It’s estimated that the United States is home to over 40,000 Chinese restaurants - that’s more than all the McDonald’s locations in the entire world! So it's no surprise that Chinese buffets are a popular choice for catering any event. Chicken with mixed vegetables, beef with broccoli and General Tso’s chicken are sure to be a hit with your team, even if everyone can’t quite agree on how to pronounce the good general’s name! Don’t be overwhelmed by the number of options! All those options enable Chinese buffet spreads to be a great choice for meeting a variety of dietary needs and taste preferences!
For office catering, the most popular Chinese food is Americanized Chinese food. The dishes you might see at an office lunch potluck include General Tso’s Chicken, Orange Chicken, Sesame Chicken, and Beef & Broccoli. If you get real traditional Chinese food, you might get some strange looks because, while it's similar, it's not exactly the same - not everyone can handle chicken feet or super spicy mala dry pot! It’s safer to stick with the more familiar option.
We recommend ordering for more people than your headcount for any buffet-style catering. Those who are standing in the line before you might take more food than their allotment without realizing it. Similarly, you might want to over-order any additional buffet-style sides to be safe. The idea of a “full portion” can be different from person to person. With that said, Chinese restaurants usually give plenty of food and are very generous!
Many options are not gluten-free because they use soy sauce. Very few restaurants will use gluten-free soy sauce. Similarly, fried items that are breaded will not be gluten-free (ex. General Tso's, Orange Chicken). Look for the (GF) indicator next to a dish to know if it is gluten-free.
What is MSG? Is it unsafe?
MSG is short for monosodium glutamate. It’s made by fermenting carbohydrate sources like sugar cane, beets, and molasses. MSG is a common food ingredient and it’s used to give a certain taste to food known as umami — the fifth basic taste alongside sweet, sour, salty, and bitter. MSG used to be considered a toxic additive, but current evidence and health authorities agree that it’s safe to eat.
Are there vegan and vegetarian options for Chinese buffets?
Absolutely! It is important to pay attention to the (V) or (VG) designations on each item but in addition to tofu, vegan and vegetarian options include sautéed string beans, garlic eggplant and similar offerings!
Are there eggs in egg rolls?
Egg roll is often a misnomer! They frequently contain no eggs! However, be careful that spring rolls may contain egg wash in the wrapper.
What goes well with a Chinese buffet?
Sides like egg rolls, spring rolls and crab rangoon are a great option for Chinese buffets. And don’t forget the fortune cookies!
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