Brent Tayah, 27, loves Mariah Carey. He once joked that Indian food is his favorite because she said she loves it.
Tayah doesn’t actually know if Mariah loves Indian food, but he certainly does. His all-time favorite restaurant in Tucson is Sher-E-Punjab, on the corner of Grant and First. Tayah’s number one dish there? The buffet. Okay, it’s not a dish, but rather an opportunity to taste many of the things that the restaurant has been putting out for at least the last ten years, which is as long as Tayah has been dining there.
“It’s a mixture of everything combined that’s good,” Tayah said. “It’s like a big taste explosion in your mouth.”
Every day, seven days a week, Sher-E-Punjab puts out a lunch buffet. Judging by the amount of tables that were occupied and the amount of people going in and out, it is fairly popular. Among the offerings: chicken tiki masala, chicken curry, beef curry, veggie samosa, fruit, rice and delicious, freshly-made naan. Tayah loves it all but he is especially taken with the samosas.
“It’s like a taste frenzy in your mouth,” he said.
Tayah grew up eating vegetables such as corn, canned meat (like Spam), rice, beans, fry bread and a lot of lamb. The lamb he ate, however, was nothing like this.
“It makes me wish that (all) lamb would taste just as good as they make here,” he said.
As the meal wore on, Tayah and his friends slowed down but they made a couple of passes at the buffet. They returned with plates piled with meats covered in dark sauces, white rice with bright green herbs and red chicken pieces. Finally they were done and ready for a nap.
“The best thing about eating at this buffet is that you don’t need to worry about eating at all for the rest of the day,” he said. “It’s so filling you go into a food coma. My brain always tells me to stop but you just want more. You can’t help it.”
There’s a Chinese proverb that says, “Every grain of rice you leave on your plate is a teardrop in a farmer’s eye.” Tayah said, reflecting on the quanitity of food he just ate.
“Two tears were shed today,” Tayah said as he looked at the two grains of rice that just would not be eaten today.
That’s why Tayah loves where he eats.