Liu Garden

For a very long time, Downtown Dayton was served by one dive Chinese place: China Royal, in the corner of the Biltmore Tower along North Main Street. After that spot closed, the place was vacant for awhile before a new spot, Liu Garden, replaced it earlier this year. Under the ownership of a new family, this spot is in practice very similar to its predecessor — a Chinese buffet with a robust takeout operation. But this one has longer hours and a bigger variety of foods. Still, the food is pretty unremarkable.

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Sun Wah BBQ

Although it stays relatively quiet in Chicago’s uptown neighborhood along the Broadway Street corridor, Sun Wah BBQ has been around town for a very long time. Once you sit down at this restaurant, though, you’ll see why pretty quickly. The menu, inspired by Chinese grilled meats and many things like it, is simply unique even in a city of this size. While the restaurant seems like it might be like many other run-of-the-mill places around the city, this is going to be one that you will want to remember.

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The Buffet at Monte Carlo

In Vegas, they say it’s all about the buffets. Indeed most casinos on the strip have one, and you can walk right in and eat without gambling. In fact many are comped right to your room. Such is the case with The Buffet at Monte Carlo. Most used by the guests of the hotel itself the place has a plethora of options it serves for lunch and dinner. Of course, this casino was created by MGM as more of a budget option for the strip. You’ll find the buffet matches. In quality, not price.

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Mr. Pot

Nestle the way in the suburbs of North Columbus, Mr. pot only sells one thing: Chinese style hot pot. This is a unique kind of eating that lets you cook meats, seafoods and vegetables in a boiling broth and then dipping them in a sauce of your choice. It’s an immensely popular dish in Asia but this kind of cooking really hasn’t penetrated its way to the United States, except on a small scale with restaurants like this. Come hungry, this place will fill you up quickly.

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Sky Asian Cuisine

A newer Asian Fusion restaurant opened off Wilmington Pike in the Dayton suburb of Kettering, Sky Asian Cuisine focuses heavily on two things — sushi and noodles, both primarily Japanese specialties. But the restaurant’s menu spans a number of other East Asian cuisines from Chinese meat dishes to pad Thai. It’s designed to be a more formal sit-down kind of restaurant with its low-lit interior giving wide view to the sushi bar and good collection of drinks and cocktails bringing people out into the night. I like this place for its refined feel as a romantic go-to.

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Osaka Sushi & Hibachi Bar

While there are a few Asian-themed buffets around Dayton, what Osaka Japanese Steakhouse offers the region is a very unique experience. Opened in what has for several years been a series of family dining restaurants, this one is a higher-priced buffet of Far Eastern cuisines you won’t find in many other places around town, and certainly not all under one roof. From Peking duck to octopus, frog legs and, yes, a sushi conveyor belt, this spot is a place to go when you’re feeling like a very adventurous experience.

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CJ Fusion Express

The latest take out spot to open in downtown Dayton, CJ’s Fusion Express replaces another former take-out spot and is one of the few Chinese food options in downtown Dayton. Not authentic, to be sure, but the spot does offer something that is unique to downtown, in food that is fast, a-la carte, take-out ready and very convenient. It’s got a niche and an audience, and I think the place should not be ignored as an option for downtown.

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Sunflower Chinese Restaurant

While Columbus has plenty of Chinese food of all kinds, it’s harder to find a really good experience for the less Americanized palette of dim sum in the city. But when you get a taste of the more traditional Cantonese meal, you find it quickly grows on you. Sunflower Chinese Restaurant has a following in town, particularly in the close-knit Chinese-American community, for how its food hearkens to a different kind of eating. The spot has a regular menu full of Americanized dishes, but I highly recommend coming in to try something a bit more unusual, because here you’ll find a special liking for it.

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China Garden Buffet

As many years as it has stood in Springboro, China Garden Buffet has been a spot for inexpensive eats, and an all-you-can-eat Chinese dive that attracts plenty for its quantity of dishes. You can get a variety of dishes here — sushi, chicken dishes and seafood as well as plenty of veggies — to try on that buffet. It brings in a decent crowd from Franklin and Springboro for cheap eats, but leaves something to be desired.

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Suzie Wong’s on Madison

With a colorful concept and an Asian Fusion menu that spans the Far East, Suzie Wong’s is a cool upscale addition to the Madison area of Walnut Hills in east Cincinnati. It’s most busy in the lunch hour, offering Korean bibimbap, Vietnamese pho, Chinese lo mein and everything in between. Keeping those prices at a reasonable place, Suzie Wong’s is a pretty easy place to like, with everything it offers having sort of a comfortable goodness to it.

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