Ah yes the Chinese buffet, a great place to go when you want to load up on your favorite crab Rangoon's and General Tso's chicken all for around 15 bucks(and all you can eat). As tempting as it may sound, we all know what happens after a trip to the buffet….. We load up BIG on about 2-4 plates and shortly after we start kicking ourselves wondering why the heck we even came here in the first place .
You might either love them or hate them. But the truth is that common buffets are really very popular in our restaurant culture in the modern world. Mainly originated from Swedish culture, buffets are one of the massive sectors for any restaurants to make a lot of profit and also get a severe amount of traffic on their business.
But have you noticed that when you are at a buffet, you will be able to eat less amount of food in comparison with your normal capacity.
Was it the simple matter of scarfing down too much food too fast? Or was it a clever ancient Chinese secret whereby the chef implemented certain ingredients that would make you feeling full? Seems like an interesting topic we’re all dying to find out the answer/science behind. So that being said, let's dive in and tackle the mysteries behind buffet food and why it makes us feel so full after a couple bites
The Simple Answer
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When it comes to Chinese buffet cuisine, we find ourselves surrounded by options that are very high in saturated fats , carbs, and proteins. All of which are foods that make us feel full at a faster rate. It is also a combination of eating too fast when presented with foods you really enjoy. It wouldn’t come as a surprise to feel full after eating a full plate of chow mein noodles (saturated carbs) with a mix of other proteins which are usually coated in a sugar glaze(like sesame chicken, orange chicken, general tso's chicken, etc.).
Is Chinese buffet food designed to make us feel full?
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From a business perspective it would be reasonable to assume that Chinese buffets try to maximize profits by offering their customers foods which will make them feel full. Although most foods at a typical buffet are high in saturated fats, carbs, and proteins, it isn’t always the case that buffets only have these options to offer for their customers. There are a variety of other options including salads, sushi, lean meats, and much more. All of which won’t make you feel like you just swallowed a tire.
It is all up to the consumer to decide what foods to partake in to achieve different results. But let's be real, who goes to a buffet for a salad? Talk about boring, we want the comfort food we all know and love.
Keeping that in mind, most buffets prey on that mindset and load up their foods with all the good stuff that tastes good but also makes you feel full.
How can I get the most out of my money when going to a Chinese buffet?
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For an average of 7-15 dollars a person to dine at an all you can eat restaurant is quite a bargain depending on the consumer. It’s easy to walk into a buffet and stuff your face with a few plates and then leave unsatisfied. The key to getting the most out of your money when going to the Chinese buffet is as follows:
- Keep a good variety
People who go to the buffet on the regular tend to go to the buffet for their favorite foods and stick to them. When it comes to getting the most bang for your buck, you may want to eat a variety of foods that you know might be costly if you were to go out and prepare the food yourself. Perhaps get yourself a bowl of fruit salad from the salad area. Buying pre-cut fruit can be costly and is a great value at your local buffet. Also, don’t be afraid to try the seafood considering that can be a costly venture when prepared at home.
- Eat SLOW
I know this one is kind of common sense, but often overlooked. When you ambush your stomach with too much food at once you will not be tempted to grab anymore . Maybe, instead of going right to the good stuff, have a salad first and work your way up. Keep a good pace and just try to enjoy every bit of it.
- Ask for a to-go plate
It doesn’t hurt to ask, even though it may be against the buffet's rules. Let's say you happen to grab a plate with too much food and you explain to the waiter you can’t finish but would like to take home so you don’t waste any food. It’s worth a shot, but don’t expect much.
- Planning out your day
If you are going to the buffet and you are on a budget, you most likely are trying to get the most out of your money. If this will be your only meal for the day then you shouldn’t be heading to the buffet around breakfast/lunch hours. Try to go around the middle of your day so that the food you eat will keep you full until bedtime
Are Chinese buffets a scam?
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As stated above, it really depends on the consumer. What I mean by this is, are you really getting the most out of your money? Do you eat a couple plates and leave? If so it may be better just to get a Little Caesar’s pizza and call it a night. But also consider the quality of food that is being served at your buffet. If the quality is below mediocre then maybe you should just consider going to a Chinese restaurant and getting the real deal. Keep all of these things in mind on your next buffet adventure and you won’t go wrong when it comes to your expenses.
How a buffet is organized
First of all, you need to look at their organization. This is basically the second point of the three layers of tactics that I have discussed in the previous part. If you notice that, when the buffet event is organized, every food is laid down side by side in a specific manner. But this organization is not random. There is a deep tactic behind it.
For instance, you're going to notice that not all of the rice items are together side by side. Some rice items might be at one table and some others might be at the others. But if you look at the gravy items, you would notice that all of the gravy items are sticking together mostly. This is the first strategy of organizing. There are two different strategies in this case. First let me discuss the first one. So, as I was saying, when you are organizing all of the crazy items together, it creates a diverse situation inside the customers mind.
Usually, you would pick the bread items or the rice items at very first. Especially if you are at an Asian cuisine buffet. Consider the rise of the bread or the basic item as the white paper for drawing a painting. You have your rice, that means you have the canvas ready. Now you need the paints and the brushes. Which are basically the other dishes such as the gravy items, meatballs, meat, egg dishes and so on.
But, when you have all the baby items together, and you start taking them one by one. Psychologically, You are dealing with a basic problem solving scenario. When you are seeing that you have six different gravy dishes that include really attractive color and order to them. You will have a tendency to try as best as possible to taste them all. Right here, when you are picking too much gravy item, which is an obvious psychological thing to do for most of the human beings. Your dish currently is getting filled with more and more liquid and semi liquid items. Such type of items are usually condensed in terms of the spices and the ingredients that they include. Which obviously mean that you will have less amount of capacity while eating. Because the gravy items are comparatively dense, you will automatically feel that your stomach is getting filled quickly. That is why you would need that a glass of smoothie helps fill your stomach more than a burger.
The second strategy of organizing the food is to keep all of the similar foods together. By that, you will have a tendency of tasting every single item as much as possible. You will be picking small amounts of every single dish that they're available. But at the end, you will end up filling his stomach faster.
Now that you know the ins and outs of buffet food it's best to take a deep breath, enjoy the food / atmosphere and just have a great time with your friends or family. If you are looking to get the most bang for your buck, just follow the steps above and you'll be one happy diner! Thank you for reading. We hope you have the best experience engorging in crab rangoons!