Brunch-o-Rama! How to Manage Shanghai’s Sunday Buffet Brunch Scene

After six straight weeks of visitors here in Shanghai, I have now done more brunch buffets than I care to remember.  These extravaganzas are not as available (or as inexpensive) in the US and it certainly adds a “wow!” factor to my guests’ visits.  And it certainly is not what they had in mind when they planned a trip to China.

That having been said, I think its hard not to try to get all my money’s worth and find myself rolling out at the end of my visit.  Here are some tips for you (and me) for surviving Sunday brunch!

  • Pace yourself – When you first take a look at the buffet offerings, imagine yourself at the end of the buffet.  Do you want to walk out or roll out?  Eat accordingly.
  • Veg out – These buffets are a great place to try new vegetables that you don’t want to commit to at home.  From grilled veggies like eggplant, peppers and squash, to Chinese sautéed veggies like mushrooms and bamboo shoots, you can fill up your plate without filling up on too many calories. 
  • See food, eat food – Most buffets have a whole area dedicated to fresh seafood, including prawns, crab legs, sashimi and even smoked salmon.  Not only are these good value for your money, they are good for your health.  Seafood is high in nutrients, low in calories, and contains critical omega-3 fatty acids that aid in brain development. 
  • Opt out – As appealing as it is to go for the all-you-can-drink champagne option, you may want to opt for sparkling water instead.  Lots of champagne can lead to lots of extra calories and you may lose track of how many times you are hitting the dessert table. 
  • Take your time – Most of the brunches let you keep the table as long as you need to.  Take your time and enjoy the view, the company and…the opera singers!