Friday, March 02, 2007

Buffets Around the World

I have written about "International" buffets in the United States, but what about real international buffets - buffets around the world. Is buffet dining an American phenomenon? Absolutely not. With just a little searching I have found buffets all over the world. I have not been to any of them but this is what I found.

From the number of buffets that I found in Japan, I would say that buffets in that country are very popular. There are Chinese buffets, Japanese buffets, and "International" buffets. I found several buffets in Tokyo. In Utama, Japan, one of the buffets that I have come across is Shogun Japanese Buffet Restaurant. You see that name and expect it to be on some street in the US. Well it is in Japan at 1 Utama in a shopping complex. The buffet is very popular and often crowded. Reservations were required days in advance according to the review that I read. It is a large restaurant that can seat 300. The cuisine is Japanese but items like Seafood Fettuccine are also served. Sushi lovers can get their fill at a large sushi bar that is part of the buffet. Some items - like a special oyster dish - is served to you at your table at one per person. You can see this interesting buffet here - www.hot-screensaver.com/2006/05/16/shogun-japanese-buffet-restaurant-at-1-utama/

In the United Kingdom there are many buffets. The cuisine seems to reflect the mixture of cultures immigrating to the UK and in London I found buffets that serve Chinese, Italian, Thai, Indian all on one buffet. Take a look at Red Hot Buffet Shacks - redhotbuffetshacks.co.uk/
There is even a video to watch about this restaurant. The look is a bit different than what we see here in the US and the food seems to be prepared at "live" stations. Very interesting. This one is located in Nottingham. Also in Nottingham and in Birmingham and Lincoln are Big Wok Chinese Buffet Restaurants. This oriental chain includes Chinese, Indian, Malaysian, and Indonesian cuisines on the buffet. Here is a link to their website - the music reminds me of cheesy movies in the 1960's - www.bigwok.co.uk/

Let's move east again to New Zealand. Here I found a few buffets. There is a buffet chain in New Zealand called Valentine's Licensed Buffet Restaurants. The one in Wellington got great reviews. The food is good, the people are friendly... what else could you ask for? For kids they have birthday balloons and "crazy" cocktails (?). The decor is peppermint green and pink. They serve 120 different hot and cold dishes including salads, seafood, "a carvery", cheeses, and desserts. The one is Wellington is rated 26th of all restaurants in that city. Not bad. Another buffet in Wellington called the Skyline got poor reviews for being expensive and unfriendly.

How about the Philippines? How about a buffet restaurant called Dad's that serves Turkey with stuffing and cranberry sauce, roast beef, baby back ribs, lamb, salmon and of course with all this American fare - sushi. The restaurant is popular and has long lines. The description says reasonable prices but one reviewer called it expensive. This is located in Mandaluyong.

The one that surprised me was in St. Petersburg, Russia. Not sure why I was surprised but I grew up during the Cold War. Any way, if you are in St. Petersburg you have to try Sadko. It is Russian cuisine and very popular. The description says that this is the place to try tasting traditional Russian cooking. Sounds good to me.

If I start writing about Sweden, the home of the Smorgasbord, and perhaps the originator of buffet dining, I could be writing for another hour and a half. So I will leave Sweden for its own article at some later date. In Sweden, smorgasbord is both part of the culture and an art. But that is for another time.

So if you are a world traveler and hankering for a buffet just look around most corners and you are likely to find one.

2 comments:

HH said...

Nice blog you have here... Anyway, would just like to point out that the Shogun Japanese Buffet Restaurant that you mentioned in this post is actually located in a shopping mall near Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It is the sister company of the more popular Saisaki Japanese Buffet Restaurant in Kuala Lumpur. Dinner typically costs around USD 15.

Anonymous said...

Would just like to overpoint that Shogun is indeed located in 1 Utama. NOT Kuala Lumpur. Saisaki is in Kuala Lumpur. And now Shogun has opened its second branch at the Sunway Pyramid.