New Jersey China Buffets

(Greg Caggiano) #1

As per @corvette_johnny’s request. A thread dedicated to the wonders and glory of the Chinese Buffet.

It can either be a cultural experience or a place where you hang your head in shame. To me, Teppanyaki in East Brunswick is the best. They have at least 10 islands of hot food, 4 cold, plus sushi and a hibachi grill. One island is strictly authentic Chinese such as frog legs, chicken feet, tripe, etc. The rest cover your takeout classics and “American” food. They have a large enough selection that you really feel like you’re having an experience. It is not fine cuisine, but the food is hot and fresh. A large crowd allows for good food turnover. Price is $15 per person (and a dollar more for weekends I think)

Then you have China Buffet in Hazlet which I described in another thread:

The China Buffet in Hazlet (used to be same owners as Eatontown) isn’t much better. I tried it last year after not being there since I was a child. I was praying no one would see me there. I didn’t even review it! But of course, halfway through I hear a “Hey Greg!”. It was a former coworker of mine.
Anyway, food is dreadful. Lukewarm, soggy, limp. Everything looks old. It could come right out of the wok and still not be hot. Bizarre. They had nice looking pastries for dessert but were hard as a rock. Probably bought day old items from Normandie bakery a few doors down.
The Middletown location was actually decent but closed and their replacement was even better but failed as well.

I enjoyed the Middletown one for years. They had a guy at the grill who made excellent cheeseburgers (of all things). Their replacement was Hao Sushi Seafood Buffet which went all out with sushi and only had average hot food. Location size/rent plus too good of a bang for the buck, I believe, led to its downfall.

Meanwhile, the Hazlet one charges the same $15 as Teppanyaki and offers a quarter of the product. I don’t know how anyone could walk in or out and not feel ashamed.

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#2

I remember one of the Middletown ones I was not a fan of. I forgot what the name was but I just didn’t feel it. I saw sushi just sitting out and passed on that. I think it might have been hao. What is there now?

The last time I went was the Eatontown one well over a year ago…probably more like 2 years. Man time flies by!

OK on the buffet topic does anyone have any tips? Joon turned me onto his trick. You go and ransack the raw shrimp near the grill lol. Get a monster plate full. Then go get a nice ladle full of butter, some garlic and some chili oil. Get the cook to whip up a nice batch of garlic shrimp that are nice and hot.

Mine is to bring in one of those tea candle butter warmers. You go destroy the snow crab bin and bring back a boat load when they bring out a fresh batch. Then with really hot butter it is a lot more enjoyable tham room temp butter and crab.

Who has more China buffet hacks? Lol

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(Joon) #3

Mine is to bring in one of those tea candle butter warmers. You go destroy the snow crab bin and bring back a boat load when they bring out a fresh batch. Then with really hot butter it is a lot more enjoyable tham room temp butter and crab.

Wait what?? That is insane you bring your own butter warmer to the buffet?

Then again I bring my own kitchen shears for the crab legs… :blush:

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#4

Bruthas from another mutha.

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#5

Yeah man! Let me go find it. I’ll get you a pic. It will turn your China buffet experience into something else. You bring some beer, ask for ice, and just hammer down crab for like 2 hours with piping hot butter. Just bring a tea candle or two, a lighter or matches, and you have hot butter to fix those crabs up. The ticket is to watch the kitchen door and know where the crab is positioned. As you look at the buffet the crab is going to be to the back left corner so when you see the guy stopping there, get up quickly and go ape shit. Grab all the large legs and claws. They will go luke warm as you have a giant plate full, but with the hot butter it makes a world of difference! It is all about tactical planning. : )

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#6

Here you go my friend!

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#7

I may possibly be a korean guy trapped in the body of a fat white guy! Hahahaa! I hope to visit there one day.

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#8

We bring our own real butter to Waffle House and to a local breakfast place that has great pancakes and biscuits but both serve mystery margin.

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#9

We bring nut crackers and pickers for blue crabs in Galveston.

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(Miss_belle) #10

I know this is a NJ Chinese Buffet thread but I just have to chime in.

Here in TX I would never in a million years eat the seafood at an AUCE Chinese Buffet.

Boiled shrimp. Mussels (omg) thawed crab claws … no thank you,. I just don’t trust these places with cold seafood. You don’t know how it’s been stored. The rest of the stuff seems ok though :blush:

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#11

You may remember this from another post but we were told not to return to an all you can eat cook it yourself Mongolian BBQ.

I hope this doesn’t happen to you or you may have to borrow Not JR’s Groucho disguise.

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#12

I’m with you, plus I don’t want eat to farm raised shrimp. I’ve taken it a step farther, I don’t trust the proteins at non buffet places so I go vegetarian on the entrees but I do need my wonton soup and ribs.

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(Greg Caggiano) #13

Truth. I was once nearly stampeded to my death by Chinese men while trying to make a move on some Ginger Scallion Lobster at Teppanyaki. I learned very quickly that they take it as a life or death game, and I had to learn to play. At first, it was like The Most Dangerous Game where I had to carefully stalk. I developed two strategies:

  1. Grab two plates, put one on top of the other, lightly pick on random items with a constant eye on the prize. That way as soon as it exits the kitchen, you are already on the field and in motion. Simple pull out the clean plate, go elbow to elbow with the other enthusiasts and start hording.

  2. I call this the “Watchful Parent” strategy. Simply sitting at your table, ass halfway off the seat, neck and shoulders arched and eyes searing a UV beam into the kitchen door waiting to make a move.

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(Joon) #14

Son, you think this is a game? Chinese buffets are serious business. Your techniques are bush league stuff. Here’s how it’s really done. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wMVjskBB4w0

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#15

I think your first sentence is a DMX copyright. Once he gets out of jail he may come after you lol

Dont open this unless you know what DMX is about

Greg, that was a funny post! Good stuff

@jcostiones I’ve never bought a blue claw in my life from a restaurant, but I like your style. Hopefully this turns into a cool buffet thread.

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#16

I’m 120 miles round trip from a live crab in the water and I’ve done it many times but now any trip to Galveston will be an overnight stay with the Wifeacita so it’s not practical.

We get the Cajun fried crabs at Benno’s on the Seawall plus blackened oysters or an occasional fried whole catfish.

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#17

I’m glad to live a few minutes from some good crabbing. It isn’t cheap around here but good crabs help me feel better about high taxes and pretty much high everything :confused:

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#18

Plus the fresh ones taste better than the ones I can buy 10 minutes away from me at a couple of Korean markets.

A friend of mine and I went a couple of years ago and they were much better than the ones I can get that have been sitting in boxes for a couple of days even though they’re alive when I buy them and get them home.

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(Junior) #19

Holy sh*t what direction has this thread taken, so far we have:

BYO butter warmers
BYO kitchen shears
WWF take downs at the crab station
WTF? Korean buffet video (seriously @joonjoon is it really like that?)
DMX nuff’ said
Texas buffet’s
Coolers of beer

My head is spinning reading this thread, here is what I have to contribute. I"m not normally a crab legs guy at the buffet, because they don’t use real butter. They use that movie theater butter stuff it’s way too golden yellow and has a slightly syrupy consistency that it ruins the crab for me. However the @corvette_johnny method could change that if I could ask them for a stick of real butter!! (if not f*ck it I will bring my own if I’m bringing the warmer!!!

For me the draw of the Chinese Buffet is the peel and eat shrimp. I don’t know why or what kind of shrimp they use, but i’m addicted to those dam things. Oddly enough their cocktail sauce while not overly spicy is very good so I really enjoy that combo. They also have (the Eatontown location) fried shrimp, which admittedly are frozen but they are very good as well. 90% of my meal will consist of peel-n-eat and fried shrimp.

The Tokyo Buffet in Manalapan(?) on Rt. 9, in the Old Country Buffet location probably has the highest quality food for a Chinese Buffet in the area. (in my opinion) But their peel n eat shrimp aren’t as good. lol

The Teppanyaki Grill Rt. 18 in East Brunswick has good peel and eat shrimp but also oysters on the half shell. I will admit that I’m a little apprehensive eating oysters at a place like this, but shit I’m a craps guy so I like to play the odds. They do not have crab legs here but they do have a lobster dish or two and they have some other crab options, I have not tried them. This is by far the largest of the Chinese Buffets in the area and has the greatest turnover on the food.

One night I was having a particularly shitty day and just wanted to drown my woes in a plate full of peel n eat shrimp so I went to the buffet in Eatontown. I went to the liquor store next door and bought a bottle of stoli and brought it next door with me. I sat there a good hour pouring myself drinks and peeling and eating…I’m not sure they are used to people bringing their own vodka lol but they adjusted.

I don’t dare suggest this as a legitmate Ho’down, but let’s call it a Ho’pig-out - it would be pretty funny if a large table of us showed up with our butter warmers, cooler of beer (and a bottle of vodka) our kitchen shears, bibs and whatever tool’s of the trade we and put a serious dent in their profitability for the week. I honestly wonder if we had a table of 10+ if they would just bring a tray of crab to the table for us. If not we just surround the food island with the crab legs like Kennedy did to Cuba and nobody get’s past the convoy unless they are carrying a tray of crab.

I will supply the Groucho glasses for all attendees, I’m not sure any of us will want to admit we were a part of this debauchery. That being said, I’m IN !!!

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(Jeff) #20

Wait… you folks still use those tiny plates the buffet supplies? Bring a couple of these.

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