme
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food 2007/07/10 16:45:03 (permalink)
The only times I eat off the buffet line is when they have raw oysters and/or crab legs. other than that, I order off the menu.
#71
dannybotz
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food 2007/07/10 16:51:48 (permalink)
Ive eaten "ALOT" of chinese food over the years and for me one of the best ever was "peking Pavilion in freehold N.J.. Unfortunately it burned down last year but it is in the process of getting completely renovated.!! Its on rte 33w just west of the freehold circle. The food is awesome!! a bit pricier than you would expect but for me worth every penny.!! in a class by itself for chinese!!
#72
ynotryme
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food 2007/07/10 16:58:46 (permalink)
btw, my favorite chinese restaurant is the Mayflower in Rome N.Y.. fried wonton (balls of pork and ?, wrapped in wonton skins, deep fried) chicken or beef in a spicy hot garlic sauce. steamed or fried rice with pork comes standard with your order.
#73
dannybotz
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food 2007/07/10 17:07:44 (permalink)
BTW, i recentely ate at "Hunan Taste" on bloomfeild ave in Denville NJ a couple of weeks ago and it was really good. The place is neat , kind of like an old temple and very nice inside as well.About 10 fish tanks seperate the dining rooms and you can look right through to the other side. I ordered the subgum wonton and it was on the money. heres the link
[url]www.hunantaste.com[/url]
#74
jerzeydawg
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food 2007/07/10 18:51:48 (permalink)
quote:
Originally posted by Sonny Funzio

quote:
Originally posted by jerzeydawg

Originally posted by ScreenBear
P.S. Do you remember in the mens room they had a cologne dispenser where you would insert a dime and you got a spray of cologne of your choice? I believe that there were four different selections, Canoe, Brut 33, Old Spice, & maybe English Leather.


I really like those old touches.
Up until a couple years ago, there was a restaurant near me that in the men's room had a mouthwash dispenser and one of those rotary shoe shine machines. They also used an old fashioned way to keep the restroom smelling fresh ... they kept the urinals full of ice ... only thing missing were old fashioned toilets with the commode tank up on the wall that you pull the chain to flush.
Seems there are few such places left.




Yes, Its little things like that in which really make you appreciate a good restaurant. That little extra something.

Remember years ago when shoe stores actually had salesmen whom fitted the shoe on your foot and the rows of chairs had those floor standing ash trays next to them?
#75
Sonny Funzio
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food 2007/07/11 14:30:09 (permalink)
quote:
Originally posted by jerzeydawg

Yes, Its little things like that in which really make you appreciate a good restaurant. That little extra something.

Remember years ago when shoe stores actually had salesmen whom fitted the shoe on your foot and the rows of chairs had those floor standing ash trays next to them?


I do.
About 10 years ago I used to go to a little barber shop on Michigan Avenue in Ypsilanti MI called "Al's" which still had those floor ashtrays next to the waiting chairs. Al also kept the magazine racks stocked with 20 or so magazines from the 40's and 50's. He was an old fashioned barber who finished every hair cut with a clean-up using a straight razor. He gave one of the best haircuts I'd ever had anywhere.
Al's (ahem) is just down the street from the Mayflower Chinese Restaurant, one of the best in Ypsilanti.




#76
jerzeydawg
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food 2007/07/11 21:42:47 (permalink)
quote:
Originally posted by ynotryme

btw, my favorite chinese restaurant is the Mayflower in Rome N.Y.. fried wonton (balls of pork and ?,


Balls of pork and dried fluke and shrimp eggs grounded and seasoned. Yes, that is the mystery meat inside of a Won ton.
#77
Foxyfishy14
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food 2007/07/16 10:27:57 (permalink)
There are a few places I've been that the buffets are really good...one in particular that comes to mind in Mass is Yon Shing in Auburn Mass..but everything off the menu is good as well.

In my experience, what I've learned about any Chinese food restaurant/takeout place is this (more often than not): If it looks nice inside (fancy decorations, nice places to sit etc.) the food most likely stinks, BUT...if you suspect that there may be some sort of rodent running around in the back or its a hole in the wall place...it will most likely be the tastiest food ever! Now there are always exceptions to this rule...like Cheng Du in Westboro Mass (VERY nice inside and some of the best Chinese food ever) but I've found this to be true in most cases.
#78
Robearjr
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food 2007/07/17 22:26:37 (permalink)
The sit down places would do better if they offered smaller plates. The appeal of the buffet for chinese is that you can try a little bit of everything.

When it comes to the traditional restaurant you feel like you have not choice but to eat a whole plate of snowpeas, garlic pork, kung pao, etc.... Who really wants to eat a whole plate of snow peas?

It seems that the Chinese restaurant would do well to take a page from the Tapas scene. Let people order three or four small plates instead of one big one.
#79
jerzeydawg
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food 2007/07/18 07:14:07 (permalink)
I dont actually mind an abundance of food on my dish at a sit down restaurant. Not just Chinese, but all restaurants. Whatever dont get consumed gets wrapped and taken home
#80
BigDave67
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food 2007/08/09 10:11:18 (permalink)
quote:
Originally posted by V960

Seems the buffet has virtually killed good Chinese food here in the south. Piggey trough buffets exclude a traditional lazy susan Chinese meal. Any thoughts?
We've got two great Chinese buffets here in Dalton,Georgia. They're very good!
#81
doggydaddy
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food 2007/08/09 10:42:25 (permalink)
quote:
Originally posted by doggydaddy

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


Since this post, my concerns came true. The place closed up leaving this city with no Chinese sit down restaurant. It left me concerned that I would not find sushi anywhere but at some buffet.
My only choice for Chinese is now take-out.

What has happened though, is a ray of hope. Another restaurant has taken its place. It's focus isn't Chinese, instead it is Japanese with French influences. Now I can understand Vietnamese food with French styling, but this combo seems unusual.
I have gone there a couple of times and the sushi is excellent and I do plan to try some of their other items in the future.The owners are from NYC, but I wondered how it will play here?

As it is, business has been good for them and I am hopeful that this meat and potato town will support them. Here is their menu. Oddly, their French style listings are not mentioned. I want to try their Duck confit with huckleberry sauce on some kind of bread pudding....

http://kumojapaneserestaurant.liveonatt.com/home.nxg

mark
#82
Rustywolf
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food 2007/08/09 14:08:57 (permalink)
The same buffet phenomena is happening to Indian restaurants, where demand for all-you-can eat pigouts of the same old standards have degraded the quality of the rest of the menu. Thanks, Old Country Buffet, for force-feeding America obesity and lousy food at the same time!
#83
Bluntfacts
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food 2007/08/19 00:26:20 (permalink)
I have never eaten at a Chinese (or other Oriental) buffet here in Las Vegas. And here is why. Every week (and this can easily be verified), the Clark County Health District tags at least one Chinese/Asian buffet with the dreaded C rating. A place has to reall be filthy to get the C. Things like observed roaches; seafood tahwing on counters, etc. The things that could give a customer food poisoning. In some case, the place is closed immediately.

These buffets then scrub down, pay the re-inpection fee, and get the A rating they are proud to display. Then at the next inspection within one year, another C rating.

One or two places might be a coincidence, but 10 to 20 places? Seriously, they might as well just put a roll of toilet paper on the table, because there is a good chance that you will need it within a few hours. And that is if you are fortunate to have rear-end evacuation. If it is oral evacuation, have a comfortable pad for your knees.
#84
HollyDolly
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food 2007/08/21 14:59:58 (permalink)
Never eaten at any chinese buffets in Las Vegas,but back in 1996
my sister and I stayed at the San Remo,across from the MGM Grand.
In the San Remo was a great sushi bar,and that's all they served.It was excellent,very fresh.Don't know how it is now.
#85
MilwFoodlovers
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food 2008/01/02 19:32:31 (permalink)
Caution: PG (mildly off color language)

John Pinette on the Chinese buffet
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TdwuiyO7hOU&feature=related
#86
leethebard
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food 2008/02/10 00:07:04 (permalink)
I agree about the filthy buffets...here in Brick we have two or three...and the food trays are usually dirty and picked through...and lots of kids always playing with the food....and quality is just NOT there!
#87
HollyDolly
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food 2008/02/22 15:28:08 (permalink)
" />This wasn't a buffet,but China Moon on Pat Booker Road in Universal City was closed by the health
inspector and is still closed.Heard rumors they were using cats for the moo goo gai pan,but don't know if it was true or not. Last couple of times I bought something there, it seemed to be swimming in oil,so i quit going there.Didn't eat there very often.
Most of the buffets when I do eat there around here are pretty clean.
I eat sometimes at the China Harbour on Walzam,but the one over on the other side of town got a bad
rap from the health inspector.
There are of course various sit down places around town.I may try and eat at Au Dangs here in town
Saturday after I get out of work at TJMAXX.
They are opening a new one on Pat Booker,sign says coming soon,Asian Buffet.But not sure if that's the name or just what the place is.
Khan's in Piermont ,Ny ,is a favorite of my sister and her boyfriend.I enjoyed the food there and the place is clean.You can order off the menu,or go for the mongolian buffet.
Never had any Indian food.
#88
Porcelina
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food 2008/03/02 20:13:44 (permalink)
Eww there is a new Chinese buffet here called Evergreen Buffet. Evergeen? Wow, that really sounds Chinese! It was totally, totally awful, and 50% of it was American food and desserts that were beyond sickening. However, my friend's family owns a restaurant here called Asian Garden, and they have a buffet for lunch only. It has a few Thai and Chinese dishes, and a couple soups, but the selection changes every day. The buffet is table is really small, and the food is replaced very quickly because people LOVE their buffet. It's not "the best ever" but it is definitely the best Chinese buffet I have ever been to.
#89
NYPIzzaNut
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food 2008/03/08 15:38:13 (permalink)
quote:
Originally posted by stlouisguy

I agree. I used to be a huge fan of chinese food. The last several years, that's changed as the buffets have taken over. Some of the restaurants around here serve a regular menu as well as the buffet, but their quality just isn't what it used to be.

And hey, when the buffets also serve pizza, fried cheese sticks, hot dogs. buffalo wings, onion rings, etc, it's not really chinese anymore.

I avoid them unless there's no other choice. The quality just isn't worth it, and for some of them, you don't know who's been tramping through them before you got there.
I will agree with you for the most part but there are still some exceptions in Chinese buffets that offer American food too that still offer fine Chinese food - one that I frequent often in Southern Ohio is the #1 China Buffet in Wilmington OH. This place is a real treat - I cannot even begin to tell you how many great Chinese dishes they put out and they rotate them a lot also so that it is not the same boring selection every time you go there.

I am afraid Chinese food has gone the way of Italian food - they try to appeal to all tastes and lose out on their uniqueness and taste for the most part most of the time.
#90
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