Brunch with good friends? Go Oriental!

When I lived in the US, one of my favorite weekly routines was going to this Chinese restaurant where you could eat all just by paying USD 7.00++. But of course, ‘all-you-can-eat’ wouldn’t be so much fun without a bunch of good friends. We always failed to remember the name of the restaurant; we called it “Chinese Place.” And our Chinese place never failed to make us – stressed out grad students – as happy as toddlers!

There are not too many ‘all-you-can-eat’ places in Indonesia, alas! I’m not very sure why, but I suspect not many restaurant owners are willing to risk hosting too many greedy eaters and hurting their revenue. To me, this shouldn’t be the case, because satisfactory ‘all-you-can-eat’ is addictive. Happy customers will keep coming back, and will invite more and more friends to join them, and so the word of mouth goes. For this reason, I hail Golden Lotus restaurant at Bali Dynasty Hotel on Kartika Street, Kuta, Bali. They offer all-you-can-eat dim sum every Sunday from 10:00 to 12:30 at IDR95,000 nett (around 10 bucks).

I got there a few minutes past ten. The hostess greeted me warmly and a pot of hot jasmine tea was ready on my table less than a minute after I was seated. As my friends were still stuck in traffic, I didn’t have to wait to start my small feast. I decided not to take any rice as I wanted to stuff my stomach with as many varieties as the restaurant got to offer. I took a little soup as opener. Not bad.

There are two food corners: the regular corner (with fried rice, porridge, soup, a selection of fried dumplings, spring rolls, egg tarts and dessert) and the steamer baskets corner where the real deals are. Chicken feet is a must-try. Steamed buns are available with option of fillings: chicken, beef, pork, and vegetables. What else? Various kinds of ‘shaomais’ and dumplings: prawn, chicken, pork come in satisfying sizes. Oh, and the squid in oyster sauce and chili is soo good too! It’s hard not to be greedy!

Eight steamer baskets were already empty on my table when my companies finally arrived. And the journey continued. All-you-can-eat is always more fun with good friends. We ate, talked, laughed, ate, talked, laughed, ate again… and two and half joyful hours passed! No time to take pictures of the dessert, because no matter of how good the main course is, dessert is always the happiest time for me, and I enjoy it heartily. But I let you know what I had: mix fruit in lychee syrup and ‘matuan’ or fried dough filled with red sweet bean paste, Indonesians call ‘onde-onde.’ Schweet moment!

I’m hoping there will be more all-you-can-eat restaurants available in the future. For now, Golden Lotus, you are my new Chinese place!

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