Buffets, like hawker centre fare, are an integral part of local food culture.
These all-you-can-eat spreads can be found at many kinds of occasions - weddings, trade fairs, conferences, birthday parties, office gatherings, workshops, community events, gala movie premieres and many more.
Not to mention, there are plenty of buffet joints to satisfy those who are in the mood to get stuffed at lunch or dinner - no reason required.
Trouble is, it is difficult to gauge how healthy - or rather, unhealthy - those delectable spreads of food are.
Of course, health-conscious folk can simply avoid going for buffet meals at restaurants. But if you are at a special event which has catered food you have no choice but to eat what is being served. Sometimes, even the vegetables you find there could be heavily coated with oil.
Most of the time, I'd feel guilty after a buffet feast. However, I was pleasantly surprised at a recent social event which served a spread which was mostly prepared using healthier cooking methods.
The chicken was grilled with a honey glaze, slabs of poached fish sat atop crunchy cabbage and there was a baked meat and veggie pie covered in a golden pastry crust.
It even had a seafood soup on the side. For once, I tried almost every dish, licked my plate clean and still felt pretty guilt-free afterwards.
Catered food, whether in the form of buffets or tiffin meals (known as tingkat in local slang), is commonly ordered and served here. So, it is important that such meals aren't too damaging to your health.
The good news is, caterers are becoming more aware of this and are coming up with healthier offerings, although challenges remain.
Let's hope we will get to enjoy more guilt-free buffets in the future.
This article was published on May 8 in Mind Your Body, The Straits Times.
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