Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

Sign in to follow this  
richardv

"Slumming It": Chinese Buffets in New Jersey?

Recommended Posts

A friend and co-worker of mine is very fond of all-you-can-eat Chinese buffets in NJ, but a lot of this may have to do with her three teenage sons (plus one daughter and one husband). It's a way for them to have enough different foods and not to go broke; apparently the husband eats only the raw seafood, the boys eat the meatier items, the daughter only the vegetable dishes, well you probably get the idea. They actually don't seem to love actual Chinese food that much and were not receptive to the description of the brunch at China 46, as much as they like finding the big, bountiful buffets.

And they seem to be pretty good at it. Their favorites are the "Century Buffet" just off of Rt. 3 in Clifton, the "Dynasty Buffet" in Saddle Brook, and the "Majestic Buffet" in Wayne which apparently just received some rave review in the Star Ledger or something.

I've tried these three, but for me this has to be on a night when I feel like "slumming it". The Clifton buffet was small and claustrophobic, with nothing exceptional. The Dynasty Buffet had an excellent Peking Duck, although when I attempted to eat my body-weight in it they didn't seem all that pleased; but, they also had an endless amount of ginger-and-scallion Blue Crabs (Chinatown Style) the night that I went, and I certainly had my money's worth. The Majestic Buffet was the largest, and the only one that seemed truly dirty - at least the restaurant was; we picked at the food (it was late and there was nowhere else to go) and we were quite happy that there were no ill-effects. They had a large offering of 'dim sum-like' dumplings - siu mai that were coarser and cruder than the real thing, har gao that were just not bad at all, actually, bbq pork buns, and a few other things that were eminently edible.

So, I'd like to show-off to my friend and be able to tell her about any other buffets that eGullet members may know. If you do know any in northern NJ, please post !!!

How she found these, I don't know. Do you all know any others ???

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

buffet 23...on rt 23n wayne

very well lit.....

sushi, king crab legs, grill stations, fresh made hot sugared donuts great vegetables skip the Costco desserts get the soft serve :blink:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I enjoy a good chinese buffet every once in a while and for the record NEVER EVER EVER EVER GO TO BON BUFFET in Lodi by the car wash. It tops the SYSCO truck drivers' list of places to never eat. nuf said

Fink

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
International Buffet in Bergenfield

Really? I've walked in there several times and have walked out, not being very impressed with the offerings in the steam tables.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
International Buffet in Bergenfield

Really? I've walked in there several times and have walked out, not being very impressed with the offerings in the steam tables.

I'm definitely not saying it's the best, but I think they have really good sushi and a good variety of food for the price and the location. I also like the buffet place in Saddle Brook, but most of the time i don't feel like driving 20 minutes for a buffet and it's also always packed!!! Some people I know have said they think the saddle brook buffet is salty, but i didn't think so. :biggrin:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
International Buffet in Bergenfield

Really? I've walked in there several times and have walked out, not being very impressed with the offerings in the steam tables.

Are there any that you stay and eat at? Any with particular draws of that you like for any reason?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
International Buffet in Bergenfield

Really? I've walked in there several times and have walked out, not being very impressed with the offerings in the steam tables.

Are there any that you stay and eat at? Any with particular draws of that you like for any reason?

The only one I go to is China 46's Dim Sum Brunch on Sundays.

Victor Sassoon, eGullet Society member and reviewer for the Bergen Record, recently wrote a short peice about it:

China 46 in the Bergen Record

China 46 (eG Forums, with photos)

When I was working up in the Ramsey/Mahwah area I went to the one up on Rt. 17, but I forgot its name. It wasn't bad, but then again it wasn't great either.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
International Buffet in Bergenfield

Really? I've walked in there several times and have walked out, not being very impressed with the offerings in the steam tables.

Are there any that you stay and eat at? Any with particular draws of that you like for any reason?

The only one I go to is China 46's Dim Sum Brunch on Sundays.

Victor Sassoon, eGullet Society member and reviewer for the Bergen Record, recently wrote a short peice about it:

China 46 in the Bergen Record

China 46 (eG Forums, with photos)

When I was working up in the Ramsey/Mahwah area I went to the one up on Rt. 17, but I forgot its name. It wasn't bad, but then again it wasn't great either.

I think that one is call Grand Buffet or something like that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My kids are nutz for the brunch at C46 - the foods' over the top delicious - yet your buds discount the place...?

It's easy to find bad, cheap food - why even discuss it...?

Look, if all they've done is 'read/heard a description' they ought to give China 46 on Sundays a try.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Look, if all they've done is 'read/heard a description' they ought to give China 46 on Sundays a try.

We're really not talking the same language here. China 46's Sunday brunch doesn't have a salad bar, or veal parm or pasta, or peel-and-eat shrimp with coctail sauce.

When I told her that we had tried one of her places and made a very happy meal out of ginger-scallion Blue Crabs, Peking Duck, and a chinese green vegetable, she actually said "they have those things?"

And so based on the family dining stories I hear, I really don't think China 46 is for them. Not the least of which is that they need a place for dinners, and a place that will fill up the teenage boys at night. Now, if they lived in Las Vegas, I think they'd be in heaven.

As for me, I definitely agree with the statement somewhere here that "now and then the good Chinese buffet has its place", and while I walk out of many of them, I'm still intrigued by them. And for the idea of eating a variety of things and picking "one last taste... make that two" of something that was good, I can get into them now and then. I did call it "slumming it" when I started the thread, you know, and that has its place. After all the Per Se and Babbo dinners, slumming it sometimes hits the spot, especially if you're not sure what you want to eat, and the grazing fills you up. And so when this particular friend tells me of her latest finds, I file them away check them out when I'm in the area.

Incidentally, are there non-Chinese buffets in Jersey, like you find in the south? (I may be thinking heavily of Orlando.) I'm sure she would love those, but I've never heard her mention them at all, and I've never seen any either.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I love Majestic Buffet. It's my new favorite, even though it's a bit more expensive than the others. Others that I know of:

Bon Buffet in Maywood - The original "all inclusive" buffet in the area. They used to be great, but they've gone dowhill in recent years. Still one of the better places. (Edit: Just saw Fink's post on Bon Buffet. I agree they've gone way downhill but I still thin they're OK. )

Pu Pu Inn in Elmwood Park - The original Chinese buffet, they've been around forever. Very limited selection, no desserts or anything like that, but very cheap $4.95 for lunch, $6.50 for dinner. The prices haven't changed since I was a kid (going back to the early 80s, when my mother discovered the place. )

Grand Buffet in Ramsey - Very good buffet, but I like Majestic better.

Dynasty Buffet in Saddle Brook - Been here a few times. Decent food, but the place always seems to be insanely busy.

Green's Court in Little Falls: So-so. Sometimes good, sometimes bad.

There's a huge buffet in West Orange in the Essex Green shopping center which is very popular also, but the name escapes me. They're very good too.


Edited by zhelder (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Now if the guys from East Buffet in Flushing would do one in Bergen County, we'd really have something.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another vote for the Grand Buffet on Rte. 17 in Ramsey. When I was back east visiting family a couple of years ago, several of them recommended this joint, which was just a mile or two away from my motel. I thought it was pretty decent for a buffet-style Chinese restaurant. Busy on a weeknight, but not obnoxiously zoo-y.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can't believe no one has listed the Royal Buffet Rt 10 West in east Hanover. The dishes were similar to Majestic but I found them to be much more flavorful at Royal. Just my $.02

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I can't believe no one has listed the Royal Buffet Rt 10 West in east Hanover.  The dishes were similar to Majestic but I found them to be much more flavorful at Royal.  Just my $.02

Yes, I remember this place when we lived there back in 2000. Rachel and I went there a number of times, it wasn't bad.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Saffron, Saffron, SAFFRON. East Hanover. Best Indian buffet I've seen...for $9.95pp!!

Link is here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

JP Lees in Millburn is Mongolian Barbeque but also have a Chinese buffet. I always say it is quantity over quality but the food is decent and the place is clean. The Mongolian side is actually good because you put your own meal together. Price is about $14 pp.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For a non chinese buffet there is a place around the corner from me called Town Tavern its only open thursday friday saturday they have a real menu but why bother.

Just get the seafood lovers ...or loveboat or something 23.95 walk past the salad bar (just kidding) to the chilled king crab claws and shrimp and clams...1st plate, then hit the steamed crab legs fried shrimp steam clams stuffed clams 2nd plate, you could just keep repeating this or move on to carved prime rib, ham or turkey then there is the regular hot buffet stuff, ribletts pasta vegetables meatballs 'taters.

but leave room for 2 plates of above average commercial desserts and they have a full bar

town tavern

macopin rd

west milford

edit to add

they have a private room here which we had for a club Christmas dinner for 30, great for that type of event everyone found something they liked ...like the family in the original post


Edited by rooftop1000 (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll second the Green Jade. The food there is really good and they do have other selections other than chinese.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Addressing a post earlier:

In West Orange in the Essex Green shopping center the Buffet is called "The Essex Grand Buffet." His prices are 9.95 for a weeknight dinner and a bit more on Friday and Saturday nights. I am good friends with the owner Kevin.

The Majestic Buffet by Willowbrook is owned by Kevin's uncle who used to be partners with him at the EGB (above). His name is David. I am not impressed too much with the food and the decor of the old Chuck - E- Cheese. I think the waitresses look like flight attendants and they are way too pricey for that area.

There was a buffet on Rt 10 East Hanover in a strip mall, may have been the one mentioned but that has closed. It is across the street from McDonald's and Bill & Harry. I think half of it is now a Nextel store.

I was in the Buffet on 17 in maybe Ramsey and we saw a cockroach run across the floor. So much for that place. That one is also in a strip mall on the south side of Rt 17.

Kevin's family also owns a buffet in Mt. Olive in the ITC. It's by the Sam's Club store on the lower level. It's smaller but decent.

Re: Pu Pu in I remember going to the one they had on Broad Street in Bloomfield, there was also one on Rt. 46 in Totowa (Little Falls) behind the Pizza Hut. The one in Bloomfield was called Bo Bo Inn and the one in Totowa was called PuPu as well. A smaller buffet in the back with a window to the kitchen and the window would open up and the guy would dump out whatever into the appropriate container on the buffet. Where in Elmwood park as I would definitely go check it out?

I think the buffet in Clifton by the Costco is nasty. We weren't impressed maybe it was the clientèle.

Greens Court on Rt 46 is alright. I like the peanut butter chicken. I also have a card for 10% which is nice.

The buffet on Valley Road and Hamburg Tpk in Wayne is decent. I meet my mother there for lunch sometimes as she works across the street. The name and ownership has changed a few times.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree that the peanut butter chicken at Green's Court on 46 in Totowa is great. They have a handful of other decent dishes too. And for an additional $1 you can get a plate of snow crab legs (used to be included in the buffet).

I have been going to Quing Feng in Linden lately since their food is also decent and the 9.95 price includes the crab legs. I usually eat plate after plate of the crab, and nibble on some other items. Once you figure out the decent items (they too have a really good peanut butter chicken) the fact that the rest are pretty sucky doesn't seem to matter.

Quing Feng Chinese Restaurant

25 W ELIZABETH AVE (at Wood Avenue)

LINDEN, NJ

07036-4223

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I love Majestic Buffet. It's my new favorite, even though it's a bit more expensive than the others. Others that I know of:

Bon Buffet in Maywood - The original "all inclusive" buffet in the area. They used to be great, but they've gone dowhill in recent years. Still one of the better places. (Edit: Just saw Fink's post on Bon Buffet. I agree they've gone way downhill but I still thin they're OK. )

the quality may be ok, but delivery drivers see a lot of kitchens and I had three tell me they would never eat there based on the sanitation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Similar Content

    • By liuzhou
      Note: This follows on from the Munching with the Miao topic.
       
      The three-hour journey north from Miao territory ended up taking four, as the driver missed a turning and we had to drive on to the next exit and go back. But our hosts waited for us at the expressway exit and lead us up a winding road to our destination - Buyang 10,000 mu tea plantation (布央万亩茶园 bù yāng wàn mǔ chá yuán) The 'mu' is  a Chinese measurement of area equal to 0.07 of a hectare, but the 10,000 figure is just another Chinese way of saying "very large".
       
      We were in Sanjiang Dong Autonomous County, where 57% of the inhabitants are Dong.
       
      The Dong people (also known as the Kam) are noted for their tea, love of glutinous rice and their carpentry and architecture. And their hospitality. They tend to live at the foot of mountains, unlike the Miao who live in the mid-levels.
       
      By the time we arrived, it was lunch time, but first we had to have a sip of the local tea. This lady did the preparation duty.
       

       

       
      This was what we call black tea, but the Chinese more sensibly call 'red tea'. There is something special about drinking tea when you can see the bush it grew on just outside the window!
       
      Then into lunch:
       

       

      Chicken Soup
       

      The ubiquitous Egg and Tomato
       

      Dried fish with soy beans and chilli peppers. Delicious.
       

      Stir fried lotus root
       

      Daikon Radish
       

      Rice Paddy Fish Deep Fried in Camellia Oil - wonderful with a smoky flavour, but they are not smoked.
       

      Out of Focus Corn and mixed vegetable
       

      Fried Beans
       

      Steamed Pumpkin
       

      Chicken
       

      Beef with Bitter Melon
       

      Glutinous (Sticky) Rice
       

      Oranges
       

      The juiciest pomelo ever. The area is known  for the quality of its pomelos.
       
      AFter lunch we headed out to explore the tea plantation.
       

       

       

       

       
      Interspersed with the tea plants are these camellia trees, the seeds of which are used to make the Dong people's preferred cooking oil.
       

       
      As we climbed the terraces we could hear singing and then came across this group of women. They are the tea pickers. It isn't tea picking time, but they came out in their traditional costumes to welcome us with their call and response music. They do often sing when picking. They were clearly enjoying themselves.
       

       
      And here they are:
       
       
      After our seranade we headed off again, this time to the east and the most memorable meal of the trip. Coming soon.
       
       
    • By liuzhou
      Last week, Liuzhou government invited a number of diplomats from Laos, Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar/Burma, Poland, and Germany to visit the city and prefecture. They also invited me along. We spent Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday introducing the diplomats to the culture of the local ethnic groups and especially to their food culture.
       
      First off, we headed two hours north into the mountains of Rongshui Miao Autonomous County. The Miao people (苗族 miáo zú), who include the the Hmong, live in the mid-levels of mountains and are predominantly subsistence farmers. Our first port of call was the county town, also Rongshui (融水 róng shuǐ, literal meaning: Melt Water) where we were to have lunch. But before lunch we had to go meet some people and see their local crafts. These are people I know well from my frequent work trips to the area, but for the diplomats, it was all new.
       
      So, I had to wait for lunch, and I see no reason why you shouldn't either. Here are some of the people I live and work with.


       
      This lovely young woman is wearing the traditional costume of an unmarried girl. Many young women wear this every day, but most only on festive occasions.
       
      Her hat is made from silver (and is very heavy). Here is a closer look.
       

       
      Married women dispense with those gladrags and go for this look:
       

       
      As you can see she is weaving bamboo into a lantern cover.
       
      The men tend to go for this look, although I'm not sure that the Bluetooth earpiece for his cellphone is strictly traditional.
       

       
      The children don't get spared either
       

       
      This little girl is posing with the Malaysian Consul-General.
       
      After meeting these people we went on to visit a 芦笙 (lú shēng) workshop. The lusheng is a reed wind instrument and an important element in the Miao, Dong and Yao peoples' cultures.
       

       

       
      Then at last we headed to the restaurant, but as is their custom, in homes and restaurants, guests are barred from entering until they go through the ritual of the welcoming cup of home-brewed rice wine.
       


      The consular staff from Myanmar/Burma and Malaysia "unlock" the door.
       
      Then you have the ritual hand washing part.
       

       
      Having attended to your personal hygiene, but before  entering the dining room, there is one more ritual to go through. You arrive here and sit around this fire and wok full of some mysterious liquid on the boil.
       

       
      On a nearby table is this
       

       
      Puffed rice, soy beans, peanuts and scallion. These are ladled into bowls.
       

       
      with a little salt, and then drowned in the "tea" brewing in the wok.
       
      This is  油茶 (yóu chá) or Oil Yea. The tea is made from Tea Seed Oil which is made from the seeds of the camellia bush. This dish is used as a welcoming offering to guests in homes and restaurants. Proper etiquette suggests that three cups is a minimum, but they will keep refilling your cup until you stop drinking. First time I had it I really didn't like it, but I persevered and now look forward to it.
       

      L-R: Director of the Foreign Affairs Dept of Liuzhou government, consuls-general of Malaysia, Myanmar, Laos.
       
      Having partaken of the oil tea, finally we are allowed to enter the dining room, where two tables have been laid out for our use.
       

       
      Let the eating, finally, begin.
       
      In no particular order:
       

      Steamed corn, taro and sweet potato
       

      Bamboo Shoots
       

      Duck
       

      Banana leaf stuffed with sticky rice and mixed vegetables and steamed.
       

      Egg pancake with unidentified greenery
       

      Stir fried pork and beans
       

      Stir fried Chinese banana (Ensete lasiocarpum)
       

      Pig Ears
       

      This may not look like much, but was the star of the trip. Rice paddy fish, deep fried in camellia tree seed oil with wild mountain herbs.
      We ate this at every meal, cooked with slight variations, but never tired of it.
       

      Stir fried Greens
       
      Our meal was accompanied by the wait staff singing to us and serving home-made rice wine (sweetish and made from the local sticky rice).
       
       
       
       
      Everything we ate was grown or reared within half a kilometre of the restaurant and was all free-range, organic. And utterly delicious.
       
      Roll on dinner time.
       
      On the trip I was designated the unofficial official photographer and ended up taking 1227 photographs. I just got back last night and was busy today, so I will try to post the rest of the first day (and dinner) as soon as I can.
    • By liuzhou
      These have been mentioned a couple of times recently on different threads and I felt they deserved one of their own. After all, they did keep me alive when I lived in Xi'an.
       
      Rou jia mo (ròu jiá mò; literally "Meat Sandwich") are Chinese sandwiches which originated in Shaanxi Province, but can be found all over China. Away from their point of origin, they tend to be made with long stewed pork belly. However in Xi'an (capital of Shaanxi), there is a large Muslim population so the meat of choice is more usually beef. In nearby Gansu Province, lamb or mutton is more likely.
       
      When I was living in Xi'an in 1996-1997, I lived on these. I was living on campus in North-West University (西北大学) and right outside the school gate was a street lined with cheap food joints, most of which would serve you one. I had one favourite place which I still head to when I visit. First thing I do when I get off the train.
       
      What I eat is Cumin Beef Jia Mo (孜然牛肉夹馍 zī rán niú ròu jiá mò). The beef is stir fried or BBQd with cumin and mild green peppers. It is also given a bit of a kick with red chill flakes.
       
      Here is a recipe wrested from the owner of my Xi'an favourite. So simple, yet so delicious.
       

      Lean Beef
       
      Fairly lean beef is cut into slivers
       

      Chopped Beef (sorry about the picture quality - I don't know what happened)
       

      Chopped garlic
       
      I use this single clove garlic from Sichuan, but regular garlic does just fine.
       
      The beef and garlic are mixed in a bowl and generously sprinkled with ground cumin. This is then moistened with a little light soy sauce. You don't want to flood it. Set aside for as long as you can.
       

      Mild Green Chilli Pepper
       
      Take one or two mild green peppers and crush with the back of a knife, then slice roughly. You could de-seed if you prefer. I don't bother.
       

      Chopped Green Pepper
       
      Fire up the wok, add oil (I use rice bran oil) and stir fry the meat mixture until the meat is just done. 
       

      Frying Tonight
       
      Then add the green peppers and fry until they are as you prefer them. I tend to like them still with a bit of crunch, so slightly under-cook them
       

      In with the peppers
       
      You will, of course, have prepared the bread. The sandwiches are made with a type of flat bread known as 白吉饼 (bái jí bǐng; literally "white lucky cake-shape"). The ones here are store bought but I often make them. Recipe below.
       

      Bai Ji Bing
       
      Take one and split it. Test the seasoning of the filling, adding salt if necessary. It may not need it because of the soy sauce. 
       

      Nearly there
       
      Cover to make a sandwich  and enjoy. You will see that I have used a bunch of kitchen paper to hold the sandwich and to soak up any escaping juices. But it should be fairly dry.
       

      The final product.
       
      Note: I usually cook the meat and pepper in batches. Enough for one sandwich per person at a time. If we need another (and we usually do) I start the next batch. 
       
       
      Bread Recipe
       
       
      350g plain flour
      140ml water
      1/2 teaspoon instant yeast

      Mix the yeast with the flour and stir in the water. Continue stirring until a dough forms. Knead until smooth. Cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap and leave to rise by about one third. (maybe 30-40 minutes).
       
      Knead again to remove any air then roll the dough into a log shape around 5cm in diameter, then cut into six portions. Press these into a circle shape using a rolling pin. You want to end up with 1.5cm thick buns. 
       
      Preheat oven to 190C/370F.
       
      Dry fry the buns in a skillet until they take on some colour about a minute or less on each side, then finish in the oven for ten minutes. Allow to cool before using.
    • By Chris Hennes
      I just got a copy of Grace Young's "Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge"—I enjoyed cooking from "Breath of a Wok" and wanted to continue on that path. Does anyone else have this book? Have you cooked anything from it?

      Here was dinner tonight:

      Spicy Dry-Fried Beef (p. 70)

      I undercooked the beef just a bit due to a waning propane supply (I use an outdoor propane-powered wok burner), but there's nothing to complain about here. It's a relatively mild dish that lets the flavors of the ingredients (and the wok) speak. Overall I liked it, at will probably make it again (hopefully with a full tank of gas).


    • By liuzhou
      We are all used to unami now. Maybe it's time to consider gan. Particularly found in teas, but also in other foods. An interesting article from a great magazine.
       
      Going, going gan
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×