How to eat at an Indian buffet
This comes from a real expert:
Stick to the water; don’t order any beverages off the menu. Scan the buffet area and commit all the dishes to memory. Then go back to your table, look at the menu and identify which entrées are the most expensive to order à la carte. It is inconsequential whether you like these entrées or not. The purpose of eating at a buffet is to get the most value for money by selectively feeding the face with the most expensive dishes. As a general rule, avoid the rice, samosas (and other fried food), raita and dal. Gulab jamuns are usually microwaved straight out of cans, so don’t go near them. Paneer dishes never have any paneer, so you can avoid those, too.
At a quality buffet, there will at the least be a lamb, goat or shrimp entrée. You should be good at fishing out only the high-value bits from the curry with an elegant, clean Azharuddin-worthy flick of the wrist. If a cooked-to-order masala dosa is offered, you are permitted to eat the dosa, but not the potato-based masala. The rationale behind this is that even though the dosa is made from cheap ingredients, it is a value-added product because of the specialized expertise and time required to make it properly. If you eat the tandoori chicken remember not to pick off all the meat from the bone as you would at home. As a rule of thumb, round up 0.5 or greater of consumed food-unit to higher whole number. If others stare at you, it is their problem, not yours ... remember that you are pitted against desi restaurateurs who will try to thwart your noble objectives by making curries as oily, creamy and hot as possible. So, tactically it is to your advantage to avoid the gravy altogether.
(Via Tyler Cowen.)
| September 27, 2010; 11:47 AM ET
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