You see goodness every day, and you also see monsters walk about in daylight. And you might wonder, could I be one of them? How far down the rabbit hole before the distant glow of goodness and sun tucks away under dirt and dark? Can I cut the gentility from out of my eye sockets and lose myself to sin? I wanted to see it happen.
So I decided that I would go to an Asian buffet. The Hibachi Super Buffet on East Ave in Lewiston to be exact, only a mile from campus but close enough to hell that I might whiff sulfur and tar on the way there. I was going to walk, arrive, eat and leave alone, to really sulk in the filth of the situation, to really know loneliness and attempt to fill that sinkhole with won ton soup. I ended up arriving with the bulk of the rugby team though, a good group if you’re trying to capture the spirit of human viciousness.
So the restaurant is hidden in a brick wall and you might imagine middle-aged men in khaki overcoats sneaking in and out reeking of guilt, hoping their wives will never know their lapses in sound morality. We enter and are immediately sat down at a long table a short crawl from the buffet line, close enough that we could reach over and dip our hands into the Big Bird yellow (but blood-thickening-ly delicious) mac and cheese. The essential characteristics and formalities of an Asian buffet are all present.
Surrounding the dining area there are sheets of decorated and frosted glass, preventing you from looking anywhere but your plate, like blinders on a racehorse. The chairs are all covered in a vaguely Asian-looking bamboo pattern. There might have been a fountain, the white noise of artificial bubbling probably being lost between the strokes of that odd Chinese fiddle that sweeps about in the background. I’m sure if you would ask, they might bring out a paper placemat ringed with information about the zodiac, so you could feign surprise and intrigue when you discover yourself to be an ox for the twelfth time in your life.
I had three plates of food. One plate was a half-half split of dumplings and sushi, there being about a dozen pieces of each slopped into each hemisphere of my ceramic world. The dumplings were good: oily and hot and maybe crunchy and filled with some sort of meat. I really did not know what was inside but I was here to suffer so I didn’t care. The sushi was abundant and lined up on cellophane and they all looked vaguely the same, recurring elements of avocado, crab meat, and some sort of something else mixed into the sticky rice. The gluttony and depravity was authentic; I downed a couple while standing above the sneeze guard, almost choking on a California roll.
The second plate was nothing special. Various abominations mixed into a heap. There was lo mein, slick and salty and dangerously good. I felt a little better knowing there was a vegetable tangled somewhere in the sticky brown wonder. There were several incarnations of sauce/chicken combos: General Tso’s, Orange, Coconut, Honey, Tangerine (why have orange and tangerine?), Sweet, Sour. They were all present on my plate and they left fairly quickly. It really is good stuff, but I felt a void open up in me knowing that I had probably consumed a whole chicken.
The last plate was for dessert. The staples of an Asian buffet being almond cookies, jello and pudding. There were no almond cookies but sure enough there were jello and pudding. The cubes of jello were oddly stiff and sweetly red and I ate about a tray of it, mashing on the jagged corners. There were four or five types of pudding available so I took them all and mixed them into a gray sludge on my plate and then I ate the whole mess with my bare hands and snorted off the remaining lines of sludgy sweet.
I left with two fortune cookies, in case I didn’t like one fortune I could just swallow it and have a new one. Nobody talked on the ride home, we only groaned occasionally as we shifted in the car. Overall, it was excellent. The food is tasty and you can lose yourself to the viscosity of savagery and mindless destruction for only $7.