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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Ming Court

Ming Court - the chinese restaurant in Skycity that is infamous for their horrible Yum Char buffet.
We heard about Ming Court's yum char buffet and read on the internet how Skycity kept raving about how authentic the yum char here is and what a large spread their buffet has.

First up, we made a reservation for the buffet lunch. When we got there, the chinese manager at the counter told us that we had to sit outside because all the tables inside were full. We were pretty hungry at that time and didn't bother checking inside because we had no reason to doubt him - so we agreed to sit outside (shown in pics).

The other thing was that I was talking to one of the chinese managers at the counter and asked him if I could have a look at the yum char buffet menu. He then told me that they didn't have a buffet menu and the food comes by on trolleys and I could just pick whatever I want plus there are a few fried dishes, porridge & desserts at the back that I could pick up anytime. I wanted to see what dishes they serve during the buffet but the manager assured me that I could be contented with their variety and quality of dishes. I asked him approximately how many dishes there were in total and he replied, "more than 30".

We waited for 15mins for the food to be served however, they took some time so I went inside to have a look. Imagine how shocked I was when I saw how many free tables there were inside, with a nicer and quieter ambience. They also have tables for 2 by the side (look on the left, see the caucasian couple?) so there was no reason for them to insist that we take a table outside.

Was quite irritated by this point of time but decided not to make a fuss as the food served on trolleys came by. I was also quite pissed at the way they couldn't tell us which dishes were available because if the trolleys came out from the kitchen, they would pass by almost all the tables inside first before coming outside! So if we were sitting outside and didn't know what dishes to expect, we would be getting all the food that everyone else is sick of (since they have first choice, unlike us). All the more sought-after dishes would be gone by the time the trolleys reached our table. Extremely frustrating.

The Yam Balls (left) were served cold and were rather oily. There was very little BBQ pork served inside.
Carrot Cake was also served cold and this was basically tasteless. I'm a big fan of Carrot Cake and so far, this has been the worst one I've ever tried in my entire life. Oily and tasteless, what a combination.

Fried dumplings (wanton). As you can see from the picture, the meat portion of the dumpling was seriously tiny and there was so much fried stuff. It was really gross, the way they kept serving all the fried food in a pathetic attempt to make us full. Everyone knows that carbs and deep fried food makes you full in a really short time. After eating about 2-3 of these fried dumplings, we felt quite sick and didn't have any more.

Ha Gao (Prawn Dumplings). One of my all-time yum char favourites. I would say this is the best (or only edible) dish at Ming Court's yum char buffet. The prawns were quite big although they were not refined, as compared to other yum char restaurants in Auckland.
The only reason we could actually get to eat this was because after waiting for approx 20mins, the only trolleys that kept coming out were the ones serving fried food or vegetable dumplings which tasted horrendous. I finally asked a waiter if they had any prawn dumplings and he said, "yes". So we requested for 2 plates of the prawn dumplings which were served about 10mins later.

Meat dumplings. Although we were told they were meat dumplings (can't remember if it was pork or chicken), there were huge peas and chunks of carrots inside which were tasteless. The actual meat portion was so tiny that when you take a bite of the dumpling, you only taste the vegetables. Completely unrefined.

Top: Beef balls - there was a strong meaty smell about this dish and there was a foul after-taste smell after eating them. It tasted rather sourish and we got sick of the taste after the first bite.

Bottom left: Pork and Mushroom Dumpling (Siew Mai) - although they were quite large, they were not appealing to the tastebuds and I couldn't taste the mushrooms at all (unlike better yum char places). Siew Mais are one of my favourite yum char dishes and considering the fact that we only ordered 1 plate of this says something.

Bottom right: Pork ribs - one of the better tasting dishes at Ming Court. Although the meat didn't taste like it was marinated at all, the sauce that came along with the dish gave the meat a more flavoursome taste. I wouldn't say this dish was good because the only reason we managed to finish a plate was because of the sauce.

Self-serviced fried rice - the only thing that made this dish more appetizing was the BBQ pork.

Self-serviced Century Egg Porridge - one of the worst dishes at Ming Court. The first thing anyone would notice was that although it's called Century Egg Porridge, there were no century eggs inside the porridge. Even when I was scooping the porridge myself, I couldn't find a single century egg inside. I couldn't even find a quarter of a century egg inside, let along half. There was basically no century eggs inside, just fish. To top it off, the porridge was tasteless and it was literally like rice and water, nothing else added.

BBQ Pork Pastry - Same thing as all the other dishes, the pastry was cold and there was extremely little BBQ pork inside. It was more like an empty pastry. We had to specially order this dish as no trolleys came by serving this and we could not imagine a yum char restaurant not serving this. Apparently my earlier suspicions were right - since our table was outside, we got all the crappy food by the time it reached us.

BBQ Pork Bun (Char Siew Bao) - Exact same scenario as the BBQ Pork Pastry; the bun was extremely thick and there was very little pork inside. We also had to order this from the waiter.

Prawn rice noodle rolls (Chee Cheong Fun) - I never saw the waiters serving this on their trolleys; we had to ask them (yet again) to serve it to us. The waiter told us it would take about 10mins because they had to steam it - it only came 20mins later and after a complaint by me that it was taking far too long. When it finally arrived, we were sorely disappointed.

The noodle rolls were flat and I must emphasize, completely tasteless. A sweet soy sauce is usually poured over the Chee Cheong Fun but in Ming Court, they did not even bother serving sauce, we had to ask them for it. Even after asking, the waiter served us with a light soy sauce, not the usual sweet soy sauce that complements the dish.
It was unlike anything I've ever tasted before, terribly disgusting.

BBQ pork rice noodle rolls - Exactly the same as the prawn rolls.

After experiencing so many incidents of having to specifically request the waiters for a dish, we were so frustrated we complained to one of the waitresses there, letting her know that we've only been getting the trolleys with the fried food and vegetable/pork dumplings and we never saw other dishes such as the BBQ pork buns or the rice noodle rolls. I asked her what other dishes they had that we could order (since we weren't getting any from the trolleys). She said that she couldn't think of any at the moment and said, "how about the Fried Calamari?" (before rushing off to another table).

We're usually big eaters with a large appetite but the food at Ming Court was so bad that even though we were neither full nor satisfied, we stopped trying their almost inedible yum char dishes and went over to have a look at the dessert table.

Egg tarts - One of the better desserts at Ming Court; the egg custard was sweet and the pastry was soft.
The dessert on the right had some kind of fruity citrus taste, we took a bite and didn't finish the rest.

Strawberry Jam with some sourish mousse - the jam was far too sweet and it didn't taste nice at all.

From the self service table

The noodles had practically no ingredients and were drizzling in oil. The food was also not regularly replenished.

Some fruits

As you can see from my earlier comments, the food here was downright horrendous - it was tasteless and the yum char was completely unrefined. My parents had warned us against this place because a couple of their other friends had told them how bad the food was but we still decided to give it a go. The whole outing was a waste of time and stomach space.

It was the worst yum char I've ever tried in my entire life. Even big eaters such as myself could not bare to have another bite of the unappetizing food. Although one could argue that it is after all, a $22.95 buffet - what else could one expect? For one thing, $22.95 in NZ could buy a really delicious meal and that even though it was a buffet and we weren't expecting anything near Crystal Jade standards, the food here was seriously below standards. Since it's located right at Skycity Casino, tourists who try this place may think this is how yum char usually tastes like.

The waiters who served us were generally polite and while some waiters served us with a smile and some did not, most of them could not speak much english, so it was a hassle even trying to order the dishes that we wanted or asking them to refill our water, which they never refilled on their own.
The managers there were the ones who gave bad service - as we were eating, we saw one of the chinese managers going around the caucasian tables, asking them how the food was but simply ignoring all the asian tables, despite the tables being right next to each other. As a caucasian couple got up to pay, the manager suddenly scurried forward exclaiming loudly, "Thank you so much for coming! Hope you enjoyed the food. See you soon!", with a huge smile on his face.

However when our table and another asian table got up to pay, the same manager only told us how much the bill was before saying goodbye - it was the same treatment for the other asian table. No smiles and not even a thank you came from his mouth.

The worst part of the buffet besides the low quality yum char, was the fact that the only trolleys that came by our table were the ones serving fried food and meat/veg dumplings. None of the usual yum char delicacies that you would normally see (and expect) in a yum char restaurant.

When we requested for the other steamed items, they took such a long time to come and we would often have to ask the waiters to check on our orders. As stated above, I said that the only thing I liked in the buffet was the Prawn Dumplings (Ha Gao).
After we ordered 2 plates of it and liked it, we ordered a few plates more, since everything else tasted inedible. We had to wait approx 25mins before the dumplings were finally served to us. It was quite obvious the way they took their time to serve us was an attempt to make us full by the time the food came so we wouldn't order more.

The fact that they claimed that they did not have a menu reinforces my earlier point that they can basically serve you whatever they have at that point of time and not having to worry if they run out of anything because you can't request for the dishes from the menu! Even dishes like the BBQ Pork Pastry and BBQ Pork Bun had so little pork inside and it was mostly the outer fillings.

Although the buffet is $22.95, it's definitely not worth your money even though it's an all-you-can-eat buffet - the buffet at Ming Court is scarily below standards that you would not even want to eat your fill.

Ever since this incident, I have agreed with my parents and their friends that Ming Court serves one of the worst yum char in the whole of NZ (definitely the worst in my life) and I would never ever recommend this place to anyone I know.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Poor you...