Five Reasons I Shun All-You-Can-Eat Buffets

I wholeheartedly resent the “All you Can Eat” concept; particularly with buffets.

It is a sketchy (yet intelligent) marketing premise and is a guarantee that your meal will be void of quality essentials such as truffle oils, avocadoes, and perhaps even WHOLE EGGS.

No thanks, I would rather go hungry and feed on seven leaves of organic radicchio for the same price.

Disclaimer: May be perceived as offensive…take with a grain of (Pink Himalayan) salt

So, here it is: Five Reasons Why I Shun All-You-Can-Eat Buffets:

1. The Food Sits Out: While I am sure some establishments are adamant about refreshing trays as frequently as possible, most stick to switching out dishes once they near completion…which could very well be never for unpopular dishes such as potato salad. Plus, we all know how unappetising congealed scrambled eggs drowning under wisps of grease look, which leads me to my next point…

2. Egg beaters: Unless you are dining at the Four Seasons, chances are those scrambled eggs are egg beaters, which is why their colour is so monotonous. And while some people adore and swear by the convenience of egg beaters, I only consume my unborn chicken spawn from their original shelling.

3. Hygiene: Even if the establishment abides by all the health codes in the world, people are inherently gross…particularly children. They will grab a piece of toast, notice it’s whole wheat, and shunt he tongs to put it back WITH THEIR HANDS! Hands which have touched doorknobs!

4. Food Quality: Anything all-you-can-eat is going to be lower quality, because in reality the restaurant does not actually know how much you can eat. And of course there are many people who will devour the sun and the moon and the stars in one sitting thinking they are taking part in a fabulous deal (when in reality they are polluting themselves with poor quality ingredients and demolishing their productivity potential for the remaining calendar day). Note to yourself: If you are paying $9.95 for a lunch theme park, then the beef wellington is most certainly NOT organic and grass-fed and that caviar is really some sort of artificial roe. Oh, and the caesar salad dressing would probably violate Danish law since it’s 87% trans-fat.

5. The Overwhelming Factor: Choice can be overwhelming, which is one of the many reasons why I am also an active shunner of casual dining establishments as their menus are far too vast! Any menu or spread with too many choices forces me to turn on my inherent cost-benefit-analysis and figure out which quantity and set of foods will lead to my optimal outcome. The factors that go into figuring this out are: Hunger levels, what I ate yesterday/earlier today, what I will eat later, is this a rare opportunity to eat this, will I be social for the rest of the day (if yes, anything with garlic or kimchi is automatically cancelled out), and of course cravings…if available. While this reason might not be applicable to all people, I am not afraid to admit that too much dining choice still elicits some anxiety.


With that said, I will admit that when abroad, I do enjoy hotel breakfast buffets- particularly the ones in Dubai, Riyadh, Stockholm, Bombay or Vienna; the price point is certainly higher (we’re talking closer to $50 per person), but the quality of the food is actually impeccable and the fact that I am traveling and have things to do, people to see, and chic outfits to wear prevents me from eating past the point of satisfaction. Oh, and the eggs are usually made to order!

What are your opinions of all you can eat buffets?

Best buffet you have ever eaten at?

Do you prefer limited dining menus or ones that resemble miniature textbooks?


14 thoughts on “Five Reasons I Shun All-You-Can-Eat Buffets

  1. Though certainly true, your critique gave me such giggles. I would say that I generally dislike limited menus unless I intend to be surprised and trust the source. Certain menus just facilitate payment for something you would not care to order in any season.

  2. Love this post- so true! The hotels here offer Sunday buffet brunches but like you said, they are at least 50 bucks per head so you know the quality is going to be good! Also when food is just laid out, chances are flies are slowly picking their way through! I rather dine a la carte and concise menus please! Otherwise it overwhelms the life out of me and chances are the dishes will taste sub par- quality over quantity people!

    1. Ahhh speaking of fabulous Sunday brunches…that one at the OBEROI! Damn, what’s the name of that restaurant again…they have a Moet & Chandon Sunday brunch that is glorious- it used to be called Tiffin before 26/11, I think. but that buffet is killer! And Frangipanni! But yes whenever I go back to Dubai, we go to the nice hotels for the brunches and they are GLORIOUS!

      1. Yess that is my all time favorite brunch…I have to order champagne to justify the price- the name now is Fenix! Frangipanni is excellent too- you need to come back :)!

  3. That was a very interesting post, since I’m all for buffets. Especially buffet brunches. I love the idea of so much salad, cheeses, fruits and dessert at one go. Had it not been for the numerous brunch spreads that I have indulged in, I would never have tasted so many cheeses! The heavy plates can be annoying at times 😛
    When you have the time, do drop by my space. I’d love to hear from you.

  4. Buffets just overwhelm me and I usually avoid them. But I agree that abroad the buffets are out of this world! I remember having breakfast at the Mandarin Oriental in Singapore and I seriously just wanted to camp out all day. It was amazing! From dosa to pastries to smoothies to crepes – it was just fantastic.

    Here in America? Not so much.

  5. Yes the long awaited post! I completely agree with you on all points – especially food quality. There is nothing worse than those all-you-can-eat chinese/thai/generic asian food buffets which consist of mound after mound of battered fried food. Barf. And on the off chance that I do go to a five-star buffet, like you, I don’t particularly enjoy being spoilt for choice. When I was in the states that was the one thing I couldn’t wrap my head around – particularly eating in a dining hall which was a foreign experience for me as UK student. Every meal was preceded by 10 minutes of aimless wandering and I always felt like I had to have a little bit of something new “because I could”.

  6. I think buffets are gross. People just stuffing them selves. My mothers family, who are all clinically obese always hit up buffets and stuff them selves because they want to “get their moneys worth”. What does that even mean? Plus communal food is just gross. I don’t want to eat from anything that has been sitting out and other people have been digging through.

  7. I completely agree with your 5 points! There are some buffets that I have been to and actually feared for my health! Gross. There are some that are much more fresh and actually taken care of at all hours of the day, but those are much more the exception than the rule
    And of course they allow you to eat whatever you want in any quantities, so you have to know when to stop eating. All about listening to your body and self control!

  8. Couldn’t have said it better myself.
    Just ….ditto to all.
    I also think it sort of encourages gluttony and overeating. My ex-boyfriend used to have to lay down in the back seat after leaving CiCi’s pizza (all you can eat pizza, dessert, salad for like $3.00.)

    I never eat at all you can eats or buffet-style places.. and though the Bars at Whole Food look intriguing and fresh — they are just too dang pricey. And I admit, I the idea of a sushi buffet but have still never been. They seem like the turn around would be quick and the food clean.

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