Article By Nahida Khan
Westin Hotel, No.66 Cien Road, Qujiang New District.
(029) 8626 8888
6:30am – 10:30am
11:30am – 2:30pm
6:00pm – 9:30pm
Average Price per Person /人均消费:138RMB
PROS: Easy to find location; Friendly staff and can speak English; Variety of dishes; Homemade desserts
CONS: Spacious dining area, ideal for groups; Fresh produce on offer; Food can get cold quickly
This month, I visited the Longshouyuan branch of the hotelier franchise, Novotel. The Food Exchange is one of three restaurants available in their facility. With a focus on their interpretations of international cuisines in the form of a buffet, customers have the ability to taste a variety of dishes from around the world. Although the hotel clientele is predominately Chinese, there is also a twist on catering to the more traditional western tastes. With its spacious dining hall they have the capacity to host a large number of guests, making it the perfect place for an event, function or celebration. The buffet has open-air kitchens, which allows you to engage in a more interactive dining experience. With its diverse offerings, Food Exchange is suitable for those who have different tastes from their dining companions or are simply unsure about what they desire to eat that evening.
No buffet in China would be complete without the hot pot facilities or its own noodle bar. The noodle bar stocks traditional handmade Xi’an-style noodles and also offers a ‘create your own dish’ station with a selection of sauces, vegetables, meats and spices. If you’re like me and have no idea what makes the perfect bowl of authentic noodles, there are chefs on hand to give recommendations. The head chef of the evening, William, was very knowledgeable about his produce and oversaw a number of other staff members who could communicate well with patrons in English, which makes the dining experience all that much easier. The dishes on offer look and taste extremely fresh, even the seafood, which can be difficult to find in Xi’an, ranging from impressive king prawns, oysters, salmon and their own take on sushi. They also offered a selection of different cuts of steak which can be cooked just how you like it; for me, medium-rare, and served with a sauce of your choosing (I would recommend the peppercorn sauce).
Food Exchange offers what we westerners would classify as typical ‘Chinese food’ such as duck spring rolls, honey sticky chicken and prawn crackers. The must-try dish of the evening was a blend of Asian cuisines called ‘Indonesian Padang’, which reminded me of a traditional green Thai curry but much more flavourful and with a small kick. If none of this sounds overly appealing to you, and you are simply craving some home comfort food, then traditional Italian pasta is available with a variety of sauces and a topping of grated Parmesan cheese to add, which was delicious! One unfortunate downside to the buffet concept is that some of the food on offer can get cold very quickly. However, as previously mentioned, there are multiple other stations where you can pick your own ingredients and they will cook it for you fresh to order. Whilst it is easy to overindulge on the savoury be sure to leave room for the sweet. Their desert table was phenomenal with their homemade cookies, cakes and chocolate fountain. Not to mention the staple of all desserts, ice cream. They have various different flavors you can choose from and my special recommendation is the rum flavor. This was the perfect way to end my delicious feast.
This buffet experience is set at 238RMB per head for dinner and includes unlimited beer, house wine and soft drinks, a bargain considering the endless amount of choice you get. Dinner is between 6pm and 9:30pm, but if you can’t make it for dinner they also offer lunch for 138RMB on weekends between 11am and 2:30pm. If you’re looking to indulge in an evening of quality and varied cuisines and unlimited alcoholic beverages then you can find Food Exchange on the 7th floor of this NOVOTEL location, and it is only a short walking distance from Longshouyuan metro station on Line 2.
Nahida Kahn can be reached at email@example.com