My public speaking professor at Midlands Tech said never to start a speech by apologizing for lack of speaking experience, content, or how many times you say uhm. I would be breaking that rule if I apologized for this being the least informative restaurant review you’ll ever read.

Spice Junction is a brand new Indian buffett in West Columbia, in the shopping center with the Hobby Lobby, Dollar Tree and Bi-Lo on Augusta Highway. It’s very easy to miss, being tucked away in the corner near the GameStop. It is also within one mile of my job, so today I set out to see the new lunch offerings because that area is just overrun with mostly same old same old fast-food fare.

Once inside, you pay at the counter ($7.99 for a lunch buffett, $9.99 for dinner), and go to town on the buffet. If like me, you are a novice at Indian food, you’re in luck because the owners are happy to hang out behind the buffet and explain what things are and the heat levels. When I asked what didn’t contain meat, the woman swept her arm over a huge portion of the buffet line and said, “All of this is meat-free.” Hello, excitement! The few meat items were clearly labeled, so I loaded my plate with a few different things- the only one I know what it was for sure is the naan which is like Indian pita bread. Soft and delicious, and a perfect mild way to avert some of the heat from some of these dishes.

From the top going counter clockwise: chickpeas in a tomato-y sauce (mildly hot), peas, onions and something else in a tomato-y (I think) sauce, yellow rice topped with mashed lentils (hot!), naan, and a vegetable samosa hiding under the edge of that bowl.

After chowing down on all of that and downing two glasses of water I went back up to the buffet line and asked what would take some of the heat out of my poor, burning mouth! The lady suggested I try their mango pudding, luckily, that really helped. Holy hell. It was a bit thinner than the pudding you might be used to, but it has a wonderfully rich mango flavor.

There was still so much more left to try, but my mouth could only take so much sizzle in one sitting. I hope that they do well and continue to add and rotate out new menu offerings, because I will definitely keep returning to learn more about Indian food and the different flavors that are still a real mystery to me! Check them out, support local business (especially such a vegetarian friendly one!), and learn something about a type of food that you may have never tried before in a buffet style setting so that you can sample a little of everything, then tell me about it here to give this post a little more meat substance! For the little information that is available about them online, you can check that out here.