Buffets to make you burst

By Grace Su (China Daily)
Updated: 2009-12-25 09:38
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Buffets to make you burst

Back home we would celebrate Christmas at my auntie Hannah's house. Christmas was a good time to eat a lot of food and drink copious amounts of alcohol, but back then it was mostly about the time spent with family and friends.

Here in Beijing, you pick your best mates and set out find the most and best food your wallet can provide - possibly even going a little over budget. Why settle for a turkey dinner when you can have turkey, all-you-can-eat lobster and foods from 12 other nations?

Looking at the swarm of people at the Golden Jaguar and the those busily pecking away at the Westin Beijing Chaoyang Hotel's holiday spread, I can't help but glow with pride when I see with how much and how fast can we Beijingers can fill - and empty - our plates.

Some of my foodie comrades prepare for the typical three-hour battle with the buffet by drinking a cup of diluted apple cider vinegar before the meal, have no meal in the morning prior to the feast and don their finest sweat pants for the vigorous task ahead.

The vinegar supposedly helps digest and burn excess fat and carbs from the food we eat.

Some top picks for this holiday season come from hotels.

They are value-driven due to intense competition and have the surest spreads to count on. Why have one Christmas dinner when you can have 12 days worth of feasts? Here are some we tried:


Since its opening last February, the Westin Beijing Chaoyang Hotel has brought their Sunday brunch game up a notch.

The per person price of 328 yuan (plus a 15 percent service charge) gets you access to a luscious spread that spans the entire second floor of the hotel, literally from the moment you get off the lift to the other side of building.

It could be the one day of the week you see so many expats in one place you might wonder if you're still in Beijing.

The new-and-improved brunch, in addition to its original stations, now comes with plenty of all-you-can-eat lobster, crab prawns (crab claws with the shell already removed), milkshake station (with Kalua and Baileys Irish Cream liqueurs) and a breakfast station that includes waffles, bacon and the rest.

Unfortunately on our visit, the dessert room no longer provided the cute green Westin to-go candy boxes, but you can now pour your own shot of vodka at no additional charge to the 368 yuan tariff for free-flowing wine or 398 yuan for unlimited Veuve champagne.

There is also a big kids area that comes complete with Xbox, face painting, plenty of games and fun food like hot dogs, popcorn and cotton candy to entertain the youngsters.

Westin Beijing Chaoyang

Price: 328 yuan per person (soft drinks) or 368 (unlimited wine) and 398 yuan (free-flowing champagne) plus a 15 percent service charge.

Tel: 59228888

Add: 1 Xinyuan Nanlu, Chaoyang district

Golden Jaguar

Granted it can feel more like a supermarket than a hotel buffet, but it is entertaining to walk right past your friends without them noticing as they focus on the cornucopia of food.

They are likely accessing all-consuming questions like: "Should I have the Korean BBQ beef now or opt for the prime rib and beef teppanyaki?"

Personally, I usually load up on the crab legs with ginger vinegar because I feel like I can eat crab forever without really ever feeling full.

Originally from Taipei, Golden Jaguar is the biggest buffet in Beijing for the price - 238 yuan per person for dinner and 198 yuan for lunch.

Bloo Dining

If you're sated by all the food you ate this holiday season and looking for a lighter buffet, Bloo Dining at Park Plaza is also easier on the purse.

Located in the sister four-star hotel to five-star neighbor Regent, Bloo's spread is only 108 yuan for two people this winter.

The Western food is mostly cold plates - cold cuts, Parma ham and melon, minimal salad items (just lettuce, cucumber, and cherry tomatoes).

Heavier on Chinese food and plain tasting, we did not eat much at the buffet - but that could have been a good thing to give our system a rest.

Bloo had a sashimi and sushi station.

Its "wildcard" station changes daily -sometimes to pasta, other times to teppanyaki.

If at the end of the meal you still feel like you have room for more (and you probably will), there is still a dessert station with at least three different items to bring back that tinge of guilt - because how can anyone finish a buffet and feel anything other than exceptionally full?