Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >
Sep 28, 2010 07:31 AM

Proliferation of Asian buffets...

Is food oft served in buffet style restaurants in Asian Countries?
I am wondering why I am seeing such a proliferation of buffets with Asian style food.

In the area in which Ilive there are two Japanese/sushi buffets (food's not bad) TONS of "Chinese" buffets... I use that term in quotes, because most of the food is no more Chinese than I am (do Chinese people really eat shrimp smothered in Mayonaise sauce?)

We've been to a few of these places.. one in our area is frequented by many different cultures of Asians and their food is reflective of that, and they do a really good job of putting out fresh, tasty offerings

Most of the places have stuff like the aforementioned offending shrimp... or "apple pie" which is some gloppy apple goo in a poor excuse for flaky pastry sitting under a hot lamp for goodness knows how long!

Is it just our area (Southeast PA) that has so many of them or are they cropping up alot where you are?

Do you find the food to be sub-par for the most part?

What do you think that says about what the owners of these places think about how & what Americans eat?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. America is projected to be 75% overweight / obese by 2020, and I don't see how we can hit that target without cheap asian buffets. They are merely providing what the market demands.
    I was a guest at one in FL, and the experience was somewhere between SNL and Twilight Zone. Whenever a new steamer tray of snow crab legs - the premium item - came out of the kitchen, the morbidly obese around the room would simultaneously arise and throw their waddle into overdrive to be first in queue, with all the grace of a pregnant toad.
    Oh, and a car in the parking lot had a bumper sticker that read "fat people are harder to kidnap".

    4 Replies
    1. re: Veggo

      That scene is repeated thousands of times all over the country, every day, my friend!

      1. re: Veggo

        "America is projected to be 75% overweight / obese by 2020,"
        Really? I believe you, but WOW!

        1. re: enbell

          And it's a big business. Wide body chairs, toilets, bath towels, even vacation destinations for large people. For decades, airlines used an average of 165 pounds per passenger including baggage when doing the weight and balance calculations for their flights. That figure is now closer to 195, and is still too low.

        2. re: Veggo

          The snow crab dance is also on the hit parade at buffets in the casinos in my small Colorado town.

          Thankfully I have finally convinced visiting relatives that it is much better to have dinner at my house before going out to gamble so I have not had to endure any buffets lately.

        3. I think that the owners of these places are cashing in on Americans' penchant for fast food and a lot of it. I live not very far from you (south central PA) and we have quite a few of these places. The food is uniformly bad and bad for you, mostly fried and breaded, with heavy, gloppy, sugary sauces. What does it say about the quality of the food if people can fill their plates to overflowing several times for $7.99 and the restaurant can still make money? The newest trend seems to be pan-Asian buffets that put out Chinese, Japanese, Thai and even Indian dishes. I have to admit that I've eaten at these restaurants several times--generally when someone else wants to go--and I've always regretted it, and so has my stomach!

          1. I went to one of these buffets, once. Never again! They are, in a word, depressing. And they're spreading like the squank all across the fruited plain.

            O, for the old Chinese mom n' pop places which are now scarcer than hen's teeth!

            1 Reply
            1. re: Perilagu Khan

              There is a General Store in a little town in Seargentsville NJ... (the town looks like something off a Norman Rockwell painting)
              the General Store is now owned by a Chinese family and they serve pork buns and home made dumplings!
              Totally unexpected to see Chinese food in a General Store... but I'm not knocking it!

              THAT'S good food! (it's all home made)

            2. We drive from San Diego to Detroit and back once a year. There is some 'chain' of Asian buffets about every 100 miles. Semi trucks do not stop to eat at any of them. Buses do.

              We won't. Too many other interesting places to find.

              There are some in the San Diego area which are pretty good. (Fresh and homemade)

              1 Reply
              1. re: Cathy

                I live in San Diego and I'll agree with this although they're quite a bit more than $7.99 to eat at.

              2. IMO, Asian food is the one that's mostly likely to suffer from steam table-ing. For me the point of Asian cuisines is freshness.

                4 Replies
                1. re: c oliver

                  That's my feeling, too. If you include Indian food, then possibly their braised dishes don't suffer as much but anything stir fried needs to be eaten quickly. But, it's what sells. My husband's uncle opened a Chinese place w/ more authentic (don't want to get into a debate about that but it had duck tongue, suckling pig, among other foods). He almost went out of business so he switched to a cheap buffet and business is thriving. His wife makes boxed baked goods and people rave about it.

                  1. re: chowser

                    I have no problem with inauthentic Chinese food in principal. Bring on the pork fried rice, the kung po chicken, the wonton soup and the yu shang beef. My objection is to these sorts of dishes done poorly and indifferently. And that's what you get--at best--when you set foot in one of these Asian food troughs. (And the less said about the clientele and the ambience the better.)

                    1. re: Perilagu Khan

                      I love good American Chinese food. But, it's not what you find at buffets. I can't think of anyone who runs a cheap Chinese buffet who does it out of love for cooking and preparing great food. It's about profit. Not that I'm slamming it, businesses have to make a profit. But, in these cases, good food isn't important.

                      1. re: Perilagu Khan

                        im pretty sure they have fried rice and won ton soup in china