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The Best Chinese Buffet In The San Gabriel Valley

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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.