Boodle Fight!

Recently, I experienced a Philippine tradition in dining called a Boodle Fight. Now, this is the epitome of finger food.  There are no forks in sight or any plates for that matter. The food is piled high on top of banana leaves in the center of the table and everyone digs in with their bare hands.

This concept isn’t completely foreign to me and reminds me a bit of the way we eat crawfish in Louisiana. It’s tradition there to cover a table with newspaper and pour out the hot crawfish, potatoes, corn cobs and what ever else happens to be in the boil pot onto the table and feast.  Finger licking good, literally.  For the Filipino Boodle Fight the newspapers are replaced with Banana leaves, but the overall thought process is the same.

If you look up the term “boodle fight” online,  you will get a variety of answers. Based off of what I experienced recently, The Urban Dictionary defines it best as “a military style of eating where long tables are prepared and food are on top of the banana leaves. Viands and rice ready to eat using your bare hands, jugs of water are prepared on the side to wash hands before the ‘eating combat’.” There wasn’t any ‘fighting’ over the food, but I definitely recived a few glares reaching for crabs outside of my area, haha. Here are a few pictures showcasing the meal.

A  little bit of everything is spread down the table.
Pork BBQ and Chicken Inasal in the works.
Don’t forget to wash your hands. Local Calamansi works just like lemon.


The fish dish in bowls on either side of the shrimp and crab is called Kilawin. It is a Filipino Ceviche made with vinegar and raw fish. Delicious.
Green Mango, Salted Egg, Tomatoes and Onion.


Pork BBQ.
Chicken Inasal gets its color from the addition of Turmeric.
Crab Claw.
If you don’t want to eat directly off of the table cloth (banana leaf) then you can always make yourself a plate…covered with a banana leaf. 🙂
Bibingka Malagkit (a sweet, sticky rice dessert)
Sapin Sapin this is another glutinous rice desert. It is made with coconut milk and has many colorful layers.
The best mango in the world is found right here in the Philippines.


You can see the colored layers of the Sapin Sapin.

This meal was really a surprise for me because it was such a good time and felt super authentic. I love experiencing culture through food.  Meals like this really encourage conversation and interaction between the diners. Even though it is a little outside the typical comfort level for some people, as far as ‘germy hands’ go, it can be fun to let your guard down and to just get down and dirty with some good food 🙂

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