My parents wanted to go to Lotus Flower today as they saw an ad in the chinese paper describing the new weekend buffet. (The restaurant has been doing this buffet for about a month.) I was dubious because every place we've tried from the chinese paper has been uniformly mediocre, but my parents said the dishes described sounded very good.
We have been to Lotus Flower in the past, although not regularly, and it hasn't made much of an impression on me. However, my parents know the new manager (and now part owner) of Lotus Flower, who used to be the manager at Yangtze in Lexington. And I don't know if it's his influence, but the buffet was astoundingly good.
The price of the weekend buffet is $11.50, which seemed very cheap for the amount we consumed. The buffet starts at 11:30, but it wasn't until about noon that all of the chafing dishes were filled. However, once people started eating, the food was refilled really quickly -- I never saw any empty ones after they got all the initial dishes out.
Now the food. The buffet is Taiwanese/Cantonese. I don't know the names of all the dishes so I'll describe them as best I can.
Cold table area had:
cold salted duck
hard-boiled eggs (the kind that look like they were cooked in soy sauce or something)
bamboo tips in sesame oil
Standard american-chinese buffet fare which we didn't try:
general gau's chicken
Other things, including stuff we consumed and devoured until we felt sick and in desperate need of a nap:
--Black bean mussels -- my mom said they were good
--Fried dough stick/sesame pie
--Hot sweet soy milk
--Gua Bao - a sort of Taiwanese hamburger -- white bao on the outside with a fatty piece of pork, pickles, crushed peanuts, and cilantro inside. Tasted exactly like the ones we have had in Taiwan. Very good.
--Vermicelli - stir fried noodles with mushroom and other miscellaneous things in it
--Vegetable lo mein -- sounds common, but this was really surprisingly good. these noodles are darker than the vermicelli dish but somewhat similar. Except super yummy.
--Some kind of noodle soup that my parents called "Da Zhang Mein" before they told me was made of pig intestines. Whatever it was, it was a bit spicy and they seemed to enjoy it very much.
--A broccoli/green bean/carrot/green onion stir-fry. Very fresh and vegetables were not overcooked but were nice and crisp.
--Spareribs in garlic sauce. Didn't look like spareribs but more like chicken nuggets, but had bones in them and were tasty.
--Fried hargau. These were panfried -- I had never had them this way, but they were good. Shrimp was very fresh.
--Shrimp stirfry dish with other things in it . I only picked out the shrimp but again, they were good and fresh. AND all the little black veins had been removed from every shrimp! I have never seen that in a buffet before.
--panfried dumpling/ravioli. Husband did not like it much, and this was the only complaint out of everything we tried.
--Xiao long bao (not much soup in it, but hey, this is a buffet...)
Dessert type stuff:
Small platter of little cakes, a la Minado
Fresh oranges, honeydew, canteloupe, watermelon
Pineapple chunks (canned, I think)
Ice cream (vanilla or pistachio)
Red bean and lotus seed soup (yum, although I hate the lotus seed part)
Fried dough balls
It doesn't sound like a ton of food now that I'm thinking about it, but everything was really fresh, not overly greasy, and a lot like my mom would make at home.
and it was only $11.50!!!