Buffet survival tips

I went to a buffet yesterday. For lunch. As any kind reader would know by now, for me, an eat all you can buffet is the red signal to morph into the Empress of Blandings and put the snout to the feeding trough, aka the plate with no demurring in the face of gasps of awe and shock at the amount I pack away with absolutely minimal effort.  Yesterday was lunch at the Aromas of China, a restaurant whose name I take in hushed reverent tones. So vast, so ample and so overwhelming is the spread of its Sunday buffet lunch that two trips to replenish plate at said counter donot suffice. And no, I am not telling you how many trips I took, but suffice to say that had I put the trips back to back, I would have done my cardio workout for a day.

Like any serious buffet eater, I had done my preparations well in advance. I had sharpened my hunger by staying semi starved since the morning. Well two halka phulka idlis and sambar is nothing to a paratha breakfaster like me. I had politely declined all tempting nibbles at the birthday party in attended before carting my carcass off to said buffet. I had worn jeans with a substantial proportion of its weave comprising a mix of denim and lycra and reinforce buttons, not likely to pop off and hit my fellow diners in the eye when I finally rose from the table and stretched langurously. I also wore sturdy comfortable shoes, ideal for walking to and fro between table and buffet counter without need to mince around apologetically and accidentally trip and spill food on premises.

Nonetheless, yesterday was a Sunday. And Sunday brings to the fore Very Aggressive Buffet Eaters. These include soft faced elderly aunties, with talcum powder in the folds of their neck and their faces wreathed over in creases who elbow you out of the line by pretending to “just check” the dishes on offer.  Or the ditherers and datherers who stand gawping at each individual dish for an hour before fishing out their personal weighing scales and calorie charts before deciding exactly how much they gently and reverentially place on their plates. Of course, such folk have no business even being at a buffet and holding up the line for rest of us hard-eating folk.

Here are tips to get through a buffet to your hearts (and stomach’s) content:

Donot even venture near the soup counter. That is trick designed by the restaurant to get your stomach half full and ensure you dont pack away as much as you could in normal circumstances.

Wear clothes that camouflage spills and food droppings so you can eat at ease and not have to worry about bits of food on your lap and gravy stains down your dront.

Develop the art of the accidental elbow nudge and plate prod, to get the slow pokes in front to speed it up. Also develop the hide of a rhino if you are to succeed in this strategy.

Eat sparely for the rest of the day to ensure you can eat your money’s worth and more.

Do be OCD about going in line. I would have grown roots had I done that yesterday. Skip around to unpopulated counters and take whats available. Come back for what you think you missed later.

Always, always keep that little space for dessert or you end up eating a great meal till the point the buttons on your shirt and trousers are popping off and all you can remember of it is that you were too stuffed to have dessert.

If you have small children at the table make them useful by sending them to the buffet to fill your plate with specific items if you’re too embarassed to keep going back for the one hundredth time.

Happy buffet-ing.


About Kiran Manral

Kiran Manral published her first book, The Reluctant Detective in 2011. Since then, she has published eight books across genres till date. Her books include romance and chicklit with Once Upon A Crush (2014), All Aboard (2015), Saving Maya (2017); horror with The Face at the Window (2016) and nonfiction with Karmic Kids (2015), A Boy’s Guide to Growing Up (2016) and True Love Stories (2017). Her short stories have been published on Juggernaut, in magazines like Verve and Cosmopolitan, and have been part of anthologies like Chicken Soup for the Soul, Have a Safe Journey (2017) and Boo (2017). Her articles and columns have appeared in the Times of India, Tehelka, DNA, Yowoto, Shethepeople, New Woman, Femina, Verve, Elle, Cosmopolitan, Conde Nast Traveller, DB Post, The Telegraph, the Asian Age, iDiva, TheDailyO and more. She was shortlisted for the Femina Women Awards 2017 for Literary Contribution. She is a TEDx speaker and a mentor with Vital Voices Global Mentoring Walk 2017.
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32 Responses to Buffet survival tips

  1. Gypsy says:

    this was hilarious! i loved the tips on making a buffet “paisa vasool”…although i follow some of them, im not even half way there yet!


  2. Shivani says:

    LOL !! This shall be my bible henceforth. I’m a buffet restaurant owner’s worst nightmare in flesh & blood. If it’s lunch, I starve myself from previous night’s dinner – if it’s dinner , then b’fast + lunch for that day is given a ditch.
    Mr. Barbeque Nation will, in all likelihood, hurriedly down shutters & shut shop the next time he sees me approaching, I’ve been the cause of much loss everytime I’ve eaten there 😀


  3. Neha says:

    @Kiran and Shivani: You two ladies are after my own heart. Aromas of China and Barbecue Nation – bestest buffet places.

    And Kiran, I am taking a print of this one – the buffet-goer’s handbook 🙂


  4. lol, that was me, and the me i sometimes wish i could go back to being; what gastronomic bliss those days of literally eating all you could were! now i follow my one helping, one plate rule, regardless of the temptations laid out. life’s not as much fun, but i like my 60pounds lighter body to much to go back. sigh,the choices we have to make!


  5. SS says:

    LOL! I am glad to find womenfolk’s company 🙂 Till now, all my women friends have been the “concious” types. I usually have to give up in embarassment 😀


    • Kiran Manral says:

      I am totally unconscious. LOL. And never embarassed of eating. It is proof that I enjoy living life to the fullest.


  6. mummyjaan says:

    Kiran, I feel quite full just by reading your blog post :)!


  7. Serendipity says:

    hahaha… 🙂
    If you ever make it to Pune. Lunch at Post91 😀

    That’s exactly what we do 🙂 🙂


    • Kiran Manral says:

      Magical summer: One helping rule for home. Buffets have no rules yet. Maybe its time to set some for me too…

      Mummyjaan: 🙂

      Serendipity::) You’re on


  8. Dee says:

    LOL.. this sounds just like me 😛

    Only at Aromas of China, Bangalore… Mmmmmm, am craving Chinese food now.. 🙂


  9. jaya says:

    ROFL, one more funny post.
    I don’t do much justice to the buffet, but husband compensates for both of us.yeah my area of expertise polishing off them deserts. I start my meal with deserts and end with them.


  10. may I take this as tag and do my own rules!!!???


  11. Ersa says:

    lol…i will keep all this in mind next time i go for a buffet…thanks for the tips 😉


  12. Gigi says:

    I love that talcum powder in the crease of neck observation 🙂
    If you want to feel righteous eat oatmeal in the morning. That way you can delude yourself that you ate healthy and so you deserve the buffet (2 halka idlis also qualify..)


  13. Sonia says:

    Haha Kiran, this was hilarious !!!! So what kinda food do you get in Aromas of China? And where is it? I should try it out on my next India trip..


    • Kiran Manral says:

      Gigi: I never want to feel righteous about food. LOL.

      Sonia: As the name suggests, Chinese. Andheri Link Rd in Mumbai. If you need a dining companion, look no further…


  14. Ronak says:

    🙂 🙂 Great Post…. and very pertinent observations…
    I generally try to avoid buffets as my diet plans go for a toss… the food and desserts are just too tempting to resist..


  15. Rani says:

    Hey that was so funny… and I surely need these tips. I lose control of myself when I see a lavish spread out and usually m too stuffed by dessert time.


  16. Kiran Manral says:

    Ronak: When in doubt, dont diet.

    Rani: Its a tough job to leave space for dessert but a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.

    Childwoman: 🙂


  17. Mampi says:

    you are crazy and wise,
    i need to follow your footsteps


  18. blinkandmiss says:

    Kya timing hai! I just returned from the baap of buffets and I am barely able to move my fingers to type out this comment. A post-buffet tip if I may add, is that make sure you don’t have any appointments for the next couple of hours at least. If you have a baby, make sure there you have a friend to babysit for those two hours. Cause the only option after stuffing yourself silly at a buffet is to hit the sack with full fan/AC.



  19. choxbox says:

    i will start eating after i finish laughing.


  20. Amit Jain says:

    Hi Kiran !

    I believe, we the people of sub-continent origin live by the saying that goes as follows:

    ‘ Let your belly burst than no food left’.

    I guess no one has ever suffered by eating less. its always the one who eats all cylinders firing…suffers the most. Anyway, your observation of our antics is nothing short of praise-worthy !!


  21. Kiran Manral says:

    Blinkandmiss: Very valid point. Will add that in the next update…

    Chox: 🙂

    AmitJain: The quote was written for me…


  22. Ekta says:

    mmmmmmmm…..Aromas of China! it does have this effect on you 🙂 wish i was in mumbai now 😦
    (in SG now…and boy, do they have awful Chinese buffet here…imagine porridge on the menu….uuugggghhhhhh)


  23. Shravan says:

    This is categorically the greatest thing I’ve ever seen. I too am a buffet buff and I’d like to add a couple of techniques I’ve learnt:

    – Make sure you get your fill of the nice nibblers at the start of the buffet. Things like kebabs will run out fast and the stuff you get at the end isn’t as nice.
    – Biryani/rice at the end is normally average. Eat this only as filler/along with the standard butter chicken/rogan josh/panner makhani that’s present at every Indian buffet.
    – Even if you eat to get to that heroin-high-esque state of being full, like me, don’t over-eat or else you’re stomach won’t remember the buffet but the bloated belly after.

    PS. Can I blog roll you, aunty?


  24. hahaha very very good tips kiran 😀
    I always remember to keep space for deserts, or rather eat them first
    “Life is short, eat deserts first” 😀


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