gra-dult-hood n.

1. A stage in life between graduation and adulthood.
2. Gradulthood often involves jobs that don't fulfil a graduate's expectations.
3. A term coined during the recession.

A Gradult in (South) Korea: Pt. 5

Buffet. Perhaps the best word in the English language. When preceded with “free” it probably becomes the best phrase in any language. As a student in Leeds, the trip to the buffet became an eagerly anticipated event. My housemates and I searched out places offering one, only to be left flat-footed by the authorities when they deemed our favourite Chinese buffet restaurant to be unsafe to eat at.

With this lust for buffets still apparent, my search continues in Daejeon. Current flavour of the month is Mr. Pizza, a pizza restaurant which makes Pizza Hut look authentic. On an annoying side-note, I have yet to find a pizza yet in Korea which compares to even a fresh pizza bought from Tesco, but that’s a complaint for another day. Anyways, I don’t go for the pizza (my body still pains at the prospect of sweet potato and almond toppings). Why would I when there is an all-you-can-eat salad, pasta and tortilla buffet right there for the equivalent of less than £4?

But this happy quirk seems to have passed the locals by. Sure, they all order the salad buffet, but as a side to their pizza. They modestly fill their shared bowl with a few limp lettuce leaves and a bit of garlic bread. But, why bother with the pizza when you can fill up on pasta and salad? (Especially when the pizzas are pretty lame anyways.) I guess this idea never really struck them, as none of them do it. Even less so our servers, who, every time we go there, seem perplexed that we don’t want a pizza, we just want to ravage the buffet for the next hour or so. Such is the confusion that they come back one or two times to double check that they got it right.

And then there are the rules. Seemingly put in place to ensure that anyone that steps out of line and orders just the buffet has the hardest time possible to actually eat the thing. For example, there are two of you. But you can’t use two plates, you have to use one. And share it. But you can eat as much as you like. But within the confine of sharing a bowl. But you can go up to the buffet as many times as you like? Pointless. And the servers will enforce this rule to the best of their English ability (which, considering the annoyance of the rule itself, is happily not that great.) This is tedious to the extreme, but where there is a buffet, there is a way. And no rules are going to stop me from stuffing down a year’s amount of crab pasta salad in one hour.

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