by Ian Riley
TORRANCE – Patrons of the Han Dynasty Buffet got more than they bargained for Saturday night, as area man Paul Cox pushed the boundaries of the phrase “all you can eat.” Cox entered with little fanfare, paid his $12 up front, and asked the host if there was a limit on the buffet. What followed would be a gormandizing feat the likes of which no one could have expected.
“We offered him a plate, but he said there was no need,” said waitress Judy Wang. “We didn’t understand what he meant until he pulled a gallon tub out of his bag and made a beeline for the food.”
Eyewitnesses reported his first victim were the wontons. “They just brought out a new tray. Must have been at least fifty in there. He just started grabbing them by the handful,” said eyewitness patron John Backer. “I wasn’t too worried at first, but he just kept going until there were none left.”
But Cox proved that no dish was safe from his wrath. He moved on to the orange chicken, stopped briefly at the beef and broccoli, and ravaged the shrimp lo mein. Experts estimate Cox consumed approximately $400 worth of entrees, and enough MSG to kill a large dog or small cow. Yet he was not done.
“He finished drinking a mop bucket full of egg drop soup when he got this look in his eyes,” explained manager Richard Chen. “I thought the slaughter might be over, but it turns out he hadn’t noticed the dessert bar. It never stood a chance.”
Cox began with chocolate and butterscotch pudding. Then he ate an assortment of cupcakes with reckless abandon, cleaned out a full dish of tiramisu, and finished it off with an estimated six pounds of fortune cookies. When the traditional desserts ran out, the staff resorted to freezing duck sauce into popsicles to satisfy him.
After almost seven hours of gluttonous gorging, Cox finally got up to leave, smacking his lips. “We thought he was gone,” said Chen, “but he came back in almost right away and took all the mints. He didn’t even unwrap them, just stuffed them all in his mouth.”
We reached out to Cox for a comment, but his family reports he returned and immediately went to sleep, not to wake again until his insatiable craving for moo shu pork should inevitably return.
Until that time, the staff of Han Dynasty Buffet lies in wait, ever alert for Cox’s return, woks at the ready.