Little ones often have a vastly different idea about a hot night out than their parents.
I love to try something new and fancy, where my husband and I can get dressed up and a great cocktail or a glass of wine with a few courses of something delicious. But when it’s a girls night out with my little ladies, there’s few places they find more fancy than a Chinese buffet.
Before we moved to Fort Mill, we hit up a particular Chinese buffet in Little Rock on the regular. Each of my three girls got the same meal every time: egg drop soup with wonton strips, lo mein, 3-4 squares of red jello and soft serve ice cream. Once in awhile, they’d throw on a skewer of pork or a few fried shrimp. For the most part, they’re creatures of habit, though.
Somehow, we’d managed to go our whole first year here in Fort Mill without indulging them in this extravagance. Instead, we held them off with takeout Chinese here and there.
Daddy had to go on a trip for work recently, so it seemed like a great time for a “fancy” little girls night. They jumped at the idea.
We decided to try the Jasmine Buffet on Westinghouse Boulevard in Charlotte. It’s about a 15-minute drive, but it feels fairly close. And we’re always getting their coupons in the mail.
The strip mall facade doesn’t give away how big Jasmine Buffet is on the inside. On the weeknight we went, we had the massive restaurant mostly ourselves, with just a handful of other diners spread out. There was at least one section that didn’t even have the lights turned on.
There’s a hibachi-style zone where they’ll cook up whatever you put together, in addition to a full sushi buffet. As you’d expect, the sushi was buffet quality, but there were quite a few varieties to choose from.
The number of stations floored me. There were at least 10, maybe more. Some featured salad, particularly fresh-looking fruit and desserts, seafood, soup and the kids’ favorite, self-scoop ice cream in barrels. There was also plenty of standard Chinese food, along with kid favorites like pizza, french fries and macaroni and cheese. My oldest’s top choice was the alfredo pasta, of all things.
I found the Chinese selections I tasted to be fairly heavy on the hoisin sauce for my liking, and there wasn’t a huge difference between various dishes. Again, pretty much what you’d expect for buffet food. The tiny piece of fried chicken I snagged from the “kids area” was incredible, though. Drool-worthy, even. And my own favorite thing to get at Chinese buffets — the long beans — were crisp and studded with garlic.
On our way out, the girls discovered a giant gong in the entryway that they couldn’t resist. Who could? Fortunately, I didn’t feel too bad about letting them each take a shot at it since the place wasn’t particularly packed that night.
Where’s your go-to for Chinese buffet food? Do your kids have a favorite spot? Share it with us!