Friday, October 3, 2008

Buffet War

Mealtimes are sacred to us all. They rank right up there next to the durian season. However, nothing whets our appetite more than the buffet dinner. We adore the buffet for it is the epitome of our love for all things that are edible. To be confronted with several tables laden with food and then to hear those 4 magic words "All you can eat" is to trigger a primordial instinct in us to load up our plates. But tackling the buffet is more than just eating until you can hardly breathe. Veterans, those people with years of experience, will tell you that it is also about economics, about getting your money's worth and, therefore beating the buffet.

The idea is not to forget that you are paying a lot more than you usually would for a meal. Secondly while you're welcome to eat as much as you want, that open-ended invitation has to be balanced against the woefully limited capacity of your stomach. The key to the equation is to remember that it's not how much you eat, but what you put on your plate that counts. It's important to take your time. Pace yourself. This race is about making the right choices. It is not about speed.

Most people tend to pick all the wrong things, choosing to load up on all the cheap stuff, like breads and soups before hitting the main table. Bread is fine and can be tempting, but it'll also sit in your tummy like a wet towel. As for the soup, you might as well throw away all the precious stomach space on an extra glass of water.

Aim for the pricey appetizers instead. Raw oysters and steamed prawns and mussels are all excellent choices, as are the smoked salmon and sashimi selections. Choosing among the main selections is especially tricky, for a wrong foot at this phase of the meal can send you crashing out early, belly distended and the dessert table still untouched. Be judicious with your volume of carbohydrates here; opt for proteins instead, especially of the red meat variety.

Don't get distracted by the hawker food selections, no matter how appealing they may seem. Stay focused, for hawker food can be had on any other day. Remember the mission at hand. By this point of your evening, if you've done your job well you should have already recovered the cost of your meal and still have a little breathing room left.

The dessert table is where you end your odyssey and where you get to push the sum total of what you have eaten past what you paid for. Avoid the jellies, local kuih and fruits at this critical juncture and make a beeline for the cakes. Try to finish at least 2 slices, then pat yourself on the stomach and consider it a job well done, for you have surely beaten the buffet. Dine on a salad leaf or two for the next couple of days and you will be ready to tackle another buffet by the end of the week.

- I found this article cute and thought of posting it up here. =) -