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Apr 17, 2014 03:31 PM

The Best Chinese Buffet In The San Gabriel Valley

Is now Kirin Buffet, which recently replaced Todai in the Santa Anita Mall in Arcadia. Nice selection of good quality entrees, cute little dim sum items (including a small cocktail bun), desserts include Hong Kong waffle puffs. But here's what seals it. While a number of SGV buffets cater to Chinese diners, all the others also have a significant number of non-Asian customers too, which reflects to some extent in the food offerings. In a packed dining room today at Kirin there were all of two non-Asian diners, both with Asian dining companions. Yeah, they do have kung pao chicken and garlic fries, but this is the best lineup I've seen at a Chinese buffet in L.A. outside of the fancy hotel buffets. Kirin's offerings are not as extensive as Moonstar in Daly City, but it's also cheaper--$12.95 for weekday lunch, $19.95 for dinner, higher on weekends.

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    1. I like your new avatar, but it's missing a fork. :-)

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      1. given the heat, it seemed like a good day to go to an air-conditioned mall with covered parking for lunch.

        no pics. and the following thoughts:
        - the selection *is* more varied and more catering to an asian clientele than the only other buffet i've been to in the SGV, which is the zen buffet in monrovia;
        - only one non-asian diner, with an asian companion;
        - they replenish your drinks without prompting;
        - the clams with basil would have been so much better with less grit;
        - anything deep fried (mainly tempura & deep fried fish) was typically crispy and not oily;
        - a piece of sushi roll had something in it that at first made me worry that i'd broken a tooth;
        - the sliced tataki-ed beef in the sashimi area wasn't bad;
        - the only thing in the dim sum category that i even considered was the siu mai when they were fresh;
        - i skipped the mongolian BBQ area as there's better selection at the place at rosemead & colorado;
        - the seaweed salads were overly doused with oil much reducing their palatability;
        - the chocolate fountain was a letdown. i eschewed the marshmellow in favor of strawberries that were not particularly sweet (nor was the pineapple BTW);
        - you can't screw up mango pudding/jello;

        given how they kept replenishing my beverage i felt compelled to tip which made my total expenditure about $16. i probably got my money's worth in volume (though the 5th plate was probably a bad idea). i think i would have been better off getting cold sesame chicken noodle somewhere in MP and saving $10. if i'm forced to go to a AYCE as part of a group for lunch, i'd probably opt for zen buffet at $10. YMMV.