September 2007

Jade Garden: A Multi-Cultural Delight

Author: Linda S. Hopkins

What’s more American than baseball and apple pie? A Chinese buffet! If you don’t believe it, drop by Jade Garden in Bluffton for lunch or dinner. You’ll see people of every culture and age enjoying a spread that includes Chinese, Japanese and, yes, American cuisine.

With 150 rotating items from which to choose, the all-you-can-eat buffet offers something to please every palate. Fill your plate with traditional Chinese favorites such as garlic shrimp, chicken broccoli, fried rice, lo mein noodles and fresh veggies; visit the hibachi station and have your entrée prepared to order; or get your fill of Japanese sushi. Not a fan of oriental cuisine? All-American choices include mac and cheese, barbecue chicken, pizza, wings, apple pie, ice cream and more.

Adding to the restaurant’s massive appeal is the extensive menu. Customers who have dietary restrictions or those who prefer a made-to-order meal will have a hard time choosing from the enormous selection of Chinese specialties, combination platters, seafood and steak, all individually prepared to taste.

According to Ming Yang, who owns and operates the 6000-square-foot restaurant along with his brother, Danny, it’s the freshness, flavor and attractive appearance of the food that keeps people coming back. “Quality food and quality service are what’s most important,” he said. “Everything has to be fresh.”

A peek into the kitchen confirms his commitment, not only to the freshness of the food, but to cleanliness and order. As you might imagine, keeping the buffet replenished is a monumental task and one which requires the cooperation of many. According to Wang, Jade Garden currently has over 30 fulltime employees, including one executive chef, two Chinese chefs, one Japanese chef, one American chef and many helpers. Up front, an energetic and efficient wait staff keeps customers happy. “We work hard for a better life,” said Wang.

Wang came to the United States from China 10 years ago. He finished high school in Kansas and spent one year in college before moving to the Lowcountry. His parents opened a small Chinese restaurant (Double Dragon) in Beaufort, eventually establishing a Jade Garden there and giving Wang his first taste of the restaurant business. In September, 2006, Wang and his brother opened the Bluffton Jade Garden. “The language part is the hardest for me,” said Wang.

But it’s the food which speaks universally at Jade Garden. The biggest problem most people have is figuring out where to start and how to stop. The buffet is divided into sections so that you can concentrate on your favorite cuisine or mix and match. With an eclectic selection of soups, appetizers, entrées, kids’ favorites and desserts, one thing is certain: You won’t go away hungry.

Open seven days a week, the lunch buffet is available for $6.95, including a beverage, from 11 a.m.-3:30 p.m., Monday-Saturday. The dinner buffet, which includes more seafood, higher-end entrees and a larger selection of sushi, is available from 3:30-10:30 p.m. at $9.95. The dinner buffet is served from 11 a.m.-10 p.m. on Sunday. (Order from the menu any time. Private party room, catering and takeout also available.)

Jade Garden is located at 1304 Fording Island Rd., just off Highway 278. For directions and more information, call 815-6588.

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