Rating: 3 out of 5.

The best Asian buffet restaurant in all of Germany was within our grasp. The Pagoda restaurant in Oberhausen was in it’s own red Chinese temple and we couldn’t miss it even if we tried. Once we saw the sign outside showing how cheap the buffet was, it was a given where lunch would be. Without realizing it was touted as the best Asian-themed buffet place in the entire country, we were already seated and having our first bites.

I remember a friend who used to work for Wendy’s in the Philippines when they had a salad buffet special where anyone could get as much as they wanted — so long as it all fit on one plate. He talked about how their customers – Filipinos, of course – piled on the in-house salad as if being challenged, trying to get as much pasta, fruit, and romaine on a small styropor plate. This behavior became legend in the whole company.

If I was any younger, I would have had second or third servings just to get my money’s worth – that’s the poor-Filipino-me talking – but after realizing all these years that unnecessarily filling my stomach was generally pointless, plus my metabolism isn’t what it used to be, it would have been a waste of food all for the sake of ego. In the end, my entire meal consisted of just one plate of rice, chicken, and beef, and a dessert plate of delicious lychees and jello. Despite the rather tough beef and dry fried rice, it was satisfying enough from a taste-standpoint. Though if this was the best the entire country could come up with, sadly, there’s still a lot of wonton to be done.

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