Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Qi' Lin Oriental Cuisine in Toowoomba

Qi' Lin Oriental Cuisine

Okay... I'm officially embarrased by the frequency of buffet outtings described in my blog posts. Am I a pig? A hobo? Just plain incapable of enjoying refined food in small quantities?

Whatever the case may be, when asked 'buffet or ala carte?' at Qi' Lin last weekend, Byron and I didn't even hesitate: Buffet.

We justified it financially... because, well, buffet means greater variety and we figured that for any variety at all with 2 people, plus rice and drinks, it'd end up close to buffet cost anyway. The inner truth is that my inner child just loves the idea of helping myself to potentially endless plates of food. It's not exactly cooking for myself but there is a certain interactive element.

Qi' Lin was much bigger inside than I expected. We were lead through the buffet area into a second group of booths and tables and left at the very last table in the end.

Walk of shame

It later became an inside joke because everytime I wanted to top up, I'd have to journey through all the other tables (I happened to be wearing conspicuously loud shoes too) and then back down again with a full plate. To me, it was a walk of shame and I imagined all the other guests thinking 'that girl is going to get food AGAIN??'

Eventually I asked Byron to get food for me...

Anyway, my humiliation aside, let's get back to the food itself. We started with a selection from the hot section.

My first plate

Mine contained fried noodles, lots of veggies, a chicken curry and, basically, a small amount of everything. My favorite was the sweet potato crisps.

Byron's first plate

Byron loaded up on fried rice and a larger amount of everything. We agreed that the quality was better than most other Asian places that sell similar food. By that I mean, fresher ingredients, less processed-tasting flavors and greater amounts of meat.

I went back to get a fried chicken wing (very crispy), another sweet potato chip (still good), a sushi (better than I expected) and a meat gyoza (very dry).

Byron also went for a second plate and returned with veggies, spring rolls and prawn crackers.

Chicken and sweet corn soup

It was around this time that I was feeling hesitant about getting up for more food. Nonetheless, I persevered for a bowl of chicken and sweet corn soup with crispy noodles. It was very much worth it. I love chicken and sweet corn soup!

Dessert plate

We were finally ready for dessert. Qi' Lin had some Asian-style dessert options, as well as Western classics. I got coconut and mung bean pudding with coconut sago and some strawberry ice-cream.

Byron had some sago with grapes (that I didn't photograph) and an icey pole.

For us, it was a pleasant (and filling) dining experience. Obviously, Asian buffet is not something we'll do every day but when the urge for large amounts of pan-Asian food strikes, Qi' Lin will do well to fill the (tummy) void.


  1. Hello, I stumbled upon your blog on my jap/korean bbq guide for brissy. Btw, when exactly did you went for buffet exp. in ql?

  2. Hi Anonymous...

    I went a couple of weekends ago. Can't remember if it was Sunday or Saturday.

  3. You'll have to try the a-la-carte section of Qi'lin! its soooo good! Did you know they won best Chinese restaurant in Qld 2010???

  4. Argh the last time we went to Qi Lin, we ended up with nausea! Didn't enjoy it at all! Greasy and nasty! A glorified chinese takeaway shop!

  5. Hi Whimsical...

    It is quite nauseating! I am always surprised by how different Australianized takeaway Chinese is to real Chinese. I do admit I crave the greasy nastiness sometimes though. Perhaps not in all-you-can-eat amounts!

  6. I have read about Qi Lin "best Chinese in Qld" etc.
    Having visited Qi Lin last Saturday with my wife, I rate this establishment 'poor'. My wife had the buffet and seafood option, whilst I had an entree and 2 a la carte dishes plus rice which needs to be purchased separately.
    The seafood on offer was a tired selection of battered honey prawns, a mussel dish, "soft shell" prawns which were dry and salt and pepper squid which were good.
    My duck was cut into pieces including all the bones - it seemed the chefs are unfamiliar with separating white meat from the carcass! No knife or finger bowl was provided either. The dishes were bland and certainly did not represent authentic menu styles found in diverse Chinese Regions.
    Compared to Chinese Restaurants I frequently visit in Melbourne, Qi Lin was an utter flop and expensive given the quality of meals ($110.00 for 2 beers, 1 soft drink, 1 buffet, 1 entree, 1 main and sides is very high for Chinese).
    If this establishment is the best Chinese in Qld I don't want to experience any other Chinese in this state.