International Buffet Rules

Among the world’s buffet lovers there are cultural differences, ignorance, bad manners and gluttony. The first is understandable, the second and third not so much and the last one is just fine.

To my mind no one has ever written this. Somebody had to.

  1. Give or take a few scraps it’s always wrong to take more than you eat. You don’t get to rebuild the buffet at your own table.
  2. You get to ask restaurant staff for drinks, additional cutlery, condiments etc — you get your own food.
  3. Kids love buffets but you’re going to have to serve them. None of that running around and trying stuff and putting it back, tongues in the chocolate fountain stuff. Likewise restaurants, you can’t leave all the food unmanned. If it’s open to families you need some crowd control and sometimes YOU have to ask parents to watch their kids. Don’t make other diners be the bad guys.
  4. But…if it’s at the kind of place where “eat as much as you like” is advertised for a stupidly low price — then they cheat you by limiting the good stuff — then it’s probably not really a place for decorum anyway. Wasting food rules remain but beyond that just accept it’s every one for themselves and if you can eat more food than you paid for then you win. Kids get a lot more freedom here too. If any of this bugs you then you’re probably in the wrong place.
  5. Likewise if you’re in an expensive place and you’re a rich, bored, international young adult — don’t go putting your cigarette out in your sushi or playing with your lobster. Everyone hates you and the only thing worse than leaving food is ruining it.
  6. The rest? Fuck it. I don’t care. Eat only ice cream if you want to. Be strategic and avoid carbs in favour of protein. Forget the set price thing and just eat what you want then stop before you feel sick. Whatever.

I think that covers it.

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