A La Carte or Buffet for Sungkai? By Kamal Muhammad

Hunger, tiredness, thirstiness, all add up to one thing - a desire to end one’s salvation. I do believe breaking fast times are the most look forward to times during the Ramadhan month (apart from the Lailatul Qadar of course). It is the time when we all regain our energy and end the physical and spiritual restraint exercise.

But one may wonder whether it matters how we break our fast. Do we eat lavishly and eat what our natural desire command us, or shall we eat moderately and still exercise some restraint. Buffet or a la carte is the question that ponders me when ever I dine out. To answer the question, one has to experience oneself what each means.

Option 1: A la carte – Too bad, the prices doesn’t change; I hardly come across any restaurant that give discount during Ramadhan, but most of the time the prices are cheaper than buffets (depending on what you order of course). But A la carte is usually meant for those who want a simple dish (or it can be complicated), who knows what they want and most importantly want to enjoy their food. Whether one is to enjoy the food, depends on whether the correct menu is picked and the cook is doing what he/she supposed to do. If the two combinations match, then the chances are, the food is good.

Option 2: Buffets – the good one start at 18 bucks and can go as high as 22/23 bucks for the high end - pretty standard market prices nowadays. The number of dishes can go as far as 12 to 20 dishes. It is worth every penny – plus this is the best time when the price of buffet per head drops like more than 30% especially for the good hotel restaurant. Come to think about it, Ramadhan is the month of food feast where all the good restaurants comes up with their best recipe, if not this is the best time of the Year when the cooks try and promote new recipe. Good for tourism though if we can market it that way?

Anyway, that's beside the point, the question is, can we really enjoy the food? The chances of saying yes is pretty slim, with so many flavours and so many choices, one can end up spoilt by it. It just numbs one’s taste bud especially when two contrasting flavors taken one after the other. Plus a normal person intake is pretty much limited after fasting a whole day. It is just weird to push all those foods of 22 dishes down one's throat. The main reason of breaking fast turns from - to moderately break one's hunger and thirst (dates and plain water) - to enjoying food - then finally trying to fill your stomach as much as possible to make one’s money worth it.

But does it really matter with what we choose? Perhaps it may dictate one’s character with the choices that one made. If so, how does a simple choice of a la carte and buffets make a different? May be, let me try to relate that to terms which I am a bit familiar with - investment.

A la carte choosers are more focused and professional. Often they know what they want. In terms of investment, they are risk takers and can be associated more toward hedge fund investors. The rewards are of course can be greater if successful but can also be disastrous if a decision is chosen wrongly.

Buffets are for people who are unsure with what they want; they want the best in everything and want the freedom to choose. Buffets are also those who are in search for the best one in life but do not mind to lose something along the way. In terms of investment, buffet choosers are more prudent investors and like to diversify their risk in various baskets. If they can manage properly with what they invest (eat), and harness their stock picks (menu) they can make the best out of their investment.

Ramadhan is the month of blessing and for all of us to exercise restraint in hope to be a better person. We have always been tested and shall remain to be tested with choices that seem not so important but if we think hard, there are always reason of the choices we made.
[Today's guest blogger is Kamal Muhammad, the young Investment Manager at the B$1+ billion Retirement Fund.]


Anonymous said…
And all this while, I thought I was just bersungkai. I didn't realise I was making investment choices!
Anonymous said…
my family doesnt really like going out for sungkai buffet during the ramadhan, but i'd go if am not fasting. Reason: the timings because we need to be in time for the prayer times. Isyak starts as early as 7.16 these days(selajur terawih). And the Buffet, well someone will spend like at least 2 hours to fulfill the amount they have paid per head while eating smartly that is eat a bit and take short break or else you may throw up after or you won't be able to stand up and do the prayers properly.
I know there are prayer rooms being prepared to do the maghrib, but how can one concentrate so well and pray properly when you know food being served maybe are already running out and be replaced with something different.
My point is that i wish there is a buffet which is just like what they serve for sungkai but served at a later time say from 8.30 - 11pm. I know some will argue "bah join pulang sahur buffet" but the food are different and somehow the sungkai buffet has better desserts then the sahur ones.
I know it's such a wishful thought :) because there are others who would want the sungkai buffet anyway its life but we have choices so we choose the ones which suits us better and for good.
Anonymous said…
if this does reflect one's character, then, im the prudent investor..altho sometimes im a risk taker.. never tot of this before!!wat about u kamal?what r u?wud luv to know what an investment expert like u r when it comes to making choices on food.. u prefer A La Carte or Buffet?
Anonymous said…
Just to share with you, the kind of food people eat often reflects on the person's attitude to self and life. ponder upon these 3 types:

Those who are clear minded are drawn to pure foods, food that promote long life & virtue, strength & health, that make them happy & satisfied, that are pleasant tasting, unctous, soild & hearty.

Those agitated with life and drawn to foods that are pungent, vinigery, salty,excessively hot, acidic, disagreeably dry and scorching, foods causing pain, misery and sickness.

Those whose visions are dark are drawn to stale and tasteless food, food that are no longer fresh, that are leftover, unpleasant smelling, and a poor offering to the inner fire.

probably can help choose whether to ala carte, buffet or just cook at home tonight ;)
Selamat berpuasa dan bersungkai.
Anonymous said…
This topic is interesting for discussion. People have different reasons for going out breaking their fast, either at big restaurant or just a small eating places or either settle for a le carte or buffet. But then, I guess they did not realize what they are missing.

The little knowledge poured into me tells all ibadat have its own ‘nur’(light). Solat has ‘nur’, reading quran and ‘berudhu’ are all ibadat that have its own nur and so is break fasting. If we do it at our house, the nur falls on our house (berkat). If we do it at outside, our house does not get ‘nur bersungkai’ on that day.

I am not opposing to break fasting outside because if we were invited to do outside, then that is an obligation. To fulfill one good request is a pahala and where there is a pahala there is ‘nur’.

So this is investment choice, I guess. Selamat Berposa dan mudahan kita semua berolih rahmat bulan Ramadhan.
Anonymous said…
Cool! In that case i'd try to do more sungkai at home.
FlyBoy said…
How can we indulge ourselves in such excesses when our Muslim brothers and sisters who are hungry and starving in Sudan, Iraq, Afgahnistan and all over the world can barely find enough food to eat for the day?

We should ponder on this the next time we choose to dine out at a Buffet restaurant and think instead for praying for our Muslim brothers and sisters all over the world.

May Allah bless and protect the poor, the needy and the oppressed.
Ameen Ya Rabbal alameen.
Anonymous said…
What I notice is when you eat out or buy takeaway during Ramadan, we tend to eat less veggies & fruit. If you go out to restaurants, usually there's just one or two veggie dishes & the fruit is always the same. At gerais they always sell fatty foods like Roti John, Kebab, mee goreng etc. but I have yet to see any veggie food. In the end you just end up fatter!

The best investment during Ramadan is an exercise machine or a goo pair of jogging shoes! Excuse me for being cheeky Mr. investment!
Anonymous said…
I agree with 2nd anonymous about having sungkai buffet AFTER prayers,like around 8:30 - 11pm. Then one won't feel bergagas. Nyaman jua rasanya when we go out to eat.

I know there's one or two restaurants which open the sungkai buffet til after prayers. But some of the food are not even refilled and some were cold already.
Anonymous said…
Hmmm the pretty part this ramadhan is I mostly stayed at home for besungkai & cooked or go to my parent's house to memeriahkan suasana besungkai with them. I recalled only x2 I went to gerai ramadhan: the first day of ramadhan & latest was yesterday.Going for buffet or la carte is out of the question as I felt ugly that I may wasted my investment since usually when we break our fast we usually felt 'kanyang' capat even when we only drink a glass or 2 glasses of water of our choices. Alhamdullilah thats the secret of ramadhan & I do still believe with the SUNAH berhentilah kamu makan & minum sebelum kamu kenyang:)
Anonymous said…
many people around the world don't even have choices.
Anonymous said…
This is a wise artilce.But I am more intrigued with the occupation of the writer,a billion(BND) investment manager for retirement fund...sounds like an exciting job.Skip BIA,it should be TAP.
Anonymous said…
Just a thought. I myself prefer to sungkai at home with my family and follow our prophet's sunnah - sunnat bersungkai dengan buah kurma or if there is no kurma, plain water is enough. Afterthat, solat maghrib and then you can have your meal. Alhamdulilah, after doing this for almost a month now, its really 'berkat' and you tummy feel full even after three bijis of kurma and a glass of water! The purpose of Ramadan is for us to experience how the unfortunate goes without food for a day or months! So, if we have all the sumptuos food at buffet or ala carte after breaking the fast, there is no meaning to our fasting at all. I guess its the food suppliers and restaurant owners who got all our money and we are left with more problems maintaining our health...Just remember that Ramadan comes only once in a year and the whole of 11 months we have indulged ourselves to satisfy our taste buds here and there AND why cant we at least respect Ramadan with all our prayers and feel sad that its going to leave us soon AND we never know whether we will be alive for the next Ramadan?
Anonymous said…
Personally I just take 1 or 3 kurmas and water for initial sungkai, then maghrib prayers. Only then would I take proper food. This helps me stick to my diet and not overeat. Lost 5 kilos this month.

I went to a buffet sungkai 3 times, same routine and I don't really go to get my money's worth, just try to enjoy the atmosphere anf the company i was with. I think our mindset when going to buffets must change, dont try to get your moneys worth. Or even better... dont go for buffets, go ala carte.. and become more focused and professional heheh
Anonymous said…
A la carte = need luck when choosing their foods.

Buffets = need skill when picking their foods.

Btw webmaster, how about if you write about financial markets in Brunei?

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