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Jun 15, 2013 09:16 PM

Why are certain cuisines more prone to all-you-can-eat style restaurants?

I'm thinking in particular of Chinese, Japanese/sushi, Brazilian steakhouses, and Korean BBQ.

Why aren't other cuisines more prone to AYCE syndrome? Like Mexican, or pizzas, or hamburgers? Not that those aren't extant, but that they are much more rare compared to, say, Chinese AYCE buffets.

Any thoughts?

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  1. I haven't thought about it much but my first thought with Chinese AYCE buffets in mind is that the prep for most of the dishes is the same in terms of same ingredients with different sauces and it sits "well." I think it's interesting that while the components are similar, it's efficient in that with just simple changes they can create dishes which taste different and thus fit the concept well as you satiate one taste group and then move on to the next - e.g. Orange chicken vs. spicy General Tso's chicken, basically the same thing with a play on a brown sauce where one is sweet and the other more spicy than sweet. There are pizza AYCE restaurants, but I think there's too much variety in preparation in most dishes on a Mexican menu for a good AYCE buffet. I think others just don't lend themself well to the concept - I can eat my weight x 5 at a Brazilian steakhouse but probably wouldn't be much into an AYCE hamburger restaurant.

    8 Replies
    1. re: fldhkybnva

      Whoa ? !

      You can eat 500 pounds of Brazilian steak? :-)

      1. re: ipsedixit

        I'm up for the challenge :) I have been known to steal others' red/green cards when they are done to surround myself with the go signal.

        1. re: fldhkybnva

          love that card... I use to play with it at my toy table instead "tea"

      2. re: fldhkybnva

        I disagree that Chinese food "sits well'. I have found steam table Chinese buffets to be invariably a disaster.

        1. re: fldhkybnva

          There is that CiCis pizza that is all you can east pizza and pasta. They even have a macaroni and cheese pizza...I use to have to go there after flag football games as a reward if we won....I still shudder and vomit a little in my mouth...

          And I have this friend and whenever I spent the night at her house her parents would take us to Golden Corral, Troth dining at its finest tiny meat balls, "steak", mexican, potato bar, pizza,and assorted red pastish things... kids screaming spills on the carpet... food being stuffed into fake coach purses.....It was aggressive sport eating

          1. re: girloftheworld

            food being stuffed into fake coach purses

            But of course.

            Wouldn't want to sully the *real* Coach leather goods.

            1. re: girloftheworld

              I think I dated your friend's cousin.

              I dated a very nice young man in high school. His family (aunts, uncles, cousins, grandma, etc.) all gathered together on Sundays to hit the local buffets (Golden Corral being a favorite)

              These were decent, church-going, generous (BF and GFs were always included) nice people that thought there was nothing wrong with taking as much as they could carry away from the buffet. I'm not talking about a cookie for the ride home but a dozen rolls, slices of ham, meatloaf for the dog, etc. I remember feeling very embarrassed.

              1. re: cleobeach

                If you're not already a misanthrope, observing homo sapiens at a buffet will make you one.

          2. I've been taken to a few dessert buffets in East Asia, though judging from my experiences around the world, I've seen just as many Indian AYCE as Chinese, if not more. Some foods work well for long times in chafing trays, it seems (goop, ie sauces which cover whatever animal/vegetable is placed in said sauce), yet there are even sushi restaurants of this genre. Which might make you wonder how low can one go (ceviche buffet, anyone?)


            1. It has always struck me as odd that Chinese is so common as a buffet - what with the cuisine not generally being focussed on dishes that can sit around for ages being kept warm.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Harters

                Perhaps that's why it's common in the US, where it's not "actually" Chinese, and more of a saccharine goopfest.

                Also, blue collar 三菜一汤 (three "dish" one soup) places have food that sits out for quite a while, and they are found all over China (not to mention, Manhattan's Chinatown). They aren't necessarily AYCE or buffets, but for me (and a few other patrons), they have tended to the former...


              2. This is odd. Other than the Brazilian steakhouse, I have never been to an AYCE place of the type you list. Actually don't think any of those cuisines are great for AYCE buffet. Sushi? Sitting out in some counter waiting for someone to pick it out? No thanks. On the other hand, Indian buffet is a favorite.

                4 Replies
                1. re: Bkeats

                  All the AYCE sushi places I've seen make it to order.

                  1. re: JMF

                    That's been my experience also. And for a set price no one should expect the moons and the stars in quality. And, in my experience, they generally exclude sashimi.

                    1. re: c oliver

                      Have been to a couple AYCE sushi and they all included a limited number of sashimi choices, along with sushi and lots of hot items like teriyaki, etc.

                      And all have had the rule listed that they would charge extra for uneaten rolls (though I have never seen that rule come into play).

                      Not the greatest sushi ever, but a fun dinner for a group.

                    2. re: JMF

                      The first time I went to a Todai, I was amazed at all the little old ladies fighting over sushi & crab legs.

                  2. I don't know, there seems to be a lot of those Golden Corral and Old Country Buffets type places popping up all over. Bad american food in unlimited quantities.

                    Not quite AYCE but Red lobster doe "endless shrimp/lobster" specials often and Olive Garden does endless salad and bread sticks. Lot of american chains also seem to do some version of this too. In theses cases it seems to be a loss leader to get in you in the door.