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Jul 27, 2008 08:53 AM

Chinese Banquet in Flushing?

I am looking to book a banquet for around 40 people. While I keep hearing that Flushing should be where to look, my experience there has been limited to dim sum. Does anyone have a suggestion? As a parochial school teacher my budget is fairly tight.

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  1. I've never attended a banquet but since no one else has replied, I'll start the ball rolling by suggesting Ocean Jewels or Jade Asian Both are Hong Kong style Cantonese.

    16 Replies
    1. re: Brian S

      Went to Ocean Jewels on Sunday for dim-sum. The dim sum was both innovative and extremely well prepared. I have been unable to speak with a manager about a banquet there. When we were there Sun. 11:30, no banquet manager was on site. While our info was taken, no one has called as yet. Today is Monday.

      We also went to East Buffet to speak with someone there. My son has enjoyed many informal dim sum parties there and requested we look into it. I am still waiting for contact from them as well.

      Tomorrow pm I will be going with some friends to Jade Asia for dinner. Hopefully, I'll be able to both enjoy my dinner and speak with a banquet manager.

      Does anyone have a link for sample/typical banquet menus or suggestions for the places sited above? I know I will not require shark fin soup or lobster, but as this is for a birthday, b-mitzvah party want to include noodles and would like peking duck and some veggy dishes (October). Any particular suggestions?


      1. re: rklimpl2003

        glad you enjoyed the dim sum! Not answering your question, but I noticed that WABC-TV did a news story about Ocean Jewels last month, which you can see in the video, several minutes long, at the top of this page.

        1. re: rklimpl2003

          As suggested by other posters on this thread, you can ask for copies of their standard banquet menus of varying prices (they are usually on sheets of pink paper), but one problem is that virtually all of the banquet menus are in Chinese, however, the restaurant managers can certainly translate the menu for you if you go there at an off hour time. You can also browse the regular menu of each restaurant taking good notes to get ideas of dishes that you might like and can substitute or add to your banquet. After getting copies of the translated menus and notes of the different dishes that you have an interest in from their regular menu, you can then compare the choices and prices for the best value. After doing all of your research, you can then go back and negotiate with the restaurant for your desired banquet menu and estimated cost.

          Unfortunately, there are many undesirable elements in this research similar to buying a car, but if you want to save money, there is no way around the time and expense of shopping around, doing your homework, and negotiating with the restaurant manager, but from your earlier posts on this thread, you appear to be well along in doing your research and your homework already. But note that the larger banquet Chinese restaurants are used to dealing with wedding banquet requests of 30 to 50 tables or more, hence your party of four tables would not be considered a tremendous profit making opportunity and the restaurant would certainly not be as flexible in their negotiations with you of the final price as compared to someone booking a party of 50 tables.

          As “Designerboy01” has stated in one of the postings in this thread, one can always ask to change the menu with additions, deletions, and substitutions to the standard banquet menu, but this would mean that you would have to have done your research in terms of the costs of the various dishes that will be changed, deleted, or added, otherwise you would be at the mercy of the restaurant manager. Remember, the restaurant manager’s job is to maximize profits and the good ones can do this with a smile while they quote you upper level prices of whatever the market can bear.

          In gathering all the banquet menus from the various restaurants, you will notice that most of the standard banquet menus are fairly similar, with only a few differences. The standard preset banquet menu will consist of eight (eight is considered a lucky number in Chinese culture) main dishes, and a noodle and fried rice dish to end the banquet, plus some sort of fresh fruits.

          You did not provide a quantitative range of prices that you are interested in, but Chinese banquets usually run from a low of $300 to over $1000 and up for a table of ten persons. The primary items that drive up the cost are Shark’s Fin, Abalone, and the various Seafood dishes, hence if you decide to eschew these items, the cost will be more reasonable. Among the Chinese, the mark of a good banquet one attends is the number of seafood dishes (Shark’s Fin is expected already), which are the dishes that Cantonese restaurants excel in. If you order no seafood and only order chicken, duck, and other meat and vegetable dishes, it is quite possible to get the banquet under $300 per table of ten people, although Peking Duck is an expensive dish and will drive up the price.

          One other possibility is to skip entirely the standard banquet menus and create your own banquet menu from their standard menu, since you have indicated that you might not be ordering too many seafood dishes. A good rule of thumb when creating your own banquet menu is to roughly order 1 dish times the number of people at the table plus 20% additional dishes (assuming that there will typically be several big eaters at the table; of course, you would adjust accordingly if there are more or fewer big eaters; and for Chinese diners, leftovers are always brought back without a need to pretend that one has a dog), which for the typical ten person table would be 12 dishes, where some of the main dishes would be double orders of the same dish. For Chinese families, the selection would be distributed among each of the different food classes: vegetable, pork, seafood, chicken, beef, tofu, and the dishes would be cooked with varying styles: steamed, stir fried, stewed, deep fried, and roasted. The goal is to achieve variety, proper nutrition with many vegetables, or as the Chinese would say, obtain the proper “Yin and Yang” balance in your selection of dishes. The many “Yang” fried dishes would have to be offset with equal “Yin” steamed dishes in order to achieve proper balance. Of course, for a special occasion like a birthday Bar Mitzvah, one can dispense with the “Yin and Yang” business and just order what is delicious and are crowd pleasers. Sometimes a little over indulgence is acceptable.

          The restaurants recommended in this thread (Ocean Jewels, Imperial Palace, Jade Asian, Perfect Team, East Buffet, and Tung Yi Fung) by the other posters are among the larger and more expensive Cantonese banquet restaurants in Flushing. All of them should be reasonably satisfactory. We would also add the restaurant Gala Manor, which is probably the largest of the Cantonese banquet restaurants in Flushing and probably as expensive or higher in price than Ocean Jewels. And as mentioned in many of our prior Chowhound postings, Chinese restaurants are very variable and inconsistent in their dishes, even among the better restaurants.

          Ordering Peking Duck in NYC is a iffy proposition, as the best Peking Duck dishes must be prepared properly, and come right from the oven to be carved at your table, but since there usually is not enough demand for Peking Duck dishes to ensure a constant pipeland of Peking Ducks in the oven, the Peking Duck is usually partially precooked in the morning/afternoon and finished later when diners order the Peking Duck dish. This is the usual process for the better restaurants, while the lesser restaurants will take short cuts with the preparation, besides partially precooking them, and some will even freeze them and use the technique of deep frying for a brief time to crisp the duck skin. And restaurants will sometimes misjudge the number of Peking Duck orders to pre-cook, and have leftover Peking Ducks from the previous evening, which may unfortunately become your Peking Duck. Obviously, these unconventional practices take a toll on the quality of the Peking Duck in terms of texture and flavor. However, since you will be ordering a banquet in advance, you can try to request that the Peking Duck dish be cooked to order for your party. Whether the restaurant will actually do it is another matter, but all one can do is ask.

          At the Imperial Palace, which does not carve the Peking Duck at your table, we have had both good Peking Duck dishes and bad Peking Duck dishes. Unfortunately, the quality of the Peking Duck dish is variable at most restaurants that serve this dish, and depends upon how lucky you are on the day that you order your Peking Duck, but since you will be ordering in advance, there is a higher likelihood that you might get cooked to order Peking Duck.

          Most of the banquet restaurants mentioned in this thread should be able to prepare a reasonable Peking Duck dish for you, but you should be aware that Peking Duck is not a dish that Cantonese restaurants are known for and they do not serve the Peking Duck dish with the traditional flour pancakes (thin and light in texture that do not detract from the flavor of the Peking Duck skin), but with soft white colored Cantonese buns. Our preference is for the traditional thin flour pancakes.

          Several years ago we attended a banquet luncheon at “East Lake” in Flushing, which is no longer open, and we had posted pictures of the luncheon dishes on Chowhound that might give you a typical idea of the banquet dishes available. As mentioned earlier, most of the standard banquet menus would be chock full of seafood dishes, hence you would have to make many substitutions of other dishes, if you do not enjoy seafood dishes.

          The link to our previous posting made several years ago is here: (

          Although not mentioned in our original posting in the link above, in the provided link to the pictures of the luncheon, notice that the picture of the noodle dish with the lobster and scallops is presented as a representation of the “Yin and Yang” symbol famous in Chinese culture. See the “Yin Yang” symbol at the link here: (

          Good luck in your selection of a restaurant and dishes, and hopefully, you will have good karma at your selected restaurant on the day of the Bar Mitzvah.

          Mazel Tov!

          1. re: lwong

            I threw a banquet at Ocean Jewels and ordered the Peking Duck, and it was pretty good. I've had Peking Duck in Beijing (at Li Qun), and it wasn't quite that good, but good by NYC Peking Duck standards, though it was served with the Cantonese style buns.

            I'd also like to point out that just about everything at the banquet was great. The dishes that weren't great were probably my fault since I was trying to accommodate lots of different palates. And, since I had lots of white folks at the banquet, I basically made my own menu with the help of one of the matire d's, Sam Lam. I booked the large private room, and they made me guarantee $500 per table, with a minimum number of tables which I don't recall. Reaching the $500 minimum was actually tough since we didn't order lots of shell fish.

            Just one word of caution, and I suspect this applies to all restaurants. Double check your bill and make sure you actually get what you order. I'd like to chalk up some of my service issues to the language barrier (I don't really speak Cantonese), but I think it was more likely aggressive business practices. Nevertheless, the restaurant made good on all its promises - I just had to watch them like a hawk.

            1. re: Greg

              What did you get for $500 per table? That sounds a little on the high side but the prices at that restaurant are a little higher for Flushing.

              1. re: designerboy01

                I don't remember everything - it was about nine months ago - but I thought it ended up being fair. There were about fourteen dishes per table, including the duck, lobster, scallops, snow pea leaves, mushrooms and steak among the more high-priced fare. Plus the usual tofu, noodles, chicken, etc. We also added the nai wong bao (those little custard buns) to the typical red bean dessert, and that price also included beer and soda.

                But now I'm curious... Do you still think I got ripped off?

                1. re: Greg

                  I like the restaurant for its variety of dishes and dim sum. But I don't think you get value for the regular dinner dishes. My experience has been smaller portions and higher prices. But I do like their variety they offer. For that reason, I would expect their banquet menus to be a little bit more expensive.

                  14 dishes is a little bit more than the average. In my experience I've got lobster, shark's fin, and other similar fare exculding the Peking duck in the mid to upper $300s and its one more level up on quality for the shark's fin. That is 12 dishes, including drinks, and the custard buns. But this is also before the increase of prices on food.

                  I just think you could've got a better deal at another restaurant. When I eat there I do expect to pay higher prices. I know Jade Asian starts their banquet menus today in the $200s and up.
                  Full House Seafood restaurant probably has the better value in Flushing for Cantonese (I'm not sure if they got banquet rooms). But sometimes its the dish you want that is only offered at a particular restaurant.

                  1. re: designerboy01

                    That's interesting, thanks. If I were to do it again, I'd probably still have the banquet at Ocean Jewels.

                    As an aside, I know it's not a true Chinese banquet without the shark's fin, but I just can't bring myself to buy it. It's a moral thing, but I certainly appreciate it's appeal from both a cultural and gastronomical perspective.

                    1. re: designerboy01

                      Full House does have a private room that can handle 3 or 4 tables.

                      1. re: ltlevy

                        Thanks, I'll go take a peak next time. They got a good lunch special at this place too on weekdays. I'm not sure on weekends.

                2. re: Greg

                  Glad you had a good experience at Ocean Jewels, that was sufficiently good for you to want to return to Ocean Jewels again.

                  Our experience with Peking Duck in NYC has been very variable and spotty. We enjoy Peking Duck and have ordered the dish at many restaurants over the years.

                  We have had very good Peking Duck in Beijing at the Quan Jude “Sick Duck” branch on Wangfujiang Street that serves mostly locals, and have also been disappointed at other Beijing restaurants that served Peking Duck. We have also been to the Peking Duck House on Mott Street that specializes in Peking Duck, where there are sufficient orders of Peking Duck by customers that the duck is actually warm to the touch when it comes out, but the last time that we were there, we found that while their Peking Duck had crisp skin, the duck was a little too dry for our taste, and felt that the duck lacked flavor as a result of being too dry. Another time we were there, the skin was not crisp enough and the fat was not sufficiently rendered underneath the skin.

                  The best Peking Duck dishes should not only have crisp skins, but there should also be a thin layer of fat underneath the skin to provide sufficient flavor and the duck meat should not be too dry but still moist. When we ate Peking Duck at the short lived branch of Quan Jude in Rosemead, California, a number of years ago, our hands were totally oily at the end of the dinner, but the duck skin was quite tasty due to the amount moist and fatty juices from the duck. The Peking Duck at the “Sick Duck” branch of Quan Jude in Beijing was also quite moist and with much flavor similar to the Peking Duck we had in Rosemead, California.

                  We have not tried the Peking Duck at the Li Qun restaurant, but have been told by Beijing friends that the restaurant has seen better days and that it was heavily patronized by tourists.

                  Unfortunately, we have not had the opportunity to try the Peking Duck at Ocean Jewels. Was the Peking Duck at Ocean Jewels very flavorful with a thin layer of sufficient fat underneath the skin and with moist meat to provide the duck flavor? We have had dinner at Ocean Jewels and agree with you that the dishes are good and cooked with a light hand with fresh ingredients, but as “Designerboy01 has stated, the pricing is quite high compared to other restaurants in Flushing. It is a value judgment as to whether the better cooking and fresh ingredients is worth the premium that Ocean Jewels charges.

                  In another posting of yours, you had asked if you might have been overcharged at Ocean Jewels. If you have managed to view the pictures of the luncheon banquet that we attended at the East Lake restaurant, that we estimate to have cost about $450, not including tax and tip, in early 2006, you can get some idea of the value of the banquet we attended that you can compare with your banquet. Were the 14 dishes that you had ordered, just the regular sized dishes from the standard menu? If this is what you did, than it would be easy to cost out your banquet. Just get the prices from the regular menu and add up each dish. But if the restaurant up-sized each dish, than it is a little more complicated to calculate, but the rule of thumb is that one regular order of a dish in a Chinese restaurant, assuming that you ordered approximately one order per person, is sufficient for 3 to 5 average people to share, hence an up-sized dish in volume for a 10 person banquet table should be approximately 2 to 3 times the standard price of the normal dish. The restaurant can still play games with you on the volume of the dish, but there is little you can do other than be vigilant as you have stated in one of your posts, and complain if you feel that the restaurant did not give sufficient volume, but basically it is a losing battle, as there are a million excuses that the restaurant can give, especially when there is a subjective factor in terms of estimating the up-sized dish at your banquet and comparing the size to the regular menu dishes. A diner’s only weapon is to avoid going to a restaurant that does not give value for your money.

                  From the brief description of the expensive dishes that you ordered, we would have to agree with “Designerboy01” that you might have done better at another restaurant cost-wise. A quick calculation is that if each dish was a regular sized menu dish and cost $30, which is fairly high for Chinatown, than 14 times $30 would only total $420, but since there were only 4 dishes that were mentioned that were expensive (duck, lobster, scallops, and steak), this very high estimate is still below your figure of $500 (we assume that this price does not include tax and tip), since the other vegetable and meat dishes would probably be much lower than the $30 per dish price that was used in this calculation. There are other factors that need to be included, such as the use of a private room, and the soft drinks and beer that were ordered, but you still may have been able to do better at another restaurant.

                  The bottom line is that there are dozens of ways for the restaurant to beat you, since they control the size of the lobster, steak, number and size of the scallops, and even the size of the duck, and the quality and volume of the expensive ingredients in any of the dishes, and the freshness of the ingredients. Chinese restaurants will sprinkle in less fresh ingredients with the fresher ingredients in a dish, as nothing goes to waste in a Chinese restaurant, since the profit margins are so thin due to the immense competition in the Chinatowns.

                  1. re: lwong

                    Excellent posts! You sure know your banquets.

                    I definitely agree that the cost of the private room has to be taken into factor. I did an 8 course banquet on the West coast. There were a couple of high-ticket items such as shark's fin soup and lobster. But it did come out to over $500/table -- kind of expensive for the food that we ordered.

                    1. re: lwong

                      Thanks for your thoughtful reply. We did up-size some of the dishes, like the lobster.

                        1. re: lwong

                          Thanks to everyone (Miss Needle, Greg, Designerboy01, and BigJeff) for their kind comments. When one posts to Chowhound, one has no idea if anyone is reading your posts or whether all the efforts made to write the post is going to naught, hence it is enjoyable to receive responses (kind or unkind) and know that someone is actually reading your posts and finding them informative.

                      1. re: lwong

                        lwong, thanks for that amazing summary, I really hope rklimpl sees your post.

                  2. There've been a lot of banquets I've been hearing about at Tung Yi Fung, see this review of a banquet there: (


                    And why not Imperial Palace as well? although its smaller so, they may charge a bit more since you'd basically be taking over a lot of their space, as opposed to these larger places already suggested.

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: bigjeff

                      How about Perfect Team (Canton Restaurant). They have rooms that can accommodate 4 tables (10 person per banquest table standard). Food is good (I've had dinner there before). The view and atmosphere are nice. Prices are the usually eights, $368, $488, so on. Omit the shark fin soup and abalone (standard in a banquet) and the price will drop. Go during an early weekday night to ask about pricing. They are usually more accomodating but is a set price. Good Luck.

                      Perfect Team Corporation
                      13659 37th Ave, Queens, NY 11354
                      (No phone number, sorry).

                      1. re: PaMa

                        have you had the dimsum at this place? heard it was really quite good.

                          1. re: bigjeff

                            I went there for dim sum almost every Sunday when they first opened. There dim sum has dramatically improved and I think is better then Jade Asia or East (on Kissena). But like all else it depends on what you order.
                            Beef tripes and stomach are a bit tough and bland. I also suspect they don't rinse it as well as they should because I can detect a taste of cooked blood and baking soda. I would skip it.
                            Their shrimp dumpling is the best, hands down (not always so). The dough does not stick to to the bamboo basket or each other. I also like the chicken feets because it's steamed with peanuts on the bottom, nice touch.
                            They also sell individual bowl (cup) of steam rice wit pork shop tips of beef short rib. This is a very old fashion Chinese dim sum item. A lot of restaurant don't carry it because it is hard to make it (rice cook perfect, non stick, meat tender and moist). The last good on I had was in Montreal at Maison Kam Fung. Perfect Team nailed it perfect. This is a comfort food item for me and others may find it too simple.

                          2. re: PaMa

                            Perfect Team's phone number is (718) 888-9996. Banquets are the life blood of any large Cantonese style restaurant, so they'll all be highly experienced and handling such occasions, and with set banquet menus. That having been said, note that Chinese tend to be flashy at banquet occasions (you don't want your guests calling you cheap behind your back), so economy is not necessarily built into set banquet menus. However there's nothing to stop you from building your own selections off the restaurant's menu. After all, the main concern from the restaurant's point of view is that they have their kitchen properly stocked to deal with your occasion. With the economy being the way it is, I would hope that most Chinese restaurants would be co-operative in designing a reasonably priced meal.

                            1. re: PaMa

                              We did check out Perfect Team. Unfortunately the 4 table maximum may cramp our style if the party expands to 5 tables.

                          3. Thanks to all that have been helping in my search. I would hope to visit the restaurant to check it out, work out menus, etc. Any recommendations about what to sample at the various places, what to specify on the banquet menus? Thanks in advance and I'll keep you posted.

                            1. I recommend Jade Asian. They got banquet menus starting around the $200+ area and up. But whatever one you pick you can alter the banquet menu to take dishes off you don't like and add the ones you do. Good luck!

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: designerboy01

                                We went to Jade Asia as a group to try their food last Tuesday. It was amazing and I was comfortable in trying to arrange the banquet there. Unfortunately, when I spoke to the manager I was told that they did not have room for the 5 tables. I have thought of trying to reserve 5 tables in the main dining room and then just pre-ordering. Any thoughts?

                                1. re: rklimpl2003

                                  Yes 5 tables is a lot. Most likely its going to be in the main dining room. I don't know if they will section your tables off if privacy is an issue and how important that is.

                                  I can only say for myself, because different people like to eat different things. But for me I don't like Dim Sum as a starter because I sometimes feel Dim Sum places try to off load the leftovers onto the banquet. Traditionally, its a roast baby pig. Expect this to be a little bit more expensive. Also, standard banquets include at least chicken, fish, noodles and rice(they got a choice of rice dishes on the regular menu, likeYin andYan) at the end. I also like to include sharks fin (not the lowest grade) and lobster and sometimes abalone. I somtimes mix the lobster with noodles which is a popular dish with the Cantonese. This is only for standard banquets. If its for someones birthday I will usually get the red dyed custard buns which is traditional and in the past because of the expensive dishes I order they mostly throw this in for me for free. Other traditional dishes is the winter melon soup. The whole melon is carved and the whole melon is suppose to be steamed. Most places here just cook the soup and pour it in the melon. It tastes much different when the whole thing is steamed. Good Luck of getting cooked the traditional way if you get this.

                                  The restaurant has more expensive menus if you are willing to pay. And if there are certain animals you want to eat you can ask the manager if they will make it and cut a deal with them. When I was traveling out in Asia I cut a deal with the manager to get me alligator and snake. I was hosting a snake banquet and he gave me a choice of land or sea snake. He also told me the poisonous ones were better. I also told him I wanted a steam fish and he layed out all the options they had for steamed fish in the region priced per pound. It also depends how I wanted to the fish cooked and there are different types of fish for types of dishes. I never done this in NY. I usually stick with the standard and see if there is anything the restaurant does special. I think their dinner Chef is pretty good. I would also try to go someone who speaks Chinese and better if they know food. The manager will be able tell if you are a foodie or not based on how you order and what you order. If you don't know food he will try to offload Dim Sum on you for the starter. If the manager accepts you as his customer he will offer you a card and tell you to look for him whenever you come to the restaurant. No more waiting in line for Dim Sum. When this happens at a big restaurant in Hong Kong you will get phone calls that they got a special delivery of an animal and asked if you want to participate for dinner that night. I use to get calls from Yung Kee in Hong Kong that they got a giant eel coming in at a certain day. The guy knows my family are foodies and they know we will pay for good food. This isn't stuff you get on the menu. Probably the best stuff is not on the menu if you are a real foodie in HK or Vancouver. My experience in NY is that I can't get too exotic, but if you find a place let me know. I never had a banquet at Jade Asian yet, but its on the top of my list if I were to throw my next one. Good luck!

                              2. rklimp - If hounds don't get around to making more suggestions for specific dishes to sample/add - most of these places have one if not several, and sometimes extensive, threads...