I have never been a big fan of hotel breakfast buffets in China, and my recent eight nights at three different five star hotels in the Southern Chinese city of Guangzhou did nothing to change that.
Actually, I’m not a big fan of buffets in general. The first thing I don’t like is that I tend to eat too much. There’s something about having all of that food laid out in front of me that makes me think that I’ve got to eat as much as I can “to get my money’s worth”.
So I end up eating more than I really want to eat, and then I feel guilty about it the next day. (At home I don’t even eat breakfast.)
But there are some very specific things about breakfast buffets in China that I don’t like. Here are a few examples:
I have no idea what genius came up with the idea of floating breakfast ham in chaffing dishes full of greasy liquids, but I find it extremely unappetizing. I have come to expect this at domestic Chinese hotel chains, but I was stunned to see this at a five star hotel in Guangzhou that is a member of one of the world’s top hotel chains!
Canned Fruit Juice
This is absolutely inexcusable! Of the three hotels I stayed at in Guangzhou, two of them had so-called “fruit juice” that was obviously out of cans – although it had been poured into containers to make it LOOK like it was fresh.
It was especially galling because one of these F&B outlets was called “Fresh”. Perhaps they mean that the fruit juice is fresh – out of a can!
Under Ripe Fruit
I don’t know what the problem is, but I find this all over Asia – even in Thailand! The fruit served at hotels and resorts – especially the melons – is almost NEVER ripe (check out the melon in that picture!!!).
What’s up with this???
Oh, don’t get me started!
Chinese food in China can give new meaning to the word “greasy”. Dishes frequently have one eighth to one fourth of an inch of oil at the bottom. Cooks in mainland China have a heavy hand with the stuff, but I wasn’t expecting this at a French owned and managed five star hotel!!!
Two of the three hotels I stayed at in Guangzhou had pre-cooked waffles, and they were not even set under heat lamps or anything else to keep them warm. They were so cold, in fact, that the butter wouldn’t melt. And at one of the hotels, they didn’t even have maple syrup!!!
Considering the extremely low cost of labour in China, I don’t understand why they can’t hire someone to cook the waffles to order.
(And if that’s too much to ask, don’t serve them in the first place!!! I wasn’t really expecting them. But if you’re going to have them, do them right!!!)
Salmon – especially raw salmon – has got to be fresh (or smoked). If you can’t serve fresh raw salmon, don’t serve it at all!!!
McDonald’s Style Hash Browns
I like McDonald’s hash brown potatoes as much as the next person, but I’m sick and tired of being served McDonald’s hash brown look-a-likes at expensive restaurants and five star hotels!
Surely, there is a difference between fast food and haute cuisine!!!
What’s wrong with serving REAL hash browns potatoes or home fries or something else that doesn’t appear to have been created in a factory (and then defrosted in the hotel kitchen)???
They even do this in Hong Kong!!! And at very pricey restaurants!!!
Weird Food Choices
When I arrive at most breakfast buffets in China, I sometimes wonder if I have overslept, because most of the food items laid out in chafing dishes are things that are usually served for lunch or even dinner, and certainly NEVER for breakfast.
Irish stew? Spaghetti with meat sauce? Lamb curry? Steamed garupa? Stir fried vegetables (that have gone limp)? Garden salads?
Who cooks up these menus, anyway? What’s wrong with serving breakfast food at breakfast?