Posted: Mar 28, 2008 4:42 pm
If there are no Chinese people eating there, it's a sign the place is probably lousy. The "there should be the appropriate ethnicity eating in the ethnic restaurant" rule is truer than ever with Chinese food. Chinese people will totally eat at a place that isn't "authentic," but they generally won't eat there if it's of cruddy quality.
Another big problem with Chinese food is the quality control. Not only can you order the same item at 10 different places and get 10 almost completely dishes, you can go to the same place 10 times and get 10 almost completely dishes. Kung Pao and Chow Mein are usually pretty reliable, but I've even had some pretty wacky dishes come when I've ordered those items. I generally try and stay away from chicken at cheaper Chinese places, unless it's deep fried, as the cheapo places seem to use some really cut-rate looking chicken pieces. There's often a lot of unknown bits floating around in there.
For Chinese buffets, with few exceptions, it's not gonna be great. But if you just want to make a pig of yourself for cheap (like I often do) and not get sick, take a look at the buffet first.
This is my favorite:If I see a shrimp dish, I like to take out all the shrimp, and leave everything else behind.
Thanks to you, there are a lot of places that put a limit on how many servings you can get of the shrimp dishes. At the buffet near where I work, almost everything is self-serve, but they actually have ladies behind the buffet to distribute the shrimp dishes, so folks don't hoard the shrimp. An outrage!