Let me start by saying that I do not frequent buffet restaurants such as Vikings and Sambokojin. I’m a heavy eater but I know my stomach’s limitations. Thus, the only time I would visit such restaurants would be during special occasions and office lunch-outs. Some people, however, dine at these establishments on a frequent basis. I admire them for their endurance and fortitude in consuming a large amount of food. Besides, who wouldn’t be tempted if the dishes you only get to eat once in a while are within your reach and without any limitation?
I can’t exactly compete by volume, so I formulated my own tactics for maximizing all-you-can-eat deals. What I lack in capacity, I make up for in endurance. Most of the tips here were based on real-life advice from friends and relatives, with additional ideas from other food blogs detailing their conquest of such buffets. These have worked for me many times over, but results may vary depending on the kind of buffet you will indulge in. Without further ado, here are my tips.
1. Get more protein and less carbs.
A common first round strategy for Philippine buffets is to immediately get rice and pair it off with multiple viands or main courses. This can’t be helped as the Philippines is a rice-eating nation. However, such a practice leads to an earlier feeling of fullness — with some tapping out after round three.
It is best to get multiple viands first and sample them on the first round. Get minimal amounts of rice (or other carbohydrate-rich equivalents such as mashed potatoes) on succeeding rounds. That way, you don’t get satiated with too much carbohydrates early on.
2. Sample a little bit of everything.
Most buffet restaurants offer an assortment of cuisines from all over the world. Take this opportunity to sample a different dish you haven’t tasted before. Manageable portions from different buffet stations lets you enjoy without easily getting full. This ties in with the first point; consuming more protein will delay your fullness compared to carbohydrates.
However, I would like to emphasize “manageable portions” here. Keep in mind that buffet restaurants charge penalties for leftovers, so only get a reasonable amount of food you can finish in one sitting.
3. Go easy on the drinks.
Buffet restaurants usually serve juices and soft drinks as part of the all-you-can-eat deal, and these fill up diners even before they check out the stations. Remember: you came here for the food, not the drinks! A sip or two of any drink offered can wash down the savory taste of food in between rounds, but don’t finish your drink in one sitting. I personally prefer a simple glass of water for this purpose instead of sugar-laden juices and sodas. (If the restaurant offers lemon water, all the better!)
4. Take your sweet time.
Unless you are at one of those time-bound Korean samgyupsal joints, most buffet establishments do not rush their patrons to finish eating within a fixed duration. Whether it’s lunch service or dinner service, the staff will continuously prepare food and replenish empty stations from opening up to last call. You have more or less three to four hours to enjoy all the different cuisines and stations, so there’s no need to rush.
This isn’t a race of who consumes more; gorging all that food is no way to enjoy a buffet! Some restaurants even have grill-it-yourself and communal hot pot choices — and those take time and patience to enjoy. Think of dining at a buffet as akin to traveling towards a certain destination–you won’t find pleasure in it if you’re constrained by time.
The buffet spreads may seem intimidating, but one can have an epicurean adventure with the proper strategy, and the right amount of food portions. You’ll be sure to leave any buffet restaurant full (busog in Filipino) with these four tips, instead of being bloated (bundat) and experiencing a food coma after.
Before I wrap up, I’d like to take this opportunity to mention Sambokojin in Eastwood City–where I took all of the featured images in this entry. I’ve dined there multiple times, but I assure everyone here that I received no compensation from the Triple-V Restaurant Group (owners of Sambokojin and the rest of the establishments under the DADS Buffet banner) in the process of drafting this entry.
Until the next post.
Eastwood City Walk 1, E-Commerce Road
Eastwood City, Bagumbayan,
Libis, Quezon City 1110