Oh, boy. I have mixed feelings on this one. On the one hand, this place fills a severely underpopulated niche in Auckland dining – affordable Chinese steamboat buffets, as per their aptly-named restaurant. On the other hand, it did make NZ Herald’s infamous ‘Dirty Dining Diary’ list, due to the ‘D’ food hygiene grade. Due to the fact that I hail from a country where it’s fairly common for roadside hawkers to wash their plates by the sewage drains, though, I found that this knowledge didn’t quite hamper my enthusiasm to give it a shot.
Especially as we arrived quite late in the night, just before they were closing, I could see why there might potentially be cause for concern with hygiene. The eating area was quite clean, as were the buffet trays. The toilets weren’t great, though, and all food including seafood and meat are left out on trays at room temperature. They refill the trays quite frequently, so it is highly unlikely that the food was left at room temperature all evening. Still, this might be cause for concern for some, so you have been warned.
Still undaunted, my dining partner and I went right ahead and heaped our plates up. There was a fairly wide variety of ingredients, including all manner of vegetables, eggs, noodles, beef, chicken, fish, large prawns, squid, crab, fish balls, soya products, yam, and mushrooms. You pick a soup base (half-and-half is your best bet, so you get both spicy and normal soup), pick up your ingredients, add seasoning (this step is key, the plain soup is not salted), and put everything in to boil. There are a few appetizers – herbal eggs, sausages, fried chicken, etc to nibble on while you are waiting, but it really doesn’t take long.
We found the buffet – especially the beef slices, large prawns and crab (real crab in shells, not surimi!) – to be well worth the price. And would likely return, although we’d probably try to make it earlier in the evening when the trays haven’t been left out for too long. Neither of us had any food poisoning after eating, though, so all was well.
Cost: $20-25 per person
Value for money: