Eat Your Heart Out: Random Chinese Buffet Reviews

Since last night I have suddenly developed a severe craving for spring rolls. I need to eat some, but I am not sure if my local Chinese takeaway is open on Sundays... and if I did manage to get some, I know they wouldn't taste as nice as the spring rolls served at my local Chinese takeaway near my university. Heck, if someone gave me any sort of Chinese takeaway now, I'd snaffle it all down. It's the food of the gods. Anyhow, in an attempt to curb this craving, I've decided to write an article (cause food cravings and obsessions over games, movies and anime work in a similar way right?) reviewing a bunch of random Chinese buffets that I have been to in the last year.

Buffets of any sort can be like Marmite for some people. Some people love them and frequently return to their local Chinese buffet with their friends or family. I can't get enough of Chinese buffets, they are usually a great value for money (especially if you are a poor student) and I always love going to one if I'm looking for somewhere to eat out. However there seems to be a lot of people who can't stand them, particularly people who are a little funny about cleanliness and such things. Some buffets can be a little grubby, very loud and the staff can't always be so friendly, so this also lets the experience down too. The high difference in opinions means that it is always a pain to find a decent buffet using the internet. You go on a site like Trip Advisor or Yelp and you just find a crowd of people who cannot seem to make their minds up. Look how differing these opinions below are:

Grumpy guy:

The bit about how the man's family were seated by a man 'who resembled the sloth from ice age' is pure grump gold.

Pleasant guy: 

Notice how different this review is in comparison to the one above? These reviews are about the same place (some place called Buffet City in Exeter), believe it or not. Anyhow, now I've proved my point, here is a number of reviews of a few Chinese Buffets I have been to the last year.

Golden Orient

Price: Decent value for money considering. They also do student discount You can find the prices on their website.
Where: Stafford
Spring Roll Factor: Decent spring rolls, I ate plenty!

A bit 'motorway service station' in its feel, but still with a nice atmosphere and nice decoration (plenty of waving cats!), along with friendly staff and decent food. The selection isn't as huge as some of the other buffets I have mention in this article, but there is a nice diverse spread considering. There was one prawn dish that was particularly nice. There is a grill that freshly cooks and serves things like dumplings (which I had) for free alongside your meal. They will also sing Happy Birthday if it's your Birthday, so it's a great family environment. I was very satisfied indeed and it was a great value for money, especially since they do student discount. The manager was happy to discount our bill twice for two students, what a nice guy.

International Buffet

Price: I can't remember, I don't think it was a bad price, but they charge for tap water. Like, what the hell?
Where: Chinatown, Manchester
Spring Roll Factor: These were the best Spring Rolls out of all of the buffets listed in this article, however the other things about this place let down the entire experience.

Food was decent enough, but they charged for tap water (is that even legal?) and brought it despite the fact I said I didn't want anything to drink. Bring some bottled drinks and sneakily fill up your glasses with those. The place was a little bit run down and a bit grubby too. The best thing about this restaurant was the random rowdy girl who was kicking up a fuss because she had forgot her purse and the guys weren't going to let her out without paying, so she was calling up her boyfriend on her mobile phone to try and get him to bring it to her, which he wasn't doing in any hurry. It was people watching at its funniest. Anyway, avoid this place, it sucks.

China Buffet

Price: £8.95 during the week, £7.95 on Sundays and Bank Holidays
Where: Chinatown, Manchester
Spring Roll Factor: I remember them being pretty average, nothing special.

I went here in a bit of a hurry at lunch time as I needed to eat something before going to see the Green Day American Idiot musical at the Palace Theatre (which was incredible, may I add) and it was fairly average. It just had the bare minimum of stuff you'd expect. It was fine though and a decent price. The only worry is that if you waste food you get charged, and I am a glutton, so I had to finish my plated despite being full up. I was so filled up that I couldn't eat my dinner that night.


Price: £12.99 (Monday to Thursday, Sunday and Bank Holidays) or £14.99 (Friday to Saturday) during dinner time.
Where: Brighton 
Spring Roll Factor: Good!

This place makes Chinese Buffets look like a very posh thing. It looks like nothing special from the outside, then you enter and the decoration and interior is absolutely fantastic, with water fountains and an interesting choice of lighting. There is a huge (no exaggeration here) choice of foods to chose from including the usual starters, mains and puddings, as well as soups and Sushi. There are two chocolate fountains as well, one being milk chocolate and the other being white chocolate. Great food and a great atmosphere, and I fully recommend it to any Chinese food fan who happens to be In Brighton. One thing to mention though is the guy who makes you pay when you come in is a massive dick and a few times when I've been I have felt more like cattle being hoarded than a welcome diner. One time he also tried to charge us more than the normal price just because it was a bank holiday, despite the fact that it says no extra charge on the website. We went elsewhere that day. So overall, it'd be a perfect Chinese buffet if they fired that douche.

Dragon Inn

Price: £12.99 
Where: Crewe 
Spring Roll Factor: They were okay.

A big place with more tables than food. The choice wasn't particularly great although the staff were decent enough. The price was a little bit steep for such a small choice of dishes. It was an alright meal but not amazing. Probably wouldn't go again unless they put their prices down a bit.

Big Wok

Price: £5.99 at lunch, £9.99 at dinner.
Where: Chinatown, Birmingham 
Spring Roll Factor: I can't remember completely what they were like, but I went back for more, so they must have been good.

A nice big place with plenty of choice. I enjoyed the starters especially. Apparently they do Japanese Teppanyaki and Sushi as well, but it wasn't available when I was there. I think I'd definitely go again if I was in this part of Birmingham again. It was also a great value for money as we went at lunch time.

So in conclusion, those are my reviews about the last few Chinese Buffet restaurants I've been to in the past year. I could've just written them on Trip Advisor, but I have a website to write things on, so I might as well put it to good use.
Hopefully my reviews can help you decide on a good Chinese buffet meal if you are in those particular areas (mainly Manchester) and seriously, if you are going to have a buffet meal, you're not supposed to expect a five star restaurant environment with expensively prepared food that is free from grease and preservatives. You need to realise this before you enter. Also, for a bit of fun, try to 'beat the buffet' like Howard does in the TV show Fresh Meat.

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