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Where to take Chinese visitors if they are sick of Western food?

They will be in Orlando for a week before they reach us and then with us for another week. If they are getting sick of Western food, where should we take them? They usually dine in quite nice places in Beijing and would probably be horrified by some of the Chinatown holes-in-walls. It doesn't have to be purely Chinese, but maybe something "Asian-ish." I was thinking they might get a kick out of Buddakan. How is the food there? Any thoughts on whether it would be good for this purpose.

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  1. Hmm, i'd recommend asking them a little more about what they ate in Orlando and what they are sick of or what they might like to try...they may be sick of standard American food they ate in Orlando, but might still want to try any of hundreds of non-Chinese and non-American options here: e.g. Italian food, French bistros, Japanese, etc...if they eat at top places in Beijing, my guess is that they might enjoy going to a top steakhouse like Keens or a top Italian place like Il Giglio or a bistro like Balthazar, rather than a trendy fusion place w/ diluted Asian influences, but who knows...

    Never been to Buddakan but have heard to mixed-to-below-average comments on the place...

    1. Buddakan has pretty good appetizers and dim sum. That said, I found people coming from China to be less impressed by fusion Asian food. Since they are used to Peking cuisine, you can bring them to either Oriental Garden on Elizabeth St. for fresh seafood or Chatham Square 6 (note: not Chatham Square 9 which is a hole-in-the-wall) for Cantonese. Oriental Garden is slightly more upscale (and also more expensive), but they have more variety of fresh seafood. My experience was that Cantonese cuisine tends to fit most Chinese people's palate regardless of where they are from.

      If they are from Peking then I will NOT bring them to Joe Shanghai because they will know that that is BAD Chinese food....

      1. i agree with kobetobiko that fusion may not be the way to go. in addition to his suggestions, i would also recommend a few high-end restaurants like le bernardin and esca.

        i also endorse simon's selection of keens. not just for the great steaks, history and ambience but also for the terrific selection of scotch. best in the city.

        lived in asia for several years and return with some frequency. after a week in orlando, i would crawl to any of these suggestions. i feel your visitors' pain.

        1 Reply
        1. re: steve h.

          For work I have had to entertain some of our colleagues from China. They love going to steak houses!! No other way to say it. They flat out love huge pieces of meat, rare. Take them to an upscale NYC steakhouse.

        2. Agree with the steak house suggestion, but I also think you need to clarify if Chinese food might be a preferred option even if the local Chinese food is decidedly inferior to what they're used to. Many Chinese prefer bad Chinese food to good versions of other cuisines. This is demonstrated by European tours organized by Chinese travel agencies, where all the meals are Chinese, whether in France, Germany, Italy, Austria, Poland, etc. etc. Besides defeating the purpose (in my mind) of a trip abroad to experience the country you're visiting, including the food, you can't tell me that some of that Chinese food isn't going to be flat out awful by anybody's standards. I went on a Chinatown organized tour of Western Canada a couple of years ago and the tour bus stopped for lunch at this god awful Chinese buffet restaurant in the wilds of eastern British Columbia. One glance at the steam table and me and my family made a beeline for Subway.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Chandavkl

            They do that with the tours here in NY too but I think that has to do more with the tour operator getting benefits from the restaurant than from the tourists wanting to eat at those places.

            1. re: SomeRandomIdiot

              Actually it's a combination. If you're talking Chinese or Chinese American tourists, there is the desire to eat Chinese food everywhere. Both tours organized in China and in America's Chinatowns to the U.S. and Europe follow this pattern. But yes, the tour operators certainly have a deal with the local restaurants that they use, to provide the least costly meal without alienating the people on the tour.

              1. re: Chandavkl

                If they want asian food, you prob. won't go wrong with japanese food in NYC (places like sushi yasuda are def. much better than any sushi place u would find in China..i've been to china many times and live in asia)

          2. Funny you say that about Manhattan's Chinatown. I once had an intern from Beijing. I tried to invite her to eat in Chinatown and she stated in no uncertain terms that she wanted nothing to do with such an activity. She said it was like China in the provinces well over 60 years ago, at best. She hated the buildings and couldnt think to eat from any place down there. I always think of her reaction when people go on about how great our Chinatown is :)