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Saturday April 19, 2014
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Two Worlds

 

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only Chinese food I knew. I still can picture my mom on the kitchen phone, ordering egg rolls, won ton soup, and sweet-and-sour chicken, while I set the table and my dad reached for his coat and car keys to go pick it up.

Xingshou Wang, who owns Asia City with his younger brother and nephew, previously ran Chinese Buffet 2 at the same location, along with two other Chinese-American buffets in Iowa City. He sold one of the Iowa restaurants and used the profits to build Asia City. At 15,000 square feet, it's three times the size of Chinese Buffet 2, with seating for nearly 500 people.

Wang wanted to make his new place more authentic but didn't want to lose half his customer base--so Asia City is three restaurants in one. It offers a reborn buffet; a menu of Hong Kong and Chinese-American dishes, including a lot of seafood; and dim sum at lunchtime.

Asia City's decor is big and bold--a huge boxy red-and-gold exterior, twin lions at the entrance, floral carpeting in the large dining rooms, golden Chinese dragons on the wall. It felt overwhelming and unwelcoming to me, but my friend loved it, finding it palatial and elegant.

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