Article By Jin and Francis
HUALUXE Xi’an Hi-tech Zone, No.11 Tuan Jie South Rd.
(029) -8812 3456
Lunch: Every Friday-Sunday
Dinner: Every Friday-Saturday
Average Price per Person /人均消费: 240RMB
Only a short (<10min) walk from Yanpingmen Station (Line 3) and with car access from Tuanjie South Road (团结南路), Hualuxe Hotel is very accessible. Upon arrival, we learned from the welcoming staff that the hotel had just opened last year. Everything from the decorations to the appliances to the meticulously manicured bamboo-lined entryway demonstrates a modern Chinese style.
Notable is that throughout the lobby of the hotel were cages of various kinds – a distinctive feature hinting at an appeal to affluent clientele. After all, in ancient China, only the wealthy had the time and resources to care for and admire pet birds. According to Dazhong Dianping, the restaurant is currently the #5-ranked buffet in Xi’an for environmental quality.
We were quickly seated and took a look at the menu. You can enjoy the buffet, which is extensive, or order off of an only slightly less extensive menu (4 pages). They offer a wide selection of Western, Chinese (including Cantonese), Japanese, and a slew of local Shaanxi delights.
We were starving, so we started by sampling the Takoyaki, which were very tasty, yet perhaps could have contained a more generous portion of octopus in each ball. Then we dove into the seafood, which included sushi, sashimi, shrimp, scallops, and snails. Besides the usual buffet sashimi were also rolls of pate including fish liver and shrimp. Next we tried mala-flavored Sichuan-style cold skewers (冷锅串串) of cuttlefish, fish balls, and fish tofu, which is a highlight for those craving some heat. We also sampled assorted vegetable dishes and bbq skewers that included squid, lamb, and beef. As for non-skewer bbq, the steak, Peking Duck, and Cantonese bbq including pork, duck, and chicken each offered their own sweet and/or savory excellence.
The restaurant also provided several of their specialty dishes for us to try. One of those was “Tanshaoye” (谭少爷盆菜), a famous Cantonese soup with white shrimp, prawns, yam, potato, broccoli, and yuzifudai (a small tofu pouch filled with roe). The heartiness of the soup is similar to the next specialty we tried – the Fotiaoqiang Soup (佛跳墙Literally: “Buddha Jumps Over the Wall Soup” – because it smells so good!). Each contained a sea cucumber, as well as other delightfuls like shittake, scallop, caterpillar fungus (虫草花) and others.
Finally, we enjoyed several mini pastries including a wide collection of delicate fruit mousse and cakes, which was a feast for eyes and taste buds. The crème brûlée offered a familiar rich custard with a crispy flame-flashed caramelized sugar topping. The fruit mousse were especially refreshing after a big meal. There are also local Shaanxi pastries like crystal cake, egg yolk cake, and lotus cake. The staff mentioned that many people come back for afternoon tea (on the other side of the restaurant) especially for these tasty desserts.
Finally, we ended the meal with ice cream – we tried the laozao (醪糟) – fermented rice) and the chocolate truffle. It was a great finale for our banquet to experience a combination of local cuisine and international fare. It is also worth mentioning that all of their ice cream comes from Shanshisan (陕拾叁), a local creamery offering what we consider to have the best ice cream selection in the province. It goes without saying we were pleased.
Overall, the food was thoroughly enjoyable, but it was some of the uncommon amenities that put them over the top for us, including food allergy cards indicating what might preclude a diner from enjoying certain prepared buffet items and the incredible service. These were what allowed us to truly enjoy our time at the buffet – these small, thoughtful touches will make a big difference for future visitors.
It is also worth mentioning on the second floor, there is another restaurant, Caifenglou (彩丰楼) with private rooms. Each private room has its own reception area and private bathroom. The food is prepared by the same team of chefs as the buffet, but the menu offerings are significantly more numerous. It should go without saying – prepare to shell out more if you opt for a private room.
Overall, we enthusiastically recommend!
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