I love showing you, my faithful readers what you can get for $20 (60rm) in foreign countries. I titled this blog best countries to retire cheap, not best countries to be poor for a reason. My mission of retirement on $1000 (3000 rm) is about not just finding a shack and trying to live as cheap as possible, but about living a great life for $1000 (3000 rm) a month. Today it’s all about buffets.
In the past I’ve written about buffets in other countries, so today lets visit Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia! I found the biggest buffet in Malaysia (according to their website) and promptly headed out to try it. Jogoya is $40 (122 rm) for dinner, but had a lunch promotion of $20 (59 rm) if you went before 4pm.
I headed down to try it out and can say that while it’s all you can eat, it’s not all you want to eat. It’s an “upscale” buffet (in the Starhill building with Cartier, Lv and other luxury brands) but has only mediocre food.
I love buffets but can only give this one a 5/10 review. Jogoya is physically large, but that is more of an ode to building size than selection. I’ve never seen a buffet laid out this way. Instead of one area where people eat and a food area, Jogoya scatters buffet islands all around the seating areas. This creates less of a congested line, but it makes it difficult to actually find what you want to eat and then head back to your table. The coffee for example is a 5 minute walk through a twisty labyrinthine from the sashimi area.
I got lost several times trying to find my table, allowing my hot food to grow colder. I say hot food generously, most of their hot food was heat lamped for far too long. This made anything hot, a mildly warm experience at best. The tempura shrimp were colder than a lesbian at a cowboy bar.
I gave Jogoya a 5/10, but it wasn’t awful. They had a great sashimi area with palm sized prawn. These were delicious. I got my money’s worth in just sashimi. Unfortunately the variety of food available to the general public wasn’t that diverse. If you like shrimp (which I love) there were baked shrimp, shrimp with pasta, raw shrimp, Shabu shrimp, and tempura shrimp. Oh and shrimp soup (you get the idea right Forrest?). Their philosophy at Jogoya seems to be mass quantities of minimum ingredients. They didn’t have much in the way of variety. I’ve never seen a luxury buffet without a carving station! I wasn’t expecting pork loin because it’s a Muslim country, but where’s the beef? Great shrimp and salmon selection but missing out on those other buffet must haves.
I mentioned that I was disappointed as a member of the general public because they also have a VIP membership which costs $500 (1500 rm). This gives you $423 (1200 rm) worth of gift cards,chopsticks, a free meal and bottles of wine. This also allow you to eat certain VIP dishes 1 time. The crazy thing about the VIP dishes were that they didn’t seem that impressive. They were mainly lobster or crab based. I’ve had the same dishes as a “normal” person in other buffets at this price point. And remember as a $500 (1500 rm) VIP you only get 1 of the item, not an all you can eat amount. I’m also going to say as a member of the general public it was annoying to be at a buffet and reminded about all these items you couldn’t eat. They didn’t have that much but still it’s annoying. Who sets up a buffet, and then says “You can’t eat these things, you jerks!” (Jogoya does apparently. ) I think that if are going to have a few limited item dishes they should have just had a separate VIP menu you could order off of instead of just scattering them around the buffet with “VIP ONLY” signs. I’m fine with a la carte dishes at buffets, the execution is poorly done at Jogoya.
Jogoya also had a massive service problem. While I was there, my used plates were only cleared a few times. That’s not bad normally, but I was there for 2 hours (their maximum stay length). It wasn’t just me, tables all around me had more empty dishes than a busboy bin in a bad Chinese restaurant.
I also found issue with the fact that I had to ask several times to get chopsticks and a glass. “Why would I need a glass” you ask? Good question. In their alcoholic selection they had several versions of mohitos and red/white wine, but you had to use your own glass from the table. That’s right, 1 glass. They had several signs saying this. It’s definitely not my experience that you should be using the same glass for all your drinks. Maybe that’s might they didn’t clear the tables? Perhaps they weren’t expecting people using more than 1 plate?
It wasn’t all bad. They had a tremendously useful idea where you can drop clips with your table number into order bowls, and they’ll make it fresh for you. When the fresh dish is made they bring it to your table along with your reusable clips. (So you can have as many fish heads as you like.)
Jogoya also had a good dessert selection with both Haagen Daz and New Zealand all natural ice cream. Cookies, and other buffet staples were there too. I loved their selection of jellies. The honey jasmine was delicious!
All in all I was happy even though I only gave it a 5/10 (the lowest I’ve ever scored a luxury buffet) mainly because of the $20 (60 rm) lunch price, but highly recommend that they step up their game if they expect people to pay the normal $40 (120 rm).
I love buffets and I’m glad I got to check out the biggest one in Malaysia. I hope this article helped you with your quest of finding the best country to retire cheap. Scroll to the bottom of the page for more tips and articles on finding the cheapest places to retire. And if you liked the article, please share on social media (I’d love it if you did!)