Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food

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V960
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Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food - Mon, 07/18/05 8:10 AM
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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?

Sundancer7
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food - Mon, 07/18/05 8:14 AM
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The same thing has almost happened in Knoxville with the exception of the Mandarin House which is the oldest and has been voted best buffet in Knoxville for ten years in a row. Many wannabee places have sprung up all over Knoxville. In fact on Kingston Pike which is a main drag in town had about a dozen Chinese buffets, they were all identical, non descript and lacking in taste.

The Mandarin House has expanded to several locations. I sincerely hope their quality does not diminish.

Paul E. Smith
Knoxville, TN

AndreaB
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food - Mon, 07/18/05 9:44 AM
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Yup. Here in Lexington, KY many of the once excellent Chinese restaurants have given themselves over to the buffet explosion.
These are restaurants that used to be excellent, and now serve lukewarm generic food (including pizza and fries) to those who apparently appreciate quantity over quality. What a shame.

Andrea

the grillman
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food - Mon, 07/18/05 10:17 AM
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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.

Leo Starrenburg
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food - Mon, 07/18/05 10:26 AM
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The same in Rowan county KY, a buffet where the Chinese dishes were outnumberd by regular items. The quality was mediocer at best. Heaps of food for a low price, but a bit embarrasing as we invited a group of people for dinner there, naively hinking it would be about the same as a Dutch Chinese/Indonesian restaurant. Our only bad dining experience during our stay.

cheers, Leo.

PS: over here "wok" restaurants are shooting up everywhere. You take your pick of a great number of raw ingredients, point out the kind of cooking oil/suace you want and the cook prepares it a la minute in his wok.

V960
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food - Mon, 07/18/05 11:13 AM
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Mr. Smith
Where is the Mandarin house? I travel to K'town aout once every six weeks and would love to visit it.

berndog
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food - Mon, 07/18/05 11:16 AM
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There has been a large growth in the number of Chinese Buffet restaurants in Rochester, but not all are bad. There are still many excellent Chinese restaurants which have not gone the buffet route, and we often go there when we want the best food.

Some of the buffets are not bad though, it seems to be a matter of what you eat. We often go to a few of the better buffets and enjoy the sushi, and appetizers like fried dumplings. Our two favorites also have a "Mongolian BBQ" where you select your choice of veggies, meats, and sauce, and the chef prepares it while you watch. Some dishes are not the best, but I always enjoy the mussels in ginger garlic sauce, mei fun, and baby bok choy. These taste as good as any dish I have had in "menu" restarants.

Our two favorite buffets also feature steamed clams and crab legs on Friday and Saturday nights, very reasonable all you can eat crab legs for the $11 buffet cost. I don't mind the "generic" American style food including pizza, because I never eat it. But I have seen many families with children where the parents get to enjoy the Chinese food while the kids eat pizza and chicken fingers. I doubt these parents would get their children to go to a "menu" Chinese restaurant.

tmiles
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food - Mon, 07/18/05 4:26 PM
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People vote with their feet/wallets/and time. Around here, the buffet rules. Some are very good (Nancy Chang, Worcester Mass), and some are barely better than your high school cafeteria was. For me, they are fast and interesting, especially if I am with a group. It might be a good idea for a web site or book. I keep my roadfood book in the car and use it. Maybe a lst of good Chinese buffets would be popular?

Sundancer7
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food - Mon, 07/18/05 4:36 PM
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quote:
Originally posted by V960

Mr. Smith
Where is the Mandarin house? I travel to K'town aout once every six weeks and would love to visit it.


I have attached their web site for your use. It was voted best buffet in Knoxvile for 12 straight years. I suggest the west location. I have visited everyone of their locations and they seem to do the best. I did not like the one in Pigeon Forge even though it is brand new and a beautiful building.

I believe the web site will give you directions to the west location. Regardless it is off Kingston Pike in the Downtown West area.

Be sure and try their General Tsao chicken and do not accidentally ingest some of those little bitty red peppers.

http://www.mandarinhouse.com/

Paul E. Smith
Knoxville, TN

Top
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food - Mon, 07/18/05 5:35 PM
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quote:
Originally posted by berndog

There has been a large growth in the number of Chinese Buffet restaurants in Rochester, but not all are bad.

On a recent trip to Yellowstone and back, we stoped overnight in Albert Lea, MN. I had hungry kids, we were sick of burgers and bad pizza, and there was a Chinese buffet two doors down from the motel. Much to my suprise, it was very, very good. The food was 60% Cantonese standards and 40% wiggley midwestern salads. There were three types of soup (including good hot and sour) and crab legs to boot. It was full at 1830 on a Tuesday evening and stayed that way unitl we left. Fresh food came out of the kitchen at short intervals. I think that's the trick; you need the volume and turnover to keep the food up to snuff. This place wasn't Chinatown in New York or Boston, but it was better than most places here in Maine.
On the other hand, There is 'Grand Asian Buffet' in Waterville, ME. Seems to be the sort of place most folks think about when the subject comes up.
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wanderingjew
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food - Mon, 07/18/05 5:44 PM
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I know I am going to sound egocentric here, but I've enjoyed Chinese Food in several parts of the country. First off, I determined that Chinese food was inedible in Albuquerque. For the last 9 or 10 years I've had the best of the best in both Rhode Island and Pittsburgh. It was probably longer than that since I had Chinese food in NY. Well last Thanksgiving weekend, I went to visit my friend in New Jersey (about 20 miles from the George Washington Bridge)it was late in the evening and the local Kosher Deli was just closing up for the night so we decided to go to the Chinese Restaurant next door. I completely forgot how extraordinary the Chinese food in NY is and how these Chinese Restaurants put out a far superior product compared to the rest of the country. I have now decided that when I travel, I will not eats Chinese anywhere else perhaps with the exception of San Francisco.

The Travelin Man
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food - Mon, 07/18/05 10:36 PM
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quote:
Originally posted by wanderingjew

I know I am going to sound egocentric here, but I've enjoyed Chinese Food in several parts of the country. First off, I determined that Chinese food was inedible in Albuquerque. For the last 9 or 10 years I've had the best of the best in both Rhode Island and Pittsburgh. It was probably longer than that since I had Chinese food in NY. Well last Thanksgiving weekend, I went to visit my friend in New Jersey (about 20 miles from the George Washington Bridge)it was late in the evening and the local Kosher Deli was just closing up for the night so we decided to go to the Chinese Restaurant next door. I completely forgot how extraordinary the Chinese food in NY is and how these Chinese Restaurants put out a far superior product compared to the rest of the country. I have now decided that when I travel, I will not eats Chinese anywhere else perhaps with the exception of San Francisco.


Having grown up in NY, I am sure that I underestimated how much I would miss Chinese food when I moved to Florida. What is here is inedible, at best, but I am sure that my view is skewed by what I know I can get "back home."

The bulk of the places here are either buffet or what they call "NY-style." Style? Maybe, but hardly the taste. The 'style' is the single counter, mostly take-out, picture of the food on backlit signs motif. I guess I always just thought that NY style meant that the food had flavor. That, somehow, was skipped.

A friend with whom I travel arranged for us to eat in Chinatown in SF with a friend of his who was friends with the chef at the restaurant. We had an incredible dining experience, with course after course flowing from the kitchen. In the end, my buddy was a little less than pleased with my underwhelmed response. I explained that this was something that I could get all the time, and while it was good, I would not rate it as the "best ever." He was dumbfounded...

...until I sent him to my favorite place on Long Island. Then, he just understood.

Now, I do the same....I will wait until I am in a more Chinese-friendly area rather than eat the poor excuse available here.

Steve

Grillmeister
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food - Mon, 07/18/05 10:57 PM
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As of today I didn't really appreciate my local Chinese buffet...I've determined that it's actually quite good (especially when you hit it right at noon). The reason I say this is because today in Huntsville, TX, I had the absolutely worst Chinese buffet food in my life! This was the stuff that understandably brings on all the negative comments I see here on Roadfood. I made a comment on the Mexican food thread on how Pancho's must be like eating Mexican army food, WELL, Chairman Mao didn't make the Long March to go to this place! The Chinese army had to have eaten better!
I guess it boils down to the care and expertise of each individual restaurant...some have it, many do not. Feel blessed if your local place has it!


wanderingjew
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food - Mon, 07/18/05 11:05 PM
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quote:
Originally posted by stevekoe

quote:
Originally posted by wanderingjew

I know I am going to sound egocentric here, but I've enjoyed Chinese Food in several parts of the country. First off, I determined that Chinese food was inedible in Albuquerque. For the last 9 or 10 years I've had the best of the best in both Rhode Island and Pittsburgh. It was probably longer than that since I had Chinese food in NY. Well last Thanksgiving weekend, I went to visit my friend in New Jersey (about 20 miles from the George Washington Bridge)it was late in the evening and the local Kosher Deli was just closing up for the night so we decided to go to the Chinese Restaurant next door. I completely forgot how extraordinary the Chinese food in NY is and how these Chinese Restaurants put out a far superior product compared to the rest of the country. I have now decided that when I travel, I will not eats Chinese anywhere else perhaps with the exception of San Francisco.


Having grown up in NY, I am sure that I underestimated how much I would miss Chinese food when I moved to Florida. What is here is inedible, at best, but I am sure that my view is skewed by what I know I can get "back home."

The bulk of the places here are either buffet or what they call "NY-style." Style? Maybe, but hardly the taste. The 'style' is the single counter, mostly take-out, picture of the food on backlit signs motif. I guess I always just thought that NY style meant that the food had flavor. That, somehow, was skipped.

A friend with whom I travel arranged for us to eat in Chinatown in SF with a friend of his who was friends with the chef at the restaurant. We had an incredible dining experience, with course after course flowing from the kitchen. In the end, my buddy was a little less than pleased with my underwhelmed response. I explained that this was something that I could get all the time, and while it was good, I would not rate it as the "best ever." He was dumbfounded...

...until I sent him to my favorite place on Long Island. Then, he just understood.

Now, I do the same....I will wait until I am in a more Chinese-friendly area rather than eat the poor excuse available here.

Steve


Steve,

There was one place that equaled the quality of the Long Island/NYC area, specifically their Dim Sum Sunday Brunch. That was the Noble Court in Bellevue Washington. This was back in the mid 1990's. I thought it was gone, but apparently it's still around.

santacruz
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food - Tue, 07/19/05 3:50 PM
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Haveing grown up in the northeast then living in the midwest and south, I have at last arrived in Nirvana of Chinese food, the San Francisco Bay Area. There is nothing like it for Chinese food, so fresh, so many regions represented and of course Dim Sum....I could just go on and on, it's unbelievalble from San Jose up to Santa Rosa great just great food, not to mention Vietnamese, Japanese etc.

There of course are lousy places but most are way above average.

If you want excellent Chinese cuisine without going to China come to the Bay area.

Lucky Bishop
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food - Tue, 07/19/05 4:27 PM
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quote:
Originally posted by tmiles

People vote with their feet/wallets/and time. Around here, the buffet rules. Some are very good (Nancy Chang, Worcester Mass), and some are barely better than your high school cafeteria was. For me, they are fast and interesting, especially if I am with a group. It might be a good idea for a web site or book. I keep my roadfood book in the car and use it. Maybe a lst of good Chinese buffets would be popular?


That's funny -- I've eaten in a lot of Chinese restaurants in eastern MA, and there are fewer Chinese buffets here than anywhere else I've ever lived. In fact, the only buffet I can think of off the top of my head is Tin Tin, at the corner of Brighton Ave and Market Street in Brighton. Which, yeah, is pretty seriously mediocre. But what about all the great hole in the wall Chinese places? What about, as a matter of fact, Chinatown?

The Travelin Man
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food - Tue, 07/19/05 5:02 PM
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quote:
Originally posted by wanderingjew

Steve,

There was one place that equaled the quality of the Long Island/NYC area, specifically their Dim Sum Sunday Brunch. That was the Noble Court in Bellevue Washington. This was back in the mid 1990's. I thought it was gone, but apparently it's still around.


I get out to Seattle for work once or twice a year. Usually when I am out there, I try to gorge myself on salmon and halibut until I just can't take it anymore, but I will try to look up this place in Bellevue on my next go around.

Steve

TIPPY LEE
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food - Wed, 07/20/05 5:57 AM
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Hey LeoStarrenburg!....Tom B. in Eastern KY. like you.....When you speak of Rowan Co., I take it you mean Morehead?...I always liked the buffet (name escapes me...) in the little plaza where the bookstore and a little food store is....NOT the one close to the interstate exit...Usually ate there when in town, around lunch time, and thought the aforementioned Chinese buffet was good!

EdSails
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food - Wed, 07/20/05 12:43 PM
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There is a glut of Chinese buffets here in the LA/OC area, but it's still relatively easier to find an excellent authentic Chinese meal. Especially, where I live, I literally can walk around the corner to a place that serves the real stuff, and a short drive to either downtown Los Angeles' Chinatown, Monterey Park, "LIttle Saigon" in Orange County or San Gabriel has a wealth of great places, including dim sum palaces, noodle houses, ethnic Chinese places such as Islamic Chinese and more. The buffets will always appeal to a certain type of people who want lots of food-----but it's interesting that the good places still give you much more than you could eat, with much higher quality-----and yet not much different from the buffet price.

AndreaB
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food - Wed, 07/20/05 1:48 PM
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In Lexington, KY, there's a chinese place called "Far East Cafe". It is non buffet and the food tastes clean, fresh, and they'll make it spiced according to your taste. I like my food "volatile" spicy and they always included a container of the chef's spicy sauce so I could spice it to my taste. Now, according to my hubs, they say they're changing the restaurant to a KY country food place because it hasn't gone over well. That's all we need around here --- another "country food" place. This place is excellent, and I think anyone from any state / country would have loved its offerings, and I am very picky about Chinese food. I am just tired of the generic buffets.......

Andrea

beckygirl402
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food - Fri, 08/19/05 4:55 PM
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Andrea, yes, Far East Cafe has closed and turned into a country foods place, but if you liked the food, the owner actually has another restaurant called Asian Wind that has similar, if not better, food. Their website is sometimes out of date (as far as prices and dishes go, as the George, the owner, is often changing things... new dishes and what not), but it has information on there if you need it: www.asianwindrestaurant.com Hope you enjoy it!

Williamsburger
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food - Sat, 08/20/05 3:07 PM
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Incredibly, there are no good Chinese places in Williamsburg, VA.
There are four Japanese places (one of which *used* to be the best Chinese place in the city) but all the Chinese places are buffets or hole-in-the-wall carry outs.

The best Chinese restaurant in Tidewater (Ming Gate in Hampton)closed its doors several years ago after the owner's two brothers died within a few months of each other. I asked where the cook went so I could try his new place. The answer? - Taiwan!

Cathy

jinjo76
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food - Sat, 08/20/05 4:47 PM
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Has anyone been here,

http://www.todai.com/ ?

Is it worth driving from Oakland Park to Tampa if you love Japanese/seafood?



BillC
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food - Sun, 08/21/05 9:46 PM
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Ignore this if you live in a place with an active "Chinatown", but buffets and cheap carry outs seem to be the rule. There are still some good restaurants around here, but it's not the same. I used to really like Chinese food. I'm not sure if it's so much that the quality has gone down (which it has), or if more appealing Japanese and Vietnamese restaurants have appeared.

Hastyman
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food - Sun, 08/21/05 10:49 PM
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Out here in flyover country the buffets have pretty much won the day, promising you all the soggy crab rangoon and cold General Tso's chicken you want for $5.95. The irony is that some of the buffet places still turn out great food to order . . . but nobody ever orders it. (Except for me, that is.)

It's really sad. Say what you want about the old kitschy Americanized Chinese places, they're a dying breed, and there may be a whole generation of eaters who never know that Chinese food isn't supposed to come off a steam table.

plb
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food - Mon, 08/22/05 1:08 PM
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quote:
Originally posted by jinjo76

Has anyone been here,

http://www.todai.com/ ?

Is it worth driving from Oakland Park to Tampa if you love Japanese/seafood?





Use the search function. Todai has been discussed a number of times. Most comments were positive.

AndreaB
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food - Sat, 09/3/05 7:39 AM
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quote:
Originally posted by beckygirl402

Andrea, yes, Far East Cafe has closed and turned into a country foods place, but if you liked the food, the owner actually has another restaurant called Asian Wind that has similar, if not better, food. Their website is sometimes out of date (as far as prices and dishes go, as the George, the owner, is often changing things... new dishes and what not), but it has information on there if you need it: www.asianwindrestaurant.com Hope you enjoy it!


Yes Asian Wind is excellent! I love George's hot sauce and the My Lai Chicken is to die for. I love the fresh green onions they put in it. There's a place called Great Wall that's supposed to be good --- I think it's a carry out place --- but as for the buffets I really don't know of a good one in LEX --- they seem to try to mix and match everything and it just doesn't "work".

Andrea

Stupid_American
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food - Mon, 09/5/05 6:06 PM
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Here, in Southern California, there are so many ethnic Chinese choices that one's treated like a leper if they even mention butterfly shrimp, egg foo young or, god forbid, a combo!

"Educated palates" can be such snobs!

roossy90
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food - Sat, 10/15/05 12:29 PM
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There is Joy Asia, in Marlborough, Mass, Totally chinese staffed and run--and they have a full service bar/dining area with about 6 TV's for the games and thats where most people eat but also a regular dining room, but then they also serve a small buffet as an option. But not like those "SUPER" buffets that are indeed cropping up all over....Maybe 12 items and peel and shrimp is a staple there--But their food is excellent.. They alsohave a dish from the menu called Phoenex Soong, and its diced white meat chicken with diced carrots and celery and onions cooked fresh in a sauce like Moo Goo Gai Pan and you get a half head of iceberg lettuce in which to make your own wraps....No rice.. and for the carb conscious, and salad lover, its a great alternative. Of course then I get the Peking Dumplings.. Ha Ha..
Every so often, I will drive the 140 miles to dine there..
It is on Boston Post Road headed east towards Sudbury....

ScreenBear
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food - Sun, 10/16/05 2:09 AM
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I miss the dark brown chow mein of my childhood. The nouvelle stuff is all white. Canton, an art deco-designed Chinese restaurant just off Journal Square in Jersey City, NJ, which harked back to the 1930s, served the chow mein the old way, as well as serving a good dark fried rice. But sadly, they went out of business about a year ago after about a 70-year run.

Poopy
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food - Wed, 11/9/05 12:19 PM
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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.

V960
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food - Thu, 11/10/05 11:49 AM
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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.

snoopy123
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food - Sat, 11/26/05 6:50 PM
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I have always loved Chinese Buffet. Chinese buffets are plentiful here in Houston. A handful are really decent and priced just right.

BT
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food - Sun, 11/27/05 2:37 AM
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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.

V960
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food - Sun, 11/27/05 9:02 AM
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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.

MilwFoodlovers
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food - Sun, 11/27/05 10:29 AM
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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.

Scorereader
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food - Mon, 11/28/05 2:52 PM
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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.



V960
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food - Mon, 12/5/05 2:18 PM
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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.

HollyDolly
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food - Thu, 01/19/06 10:58 AM
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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.

berndog
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food - Thu, 01/19/06 1:53 PM
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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.

1956MarkII
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food - Tue, 01/31/06 8:09 PM
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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.

MandalayVA
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food - Wed, 02/1/06 1:08 AM
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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.

Ashphalt
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food - Wed, 02/1/06 2:21 PM
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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.

jkml
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food - Tue, 02/21/06 2:39 PM
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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.

berndog
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food - Tue, 02/21/06 3:42 PM
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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.

improviser
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food - Mon, 12/4/06 1:23 PM
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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.

buffetbuster
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food - Mon, 12/4/06 1:43 PM
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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.

PapaJoe8
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food - Mon, 12/4/06 2:20 PM
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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

Scorereader
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food - Mon, 12/4/06 5:09 PM
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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.

Sonny Funzio
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food - Mon, 12/4/06 11:22 PM
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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.

fabulousoyster
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food - Tue, 12/5/06 8:36 AM
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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.

hep2thejive
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food - Tue, 12/5/06 8:51 AM
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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

Jennie
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food - Mon, 12/11/06 3:20 PM
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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.

V960
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food - Mon, 12/18/06 4:48 PM
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We now only get take out.

callmebruce
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food - Mon, 01/15/07 9:40 PM
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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.

PepperPhil
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food - Wed, 02/7/07 1:30 PM
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Our Chinese buffet still has an order menu.... I think most do, don't they ?
Or at least I think they do

doggydaddy
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food - Wed, 02/7/07 1:56 PM
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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

rhrd
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food - Wed, 02/7/07 2:36 PM
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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.

CajunKing
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food - Wed, 02/7/07 5:07 PM
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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.

Greymo
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RE: Chinese buffets & the demise of good Chinese food - Wed, 02/7/07 5:34 PM
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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.

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