Travel and hotel stays usually involve buffet breakfasts and meals. Here in the metro, eat-all-you-can buffets have become more popular for special occasions, celebrations and food events. As a foodie, it’s an exercise in self-control every time I enter a buffet restaurant. In case it isn’t obvious from all my previous food posts on what is supposed to be a travel blog, food is really my weakness.
Here are a few tips on how to make the most of eating in buffets so you don’t end up in a food coma every time.
1. Plan your attack strategy
Just like war, you need to strategize to get the most out of your buffet experience. Since it’s not possible to try everything in one sitting, it’s best to have a good plan. Scout out all the sections first, then decide which areas to focus on. Attack where it matters the most. Go for your favorite cuisine and food items that you don’t normally get to eat. There’s no point in loading up on food that you don’t like or you can easily get any day of the week. It’s also a good time to experiment on dishes you’ve always wanted to try. Just keep portions small.
2. Aim for quality over quantity
To get the most value for your money, go for the high-ticket items first. Seafood like salmon, prawns, shrimp, oysters and lobster are more expensive than meat dishes. The Japanese section is a good place to start for appetizers like sashimi and tempura. Then, it’s straight to the carving station for roast beef, lamb, turkey and other meat dishes. Cheese, certain cold cuts like prosciutto and nuts are good intermission snack items between courses. Avoid rice, pasta, bread and sugary drinks so you can eat more.
3. Opt for multi-cuisine buffets
Multi-cuisine buffets offer more value for money than just one type of cuisine. I recently tried a restaurant that served unli-steak and crabs, but soon found myself tiring of the food after one large serving and didn’t really get my money’s worth. Having a variety of dishes instead of just one or two will really help you to power through the buffet longer, and enjoy the experience more.
Dad’s World Buffet, one of the pioneer buffet restaurants in the Philippines, has evolved from 3 types of cuisine from their restaurants (Kamayan, Saisaki & Dad’s) to a gathering of the world’s most popular cuisine. They currently offer cuisine from Asia (Singapore, Thai, Indonesian, Japan, Philippines), North America (USA), South America (Mexico, Brazil) and Europe (Spain, Italian, Greek), giving diners more choices.
4. Exercise before and after
If you find yourself attending buffet events regularly, you may want to up your exercise game to kick start your metabolism, allow you to eat more and hopefully prevent too much weight gain. You may also want to do this after eating as well. Biking regularly is a great way to keep fit and let you still eat as much as you want.
5. Stick to small portions
Try a little bit of what the buffet has to offer rather than sticking to just one thing. Break the monotony of tastes by picking a good variety of dishes in different textures. Get small portions or use smaller plates at a time so you can really focus on the dishes you want. There’s no point in piling your plate high with one type of food when you’re free to go back as many times as you want. It may seem like a “waste of space,” but salad greens can help cleanse the palate after rich or oily dishes.
6. Leave room for dessert
I’m not really a dessert person, but a lot of buffets offer an extensive dessert selection that’s worth saving room for. It also helps to intersperse small dessert portions like chocolate in between your main courses so you can eat more. If the portion sizes are too big (ex. slices of cake, pie, etc.), split them with your companions. Go for smaller bite-sized dessert portions and add some fresh fruits.
7. Look out for vouchers, special offers and promos
Watch out for special offers and promos on coupon buying sites for your favorite buffet restaurants. Some buffets offer free meals if you eat on your birthday (with a paying companion), while others offer discounts or free slots for larger groups.
For instance, Dad’s World Buffet, which is turning 38 years old, will be holding an one-day anniversary promo on August 26, 2015 (Wednesday). Guests can enjoy the buffet at a special 50% discount at P444 per person for groups of 6 or more. There are 2 time slots guests can choose from to dine in during lunch and dinner. The half-price treat is strictly on a pre-booked and prepaid basis. Guests are required to call any of the 5 branches to acquire a slot to avail of the promotion. Read full mechanics here.
- EDSA. 207 EDSA, Greenhills, Mandaluyong City. 705-1807, 722-8125 or 0917-8988124
- Glorietta. 2nd Level, Glorietta 3, Ayala Center, Makati City. 892-8897 to 98 or 0917-8978896
- Manila. 523 Merchant Bldg., Padre Faura Street, Ermita, Manila. 528-1723 to 24 or 0917-8971722
- SM Megamall. 4th Level Bridgeway, SM Megamall, Mandaluyong. 633-1758, 636-3785 or 0917-8961757
- West Avenue. 15 West Avenue, Quezon City. 372-8845, 374-3767 or 0917-8988844
All photos courtesy of Dad’s World Buffet