Tuesday, November 15, 2005

No Tso, You know?

There is a restaurant in Portland, in the heart of China Town, located on the second floor of a building dedicated to retail Asian import detritus. To reach the food, you must climb grime-stained steps past a full-length mirror; behind which you know the Chinese mafia is waiting with guns drawn protecting their horde of opium.

The stairwell smells of a rancid combination between urine, Pine Sol, and chow mein. The place has a name, but I don't know what it is. I've been going there for five years. I do not know what it is called. My friends and I call it simply "Bad Chinese Buffet," or just "Bad Chinese" for short. And it's bad! It sucks, but it's cheap, and it's a buffet. 3 times out of 5, it makes me sick, but those 2 times out of 5 when it doesn't, mmmm... Buffet.... know what I'm saying?

So, time passes, and every once and a while I get a hankerin, deep, deep in my gullet for the bad Chinese, and today was one of those days. I called around, but none of my buddies were available for lunch, so I was left on my own.

Now, Bad Chinese is downtown, and I work all the way out on the outskirts. The drive is only about 12 minutes or so, but on lunch break, that can be an eternity, and without a lunch companion, the drive is barely worth the Har Gow, the Char Siu Bao, or even the Siu Mai. Thus, today, I decided to try something different.

I cracked-open the yellow pages and found another Chinese buffet, not but a stone's throw from my office. Panda Buffet, on Highway 99, in Tigard!

Let me just say, the phrase "Bad Chinese" now has a whole new meaning. How can you make General Tso's Chicken taste like a turkey sandwich? I ask you!! Every pan was either empty or full of something disgusting. I ended up with a plate full of egg rolls, fried pork bits, and red Jell-O. My second helping (hey, I was hungry!) consisted of more re-heated egg rolls and a salad consisting of iceberg lettuce and watered-down ranch dressing.

And cleanliness?? I'm not convinced that the Health Department knows about this place. I certainly doubt that they have ever visited, let alone inspected. I fear I may die.

So, at least the old Bad Chinese Buffet had some redeeming qualities, and I will continue to return, at least until the MSG catches up with me. As for the new place? Well, let's just say if you read about a Chinese restaurant in Tigard getting firebombed, I know nothing about it.


  1. Bri, go to Norm's Garden on Barbur (across from FM at Terwilliger). Their food isn't bad. It's cheap. It's five minutes from your office. You'll have time to drive there, have five or six plates of food, and get back to the office in time for your MSG headache. There, now isn't that what friends are for?

  2. amanda10:19 AM

    Norm's Garden? Is that even Chinese? Norm conjurs up images of George Wendt, not of tasty hum bao. Most importantly, however, why is every restaurant suddenly Chinese if you tack on "Garden" to the end of the name?

  3. Hey, just passing on the info.....I THINK they have lunch buffet, but not sure. It's been there forever and when the four year old wants Chinese, that's where we get it. Since Bri acts like he's four....I figured he'd like it.

  4. Rancid urine soaked stairway.... sounds like Brian's basement or Hung Far Lo.

    As for Chinese food, I like to go to China.

  5. amanda2:28 PM

    My favorite aspect of that place is the sign; I love that someone long ago painted out "tails."

    I've never seen anyone actually eat in the dining room though, only while in the bar under the influence of the swill they call liquor.

  6. amanda2:30 PM

    .jpeg Bloody hell!


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