China Spice on North Lamar in Austin

I tried China Spice today. I had their soft shell crab rang muoi, beef in sha cha sauce, and crab rice in lotus leaf. I really liked China Spice. The lotus leaf crab rice was $45 (based on weight and market price of crab) for a huge amount. It consisted of perfectly cooked crab in a Cantonese white egg sauce over well seasoned crab-perfumed fried rice all wrapped in a lotus leaf and steamed to infuse the flavors. I’d had it before in Houston a few times over the years but AFAIK this is the first resto to have it in Austin. This is a Cantonese seafood restaurant, so it’s the perfect type of place to get this sort of dish. It was just sooo flavorful. It’s messy eating, but totally worth it.

The soft shell crab rang muoi was okay. The sha cha beef was a bit oily but the beef was very tender. I’d order beef there again but perhaps not that particular dish. The sha cha was nice and slightly fishy but the oiliness was off-putting.

They have a buffet, too. I rarely eat buffets in restaurants and I would not give theirs a try, either. There was a large lunch crowd eating buffet in one section of the restaurant and a few tables in our section ordering from the dinner menu…I can’t imagine getting buffet food when there is lotus leaf crab rice to be had on the full menu!

I can tell from the setup with the stage and a giant 囍 double-happiness marriage sign behind it on the wall that this place does wedding banquets, too. I’m so glad to see that former Golden Corral eventually morphed into this after being occupied by some pretty unappealing (to me, at least) places over the years. China Spice fits right into the space. Cantonese food enthusiasts, take note!


That sounds terrific, thanks! I wish you had a picture of that crab rice!

We attacked that thing and it only occurred to me that I should have taken a pic after we started. This is a picture of it on Yelp, though.

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I 'm with you, if we get two entrees it’s more than we can eat, fresher plus we get leftovers.

Yep. IMHO buffet food just doesn’t taste as good as freshly ordered food from the menu. I think buffets can work with lots of types of Indian food, and perhaps for salad bars. But for Chinese food, the veggies get soggy, the gloupy American Chinese food sauce starts to concentrate and get gloupier and saltier, the food is under seasoned to please all, etc. I just don’t get the appeal unless there is something really special on the buffet that can handle sitting around in a steaming buffet tray or under a light like that.

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