by ASHLEY MILLER
for the Sequim Gazette
Every day, around 11:15 in the morning, the smell of Chinese food fills the Rock Plaza.
The scent travels through the strip mall and reminds business owners and customers that lunch time is nearing.
Mingying Liao, owner of Ming’s Buffet, is relying on word-of-mouth — and contented bellies — to spread the news about her restaurant, which opened at the beginning of May. Liao serves fresh and authentic Chinese food buffet-style: customers are encouraged to seat themselves, eat and then pay before leaving.
Ming’s Buffet, located at the intersection of Old Olympic Highway and Sequim-Dungeness Way, serves lunch and dinner and is open 11:30 a.m.-8 p.m. — or until the last customer leaves — seven days a week.
“We work hard to earn our money and people’s respect every day,” Liao said. “I want customers happy to come and happy when they leave.”
Liao, originally from China, moved to the U.S. a little more than five years ago. Living in Port Townsend, she fell in love with Sequim and decided to try opening a restaurant — a huge transition from the supervisor position she held at an electrical company in China for many years.
“I want to make friends and a life here,” Liao said. “I love to see people and talk to them.”
Every meal at Ming’s Buffet is cooked fresh every single day. Dishes are made without MSG and bear a close resemblance to what patrons would eat in China, Liao said.
The walls of the restaurant are decorated with Chinese-themed art and photographs of Liao.
A clock tower stands high in the center of the building; Butterflies and roses hang from the ceiling.
The upper half of the walls are painted periwinkle, the lower half beige.
Bamboo plants — a traditionally “lucky” Chinese plant — line the window sill and the floor along the cash register.
Kenny G plays the saxophone softly on the stereo while steam rises from the buffet line.
Customers are charged a flat fee for either lunch or dinner, depending on the time of day. Drinks are included and seconds are encouraged.
Dine in or box up the meal as take-out.
For more information, call 360-797-1362.