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The Great Indian Buffet

Indian Buffet

If you are an Indian food lover then you’ll love the concept of an Indian buffet. It is an age-old tradition in India and has been existing for more than 500 years & is a popular method of feeding large numbers of people with minimal staff.

The term Indian buffet originally referred to the sideboard where the food was served but eventually became applied to the form. The concept became popular in the English-speaking world in the second half of the nineteenth century. 

Buffets are an integral part of the Indian tradition mainly at weddings or other parties. A degree of their popularity is because Indians love to eat and there is an unspoken seven-dish minimum for even the most basic meals in a buffet. The concept of asking someone to mention whether they want chicken or fish on their wedding RSVP cards is foreign to Indians. At Indian get-togethers, you can not only have chicken and fish and all other dishes but you are expected to have them multiple times during the meal. Indians are the originators of the eat-all-you-can buffets.

Indian Buffet

The 20th century has witnessed the kind of activity like in the trendy Indian buffet that the earlier generations could not have thought of. The business of catering food went through some dramatic changes due to the changing demands for the food services. In a buffet, food is presented in such a manner that the guests can serve by themselves. Especially in limited space, a buffet is perfect. In India, the buffets are elegant enough to suit the most sophisticated diners. 

Generally in India buffets are more or less the same no matter what the occasion is. Take a plate, take a couple of vegetable curries, rice or naan, take separate bowls and fill them with desserts or the most famous raita. In theory, you can easily get through an entire Indian buffet without any utensils (though spoons are accepted). Tear off pieces of flatbread and use them to scoop curries and vegetable dishes.

Let us now briefly introduce ourselves to the different styles of an Indian buffet.

Sit Down Buffets

As evident by the name itself, other factors like food display remain the same, the only difference is after helping themselves with the food, the guest sits down to have the meal. Table seating is there just like any other occasion.

Standup Buffets
Indian Buffet

As the name suggests, there is no provision of elaborate cutlery since one cannot use a knife and the fork when one is eating while standing.

Finger Buffets

Another kind of buffet is finger buffets and this signifies the kind of meal where only snacks are served and no cutlery is required. The food served is typically dry.

Buffet Tea

Buffet tea is arranged during special functions & private parties where a larger number of people is to be served. In this method, food and beverages are served to the guests seated at a buffet table.

When a buffet is organized, there are a few things to be kept in mind. Firstly controlling portions so that no food is wasted is essential. Timely filing of fast-moving dishes is also necessary. The temperature of the food has to be maintained so that the diners can enjoy the food for a longer time. Cutlery must be adequate according to customer demands.

Let us now look at the most popular Indian menu items that are served in almost all buffets.

Indian Buffet Menu 

Indian Buffet


  • Chicken Tikka chaat
  • Kurkure Samosa Chaat
  • Tamartar & Cucumber Salad
  • Zafrani Tandoori Paneer Salad
  • Hariyali kebabs
  • Aloo Papadi Chaat

Traditional Condiments

  • Boondi Raita
  • Mango Chutney
  • Aam ka Achar

Live Station

  • Chaat Counter
  • Traditional Bombay Street Food
  • Sev Papdi
  • Paani Puri, Vel Puri
  • Chinese foods

Main Course-

  • Chicken Handi Biryani
  • Dal Makhani
  • Paneer Tikka Masala
  • Chicken Butter Masala
  • Ghee Rice
  • Murgh Badami
  • Rotis, Naans and Parathas


  • Gulab Jaamun
  • Ras Malai
  • Gajar-Ka-Halwa
  • Jalebi


  • Fresh Fruit Juice
  • Tea & Coffee

The Indian buffet is a balanced sensory experience combining spicy, sweet, hot, sour, sweet, crispy, and succulent dishes.

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