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Generic Chinese Buffet?

Jacquilynne Jul 2, 2014 08:28 AM

My parents recently moved to Vancouver from Prince George and one of the things they miss is the kind of generic westernized Chinese food buffet / smorgasboard that Prince George has several of. Does this exist in Vancouver or is it too generic? They live near 41st and Cambie but they regularly go to Richmond and Burnaby and whatnot, so geographically flexible.

It's more the buffet style they're interested in the the All-you-can-eat aspect of it -- the places that are all-you-can-eat but you order off a menu and they bring the dishes out don't appeal to them in the same way. For those who are familiar with it, they love the Mandarin here in Ontario. It doesn't need to be as elaborate as Mandarin (none of the Prince George ones are!), but a salad bar, a hot table or two and some dessert options would be typical of what they want.

They do go to some good Chinese restaurants, too, but they've been eating the westernized stuff for a lot of years and they like it, and they like the casualness of a buffet.

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  1. Sam Salmon RE: Jacquilynne Jul 2, 2014 09:15 AM

    Maybe the buffet @ River Rock but the generic Cantonese style buffet died long ago.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Sam Salmon
      grayelf RE: Sam Salmon Jul 2, 2014 03:51 PM

      Know exactly what you mean, Jacquilynne, having dined at the one in Quesnel many times. I could be wrong but I think there may be one left on Kingsway, something like the Grand Dragon or similar (not Grand Buffet). I'll try to remember to look for it the next time I'm out that way.

    2. h
      Hachidori RE: Jacquilynne Jul 2, 2014 04:50 PM

      If they're willing to go to Coquitlam, a local blogger recently reviewed the "Asia Kitchen" buffet:

      http://www.shermansfoodadventures.com...

      1 Reply
      1. re: Hachidori
        Jacquilynne RE: Hachidori Jul 2, 2014 09:18 PM

        It's probably farther than they'd routinely go for dinner, but it's on the way to my cousin's house and might be somewhere they'd visit as part of a Sunday drive. Thanks for the suggestion!

      2. KarenDW RE: Jacquilynne Jul 3, 2014 12:43 AM

        There is a take-away place on Victoria, near 41st -- Kent's Kitchen. Basic steam-table stuff, but familiar. The shop has a constant line up; patrons take a number for service. But steady sales = good rotation of product. Zero atmosphere, but I am ok with the food for an occasional "fix."

        12 Replies
        1. re: KarenDW
          grayelf RE: KarenDW Jul 3, 2014 06:02 AM

          Hmm, I wonder if that one is related to the Kent's Kitchen in Chinatown; same sort of setup, though it has (some) seating IIRC. It's been there forever.

          1. re: grayelf
            moyenchow RE: grayelf Jul 3, 2014 12:28 PM

            I believe the two locations are related. Yup a bit of institution. As a kid growing up in late 80s into the 90s, my parents would grab a full serving of dish after work, usually a deep fried item, to help complemented the dishes for dinner at home.

            1. re: moyenchow
              LotusRapper RE: moyenchow Jul 5, 2014 12:43 PM

              Yes both Kent's Kitchen are of the same company, The Chinatown one has been there since the early '80s if not earlier, as memory serves. My Mom used to work a block away and 2-3 times a month she'd bring home take-outs. I was just there last week for my "fix", and it's hard not for me not to go there when I'm shopping in Chinatown (before it's no longer Chinatown). The place hasn't changed one iota since the '80s, and the true experience of Kent's can only be done if you eat in. At $5.50 for two items with plain rice it's a total win over costs of living increases. I'm even seeing hipsters (gasp !) there now.

              But this is not what the OP is looking for. Movin' on .......

          2. re: KarenDW
            i
            islandgirl RE: KarenDW Jul 3, 2014 08:49 AM

            Would this be similar to Ho Ho Yummy on Davie?

            1. re: islandgirl
              KarenDW RE: islandgirl Jul 3, 2014 11:31 PM

              Yes, similar concept; although my observation is that volume at KK is exponentially higher than HoHo Yummy. There are a few counter-level seats at all 3 of those locations mentioned.

            2. re: KarenDW
              Jacquilynne RE: KarenDW Jul 3, 2014 01:59 PM

              That definitely looks like the right kind of food, but I think the serve-yourself aspect of the buffet is part of what they want.

              (This thread is really making me want to eat generic westernized Chinese food.)

              1. re: Jacquilynne
                i
                islandgirl RE: Jacquilynne Jul 3, 2014 04:04 PM

                Me too! Not at all what the OP was looking for but my favourite delivery/take-away place for westernized Chinese food is the New Sun Restaurant at 2925 Cambie St (Vancouver, not Richmond).

                1. re: islandgirl
                  grayelf RE: islandgirl Jul 3, 2014 04:06 PM

                  I always wonder about New Sun. Pretty tasty, is it?

                  1. re: grayelf
                    LotusRapper RE: grayelf Jul 5, 2014 12:03 PM

                    New Sun is a hole-in-wall. Dirty room and space. Take-outs and deliveries are quite Westernized but MSG-laden and overly-greasy. I'm in the 'hood so that comes from experience.

                  2. re: islandgirl
                    Jacquilynne RE: islandgirl Jul 3, 2014 04:28 PM

                    Even without being a buffet, that might interest them just because they spend half their lives right in that area. My Dad has a lot of doctor's appointments, and the blocks around VGH are where a lot of them have their offices.

                    It would be less a place where they would go out for dinner, which is what I was trying to find, and more a place where they could grab lunch after an appointment. But grabbing lunch is also a worthy endeavor.

                    1. re: Jacquilynne
                      grayelf RE: Jacquilynne Jul 3, 2014 08:07 PM

                      I'm not sure there are any tables at all in New Sun, Jacquilynne. I think it's all takeout and delivery.

                      1. re: grayelf
                        i
                        islandgirl RE: grayelf Jul 4, 2014 07:42 AM

                        They do have tables but it's a pretty sad little place inside. I wouldn't really want to eat there personally but I have seen some people when I've picked up orders. Unfortunately, they are only open from 4pm-midnight (11pm on Sundays) so no lunch option.

                        I find the food tasty, the portions are enormous and well priced. In particular, the veggies are very well cooked (lots of variety too not just bean sprouts). You can also request no MSG which I appreciate.

                        The delivery can be a bit sketchy in terms of timeliness so I usually call and pick up or allow a 15 min buffer on their estimated time.

              2. moyenchow RE: Jacquilynne Jul 3, 2014 12:32 PM

                I think this may be a bit far from your parents home but it matches exactly what you are looking for.

                Oriental Buffet
                15140 101 Avenue
                Surrey, BC V3R 7V4

                10 Replies
                1. re: moyenchow
                  Jacquilynne RE: moyenchow Jul 3, 2014 01:48 PM

                  Surrey's not necessarily in their regular rotation, but that is definitely exactly the sort of thing they're looking for!

                  1. re: moyenchow
                    s
                    Scoffier RE: moyenchow Jul 3, 2014 05:18 PM

                    Oriental Buffet is not getting much love on Urbanspoon - only 35% like it. It's been about 10 years since I've been there, and the quality of the food back then was disgusting, so I doubt much has changed.

                    1. re: Scoffier
                      moyenchow RE: Scoffier Jul 4, 2014 12:46 PM

                      Well in general buffets are not known for great food & service but it's what the poster's parents want.

                      Sometimes the stomach wants what the stomach wants, even foodies.

                      I know better but I really like McDonald's Filet of Fish.

                      I actually think this could be it's own thread: As a Foodie I know better but I really like ......

                      1. re: moyenchow
                        s
                        Scoffier RE: moyenchow Jul 4, 2014 05:42 PM

                        I enjoy eating a meal at a good, westernized Chinese buffet myself. Years ago, there were a lot of these buffets around, some were pretty good and others were pretty bad. Places like the Oriental Buffet and the long gone Foody Goody in Richmond would, IMO, fall into the latter category.
                        Nowadays, with so many less buffets to choose from, the trick is to find a good one. For some reason, these buffets seem to be much more common in the smaller towns outside of the GVRD.

                        1. re: Scoffier
                          LotusRapper RE: Scoffier Jul 5, 2014 12:06 PM

                          Wasn't there a Grand Buffet on Kingsway in Burnaby just east of Royal Oak ? It was there for years, I even ate there (ugh) a few times because we were invited by others. Not my cup 'ol tea, 'tho.

                          1. re: LotusRapper
                            s
                            Scoffier RE: LotusRapper Jul 5, 2014 03:00 PM

                            It's still on Google street view (2012 image), near the A&W, but I can't find it listed anywhere. I guess It must be history. There was also a Chinese buffet in Columbia Square (New Westminster), but it too is long gone.

                          2. re: Scoffier
                            moyenchow RE: Scoffier Jul 5, 2014 12:37 PM

                            I think the trouble of finding Westernized Chinese food in general (not just buffets), in Vancouver speaks to the improved awareness and knowledge of non-Chinese people regarding traditional Chinese food. They know Westernize Chinese food is not the "real deal".

                            Westernize Chinese food would still exist if there was a demand for it but clearly the demand is not there and very few want to eat it.

                            However I agree when well prepared Westernize Chinese food can still be tasty.

                            1. re: moyenchow
                              LotusRapper RE: moyenchow Jul 5, 2014 03:26 PM

                              Ironically, one dish that *can* be used to gauge the quality of a Chinese (generally Cantonese) restaurant kitchen is their sweet & sour pork.

                              1. re: LotusRapper
                                s
                                Scoffier RE: LotusRapper Jul 5, 2014 05:28 PM

                                True, however in a buffet, s&s pork is often one the first casualties as it turns soggy from stewing in the sauce for too long.

                                1. re: Scoffier
                                  LotusRapper RE: Scoffier Jul 5, 2014 08:51 PM

                                  Yes. And any dish that contains crisp veggies (celery, gailan, carrots) or cashews :-/

                    2. s
                      Scoffier RE: Jacquilynne Jul 4, 2014 01:36 AM

                      Kind of a long drive, but if they happen to be in Tsawwassen, - Best Garden has a westernized style Chinese buffet on from Friday thru Sunday. Haven't been there myself but a friend of mine that lives out there says it's pretty good.

                      1. LotusRapper RE: Jacquilynne Jul 5, 2014 12:37 PM

                        There's also Win Win in North Delta:

                        http://www.shermansfoodadventures.com...

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