Monday, January 5, 2009


Every single time I go back home for the holidays (or any time I find myself back East), I somehow end up going to an Asian Buffet at least once. And no matter how many times I try to divert any/all plans to go to the buffet, I am always defeated. But what can you do if your parents are major supporters of the Asian Buffet?

My parents are not the only ones who are plagued by this "problem." In fact, I think that 99% of my friends (well, the Filipino ones at least) experience the same issues with their parents. Filipino parental units are some Asian Buffet-lovin' fools!

As long as I can remember, my parents have been all about ABs; our family, and extended family, too. Almost every event is followed by some trip to a buffet restaurant: after a Christening, after a funeral, high school graduations, wedding rehearsal dinners, post-wedding luncheons, 60th birthday parties, 10th birthday parties, post bar and bat mitzvahs --name it. More than likely, after some family-oriented event, going to an AB is/was incorporated into the schedule.

I assume it's because my parents are Asian, and Asian parents tend to always live on the "economically safe" side of things. When it comes to buying cars, homes, or even seafood at the local grocery store, Asian parents will barter till the sun goes down. Food is no different.

Honestly, my parents would flip out if I took them to dinner at, say, DC Coast. The first thing that would turn them off would be the price. A sablefish filet for almost $30 would turn them as white as a bed sheet. My Dad would comment, "I can catch you a rock rish (bass) and cook it for you for FREE!" Secondly, they would cringe at the portions. Fine dining, as you know, caters more to taste than it does to quantity. I mean, DC Coast is no effin' Cheesecake Factory, but the food is sure as hell of a lot better! My parentals would probably scoff at the two asparagus spears sitting alongside a poached chicken breast on their plates.

At an AB, on the other hand, they find themselves in a bizzaro world of food. The orange beef is bottomless, as are the hundreds of other dishes that sit under heat lamps for hours. The fact that they can go back multiple times is priceless to them, and well worth the $11.95 per person.

Still, though, I don't get the draw. AB food is OK, I guess, for those times when you don't feel like ordering in, but don't want to splurge on a three course meal with wine pairings or glasses of Chopin on the rocks. But to make it a "constant" part of your "eating out" agenda is just not cool. And my parents know ALL of the ABs in their area. I feel like every time I go back home to visit, they've got a new place to take me to. They even tried to trick me once. They had ranted and raved about a new restaurant called "Green Olives," or something like that. I automatically thought it was a rip off of The Olive Garden (which I can't stand either), but I only gave it a chance since I figured it would be something different than the usual AB. But sure enough, as soon as I entered the doorway of Green Olives, that old familiar AB smell wafted onto my face.

I was duped.

Even when the parentals come visit me in L.A., I sometimes worry about where I should take them to eat. As much as I'd love to take them to Dolce or Yamashiro, the last thing I'd ever want to do is to disappoint them with mediocre food, or a restaurant that's all ambiance and no flavor. I always end up researching where the nearest AB is just in case.

Sometimes I feel bad, because the last few times I've gone home, I've been adamant about not going to an AB. Since then, I feel like my parents have been more cautious, and they only spring the AB on me when I am at my weakest: either when I'm starving to death, or if we're on some kind of time constraint. My acquiescence is painful (to me), but I know it's loads of sunshine for them.

I just don't get it. ABs make me cringe.

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