Why Buffets Are My Saviour

Heeva, a broke student gives us an insight into her experience of going to a buffet and why she swears by them.

The life of a broke student can be tough at best, however the life of a broke student at a buffet is one full of wonder. Oh all the endless food, Oh all the endless choices, Oh all the endless opportunities to try something new! Every time I’ve ever gone to a buffet, I’ve left with an extremely satisfied stomach (so satisfied in fact, that I’ve had to give it a little more room via my belt buckle to cool down).

Don’t understand my love & obsession? Let me explain.
Timeline of Buffet visit

7.03pm I arrive and impatiently order my drink as I wait for my friends to arrive. After all, what’s a buffet without the friendly competition that comes along with it; seeing who can eat the most amount of food in one sitting and who can fit the most on their plate. Yes, not only having a big appetite comes in handy here, but also having great balancing skills. One of my favourite things about buffets is the fact that there’s not much waiting around; you go in, get seated and are free to eat. None of this deciding the meal faff.

7.10pm I get bored of waiting, and realise it’s a good use of my time to thoroughly smell and analyse the food on offer. As I stroll around, the allure of lamb tikka and chicken chow mein builds a wanting so strong, I almost dive headfirst into the dish. I don’t because I’m an adult now, but I want to. However I remind myself that good things come to those who wait.

7.14pm After what feels like hours (9 minutes), my fellow buffeters arrive and request a briefing on the in-depth analyse I’ve carried out including factors of smell-ability appearance, chilli-esque predictions & the different cultural heritage of food. They are happy to continue.

7.17pm AND THE GAMES BEGIN! I have a more casual approach to the buffet than most, as I am determined to experience all food types, rather than the largest amount of my favourite. So the natural place to begin would be a plate full of mini-tasting portions of beautifully breaded sweet chilli king prawns, the-right-side-of-spicy meat samosas & various other items that most definitely tickle my fancy. I sit down, looking at my first course and know why I completely & entirely love food.

7.34pm With the first course over, I advise myself to take a break. Many people continuously stuff themselves until they can’t move. Bad idea; you end up not being able to move. It’s also a great moment when you watch your friends stuff their face just to have a giggle. Hell, take a picture for a little Social Media sharing if you like.

7.39pm Second course should only begin when you have decided which ones of the mini-tasting portions you liked best. I decide, and make my way towards the stir-fried noodles & BBQ wings, topped off with poppadoms. Only in this great era of globalisation can we have such variety of flavours from around the world on one plate, only at a great buffet.

7.53pm Disappointment is felt all around the table as I declare my defeat. I cannot continue. Not with the mains anyway.

7.59pm After another well timed break, dessert should be approached with a similar mentality to the mains. Mini-taster portions and then going in for the big time. Indulgent chocolate cake and tangy mango jelly (cue sensual M&S music) prove themselves as a winning combination so the decision process of the second helping is easier.

8.22pm And I’m done. After cabs called and goodbyes said, I can officially say I’m happy. And you can be too.

As a self-proclaimed expert in all things buffet related, here are my top tips:

Always take a look around before you choose your options so you are well informed when the indecisiveness kicks in.

Order a jug of tap water for the table, regardless of how many drinks you have ordered. Everyone has that friend where the lemon & herbs from Nando’s is too hot for them, and knowing their luck, they always accidentally pick the hot option. Water is much needed in this situation to avoid tears. (Ha, how ironic)

Wear trousers with a loose waistline. Trust me on this one.

Always take a breather after each course, this will help digest the food better and actually allow you to enjoy it more as your stomach expands slower than your mouth can eat.

Take one spoon less that you think you want. My parents, as lovely and caring as they are, have instilled this irritating obsession with clearing my plate, each and every time.

Don’t starve yourself beforehand. Contrary to what many believe, it’s actually counter intuitive as your stomach shrinks the less you eat throughout the day to avoid being hungry.

Mix and match as many types of cuisines to your hearts content. What other situation would it be socially acceptable to have stir fried noodles on a margarita pizza?

Leave room for afters. Dessert is often forgotten at a buffet, but the variety of sweets should be taken as much of priority as the mains, in my opinion.

Have fun! Don’t let yourself get taken over by seeing this as a task. After all food is there to be enjoyed.