Chinese Food

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7,543
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California
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1,866
Location
California
Customers found the proprietor of a local Papa Murphy's sleeping on the floor in the bathroom a few years ago. He was napping curled around the toilet instead of serving customers. Rotten toppings and other little horrors were also discovered. The place was shut down in less time it took to bake a pizza pie and it hasn't come back.
 
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6,559
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San Francisco Bay Area
Yep, I’m familiar with that Empire Buffet. To say it’s a grease pit is an understatement but it was better than Hometown Buffet in Pinole.

Hometown is closed now. I believe the chain (with several different restaurant names) is almost gone now. I think the last time I'd ever had any Hometown was in Vacaville years ago. It was Sunday and for some reason I tried their menudo.

I haven't been to the Empire buffet since maybe 2003 or 2004. Not sure why I did, but they had Chinese style frog legs that day.
 
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7,543
Location
California
Hometown is closed now. I believe the chain (with several different restaurant names) is almost gone now. I think the last time I'd ever had any Hometown was in Vacaville years ago. It was Sunday and for some reason I tried their menudo.

I haven't been to the Empire buffet since maybe 2003 or 2004. Not sure why I did, but they had Chinese style frog legs that day.
The one in Concord is now a Golden Corral.

as for Empire Buffet, I’m happy with their chow mein and questionable seafood. I haven’t gotten food poisoning... yet.
 
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17,854
Location
Silicon Valley
Franchises are really hard to keep up when the business goes downhill. Quiznos has some good sandwiches I like but the HQ just franchises too many of them and most franchisees end up losing money and mismanaged them, same for Jack in the Boxes as they are usually poorly run.

McDonalds did ok as they have a higher bar to maintain and the franchisees usually know what they are doing. I heard back in the late 90s they need to be at least a millionaire and have MBAs. While I don't believe this will automatically improve their qualities they definitely screened out those who will not have the resources and will to run the places through tough time.

Hometown Buffet, I remember they used to be reasonable back in the early 2000s. I remember back in 2002 or so I came out of a job interview and went there for a Valentine's day dinner, with my suit still on (that's normal back then). While getting food there was a 6 year old came up to me, and told me "We're running out of Mac and Cheese". I was puzzled for a few seconds and got a stare from him, then I realize I dressed like a manager there. I had to tell him I didn't work there.
 
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6,559
Location
San Francisco Bay Area
Hometown Buffet, I remember they used to be reasonable back in the early 2000s. I remember back in 2002 or so I came out of a job interview and went there for a Valentine's day dinner, with my suit still on (that's normal back then). While getting food there was a 6 year old came up to me, and told me "We're running out of Mac and Cheese". I was puzzled for a few seconds and got a stare from him, then I realize I dressed like a manager there. I had to tell him I didn't work there.

The company was Buffets, Inc. and they operated under several brands through mergers - like Old Country Buffet and Ryan's Buffet. At their peak they probably had over 1000 locations. I went to one near Seattle and they had a brochure with locations listed around the US. I hear they're now down to about 60.

Ovation Brands, based in the San Antonio suburb of Hollywood Park, Texas, was a subsidiary of Food Management Partners, Inc. and a operator of a number of American national buffet chain restaurants including subsidiary company Furr's. The company's restaurants included steak-buffets, as well as steakhouse restaurants with menus that range from grilled-to-order steaks, single-serve dishes, scratch-made soups, entrees and desserts, beverage bars, buffets, chops and grilled seafood, and others. It was previously known as Buffets, Inc.​
Their restaurants were known as Old Country Buffet, HomeTown Buffet and Ryan's Buffet. As of May 27, 2020, the company had 66 locations.​
 
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7,543
Location
California
The company was Buffets, Inc. and they operated under several brands through mergers - like Old Country Buffet and Ryan's Buffet. At their peak they probably had over 1000 locations. I went to one near Seattle and they had a brochure with locations listed around the US. I hear they're now down to about 60.
there was an undercover boss episode with the CEO of Buffets, Inc. it was one of the more interesting ones for me.

The Pinole location was usually busy on Sunday mornings - the church crowd would all go there after Sunday services.
 
I travelled through south east China in the mid 80’s and can say I recognize the Cantonese food that became the mainstay of American Chinese food. The toughest part was that in the rural areas, English was not spoken much, but every restaurant owner knew what “ flied rice” was. I survived on mostly “ flied rice” and Coca Cola. The food available at any American Chinese restaurant would have been considered festival food back in China. Typical street vendor food might have been as simple as boiled bok choy on rice.
 
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6,559
Location
San Francisco Bay Area
there was an undercover boss episode with the CEO of Buffets, Inc. it was one of the more interesting ones for me.

The Pinole location was usually busy on Sunday mornings - the church crowd would all go there after Sunday services.

Well - I used to go to Elephant Bar at Bay Street in Emeryville. Didn't necessarily partake in their "pan-Asian" offerings. However, my first time was on for Sunday lunch. I noticed a lot of the patrons seemed to be coming straight from black churches in West Oakland, and commented to my server that I was thinking they probably didn't drink after church. He said that they would get a lot of orders for mimosas.
 
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17,854
Location
Silicon Valley
I travelled through south east China in the mid 80’s and can say I recognize the Cantonese food that became the mainstay of American Chinese food. The toughest part was that in the rural areas, English was not spoken much, but every restaurant owner knew what “ flied rice” was. I survived on mostly “ flied rice” and Coca Cola. The food available at any American Chinese restaurant would have been considered festival food back in China. Typical street vendor food might have been as simple as boiled bok choy on rice.
I wouldn't call them festival food, that would be an insult to festivals. However in the 80s there were still food shortage back in China and they were running food ration / quota system. You pretty much are limited to how much you can buy and if you want to buy more you have to go to the black market for the "food stamps", and when you don't need certain amount you can also sell them on the black market. You still pay cash, but you cannot buy food if you don't have your food stamps.

There are something resemble sweet and sour pork, fried rice, egg flower soup, wonton, etc and they are actually quite common in school and office area cafeteria. I remember our school cafeteria have 2 types of premade lunches they just made in mass production that morning / the night before, then serve over hot rice. I believe this is how American style Chinese fast food came from, or influence back.

I remember when I was a kid there were street vendor selling hot lunch in "deli style", aka the Boston Market style ordering system, in the back of a van, unlicensed, into disposable boxes. If health board / police were approaching they will just drive off.
 
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Messages
2,813
Location
NYC
I do like Chinese food
Being here in NYC, it's pretty much a birthright
Most is standard American style, but a few minutes searching (or just going straight to Chinatown) will get you something more authentic
I wonder where the old school noodle houses have gone, I must investigate this summer :unsure:
$10 lunch specials have all the greatest hits, pork fried rice, General Tso/Orange/Sesame/Sweet & Sour chicken s, beef or chicken w/a vegetable or sauce, Pork lo xyz

I never could stomach Mushu pork, **** you Disney😭

Once we got a Panda Express and a Sarku, I now firmly believe chains can suck the soul out of a ethnic backgrounds food

Maybe it's just because I'm spoiled for choice, who knows 🤨
 
In Calgary we have quite a few Dim Sum Resturant’s where the server brings a wagon around with all sorts of authentic Chinese food, some rather interesting such as chicken feet with the toes still on. They waste nothing.
 
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3,842
Location
Nashville, TN via Memphis
Anybody ever actually had Peking Duck?

My mom told me that it was excellent, and the most famous Chinese dish.

Always requires ordering in advance.

We have a pretty good Chinese sit-down restaurant called China Cottage near us on the NE side of Nashville.

It’s not the kind of Chinese takeout restaurant that’s most common these days that’s usually found in strip malls (you know, bright fluorescent lighting, cheap tables but no table side service, most folks coming in and ordering Americanized “Chinese-style“ takeout fried food like sweet & sour chicken).

They actually have table side service, play traditional Chinese music, subdued lighting, like an old-fashioned Chinese restaurant.

They have Peking Duck on the menu, and I told my wife the other day that we need to order that sometime. Never had it.
 
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7,543
Location
California
Anybody ever actually had Peking Duck?
in many chinatowns, Peking duck is a common item at a Chinese BBQ stall, along with char siu pork, soy sauce chicken(which is steamed, not roasted) and roast pork. I’ve bought a roast duck many times - it’s a simple meal with rice and pickled veggies(carrots, daikon, green papaya).
 
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47,817
Location
Everson WA - Pacific NW USA
Anybody ever actually had Peking Duck?
I actually had it in a fancy hotel in Taipei. (Cannot remember hotel name from 2001) "People" said this version is better than any mainland version.

Bejing kao ya. First of all it's not exactly what you might think of duck, the first portion is not roast duck as one might know but more thin slice of meat with delicious crispy melty skin. It was REALLY good, melt in your mouth good. Really tasty.

That said I like just common BBQ as nthatch mentions. whole kao ya shared with the wife, rice, sides, ther dishes. Really good eating.
 
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6,559
Location
San Francisco Bay Area
in many chinatowns, Peking duck is a common item at a Chinese BBQ stall, along with char siu pork, soy sauce chicken(which is steamed, not roasted) and roast pork. I’ve bought a roast duck many times - it’s a simple meal with rice and pickled veggies(carrots, daikon, green papaya).

I don't think that's usually the case. Most have some sort of hanging duck, but that's usually going to be a more traditional roast duck. The primary thing with Peking duck is that air is pumped under the skin, where it separates from the meat and gets this crispy texture that's not like regular roast duck. I've seen it served as slices of mostly skin and fat, although some pieces might have some meat.
 
Messages
6,559
Location
San Francisco Bay Area
Anybody ever actually had Peking Duck?

My mom told me that it was excellent, and the most famous Chinese dish.

Always requires ordering in advance.

Depends on the place serving it. It doesn't keep very well under a heat lamp. The idea is to get the skin really crispy, so it can't stay warm too long or else it will get soft.

Some restaurants serve so much of it that they don't require any advance orders. There are restaurants in Beijing that specialize and they're just making it all day. A restaurant that might get the occasional order will probably want to get it ready in advance. I remember some place years ago called "Peking Duck House" that served it all day. Peking duck was cheaper than other restaurants in the area, and there was no advance order needed. But it was unusual for any customer to dine there without ordering the Peking duck. I know one restaurant near me that doesn't require an advanced order. It's almost $50 though, so if they have to discard any at the end of the day, they're probably still making money.

Not sure if it's the most famous. There's Shanghai style braised pork belly - aka "hong sao rou". It literally means red-braised meat. In the Chinese language, the default when someone says meat is that it's going to be pork unless there's a modifier like cattle or chicken.
 
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