Recently I was lucky enough to win a free buffet in a contest. Not just any buffet, but at one of Chengdu’s finest hotels. Obviously I took plenty of pictures so I could mercilessly tease those who didn’t win, check them out!
The marketing department at my workplace has started a fun little guessing game. For every new title we release we all make guesses as to how well our product will sell. For the release of Toto’s Treehouse I just happened to guess exactly right!
The price was a buffet for two at Shangri La, one of China’s most luxurious hotels. Apparently it’s so fancy that it was the hotel of choice for the Obama family on their visit to Chengdu, but was it good enough even for someone of my status?
Food from Around the World!
The buffet was split into several different kitchens representing different regions of the world. From the Italian kitchen with its delicious pasta & pizza to Hong Kong with its strange obsession for roasted duck.
After having eaten my way around the world I crowned my favorite. No other cuisine could compare to the Italian food, a taste which is especially difficult to satisfy in Chengdu.
The Italian Corner
Tho you can find plenty of Italian restaurants scattered across Chengdu, there’s one part of the experience you won’t find authentic; portion size. The Italians are know for serving up huge portions but their Chengdu counterparts looks more like shrunken side-dishes. And at 80 RMB per (tiny) plate you don’t want to compensate the size by ordering multiples. So my mind was overjoyed when I realized I could eat this Italian food as much as I’d like!
Unlike buffets I had previously tasted, some of the food is cooked in front of you. For example the pasta in the Italian region was only pre-cooked partially which you hand over to a chef to stir-fry with sauce. The result being some of the tastiest flavors I’ve had in Chengdu.
After my 3rd portion I was questioning whether to show up for a 4th, but I’m glad I did. As the Executive Chef saw a foreign guest he replaced the Italian Chef to cook my pasta with extra care while asking me the usual “Where are you from?” set of questions. The people in line behind me might not have been happy, but my stomach certainly was.
Having been pretty strict lately with my vegetarian ambitions, the flaming barbecue was my greatest temptation to date. My mouth was watering as my friend was cutting up her 2 steaks, but then she brushed them aside when she discovered they were cooked rare.
Normally I avoid buying industrial meat for ethical reasons, but realizing these delicious steaks would go to waste was my perfect excuse to dig in!