5 Genuine Filipino Dining Experiences

Despite the effects of modernization to our usual norms and ways of living, Filipinos still make it a point that their culture remains preserved and intact. Start reading this article and start experiencing these 5 genuine Filipino dining experiences.

1. Boodle Fight – Fine dining experience using silver and china wares they say is a noble way of eating but I believe that Filipinos have their own righteous way of dining through boodle fight. Such way of eating is done without spoons and plates. The food is simply placed on top of a banana leaf and the diners use their bare hands to eat. This manner of serving food is originally done by military men to indicate equal treatment and brotherhood towards everyone.

2. Saw-Saw – This is another eating habit which depicts a real Filipino. If it is your first time to visit the country and you happen to have breakfast with someone, you might think it odd to see him dip a piece of bread into his morning drink but trying this would make you realize that the bread is tastier when dipped into your morning drink.

3. Kamayan – Is fish apart of your menu? If you answered yes, the kamayan technique of eating is the answer to make you enjoy the feeling of eating your fish dish. “Kamayan” is a manner in which you use your five fingers to pick a lump of your food and when you are about to eat it, you have to push the food using the thumb so it enters your mouth. This used to be a rural way of eating but since “kamayan” has already been a trade mark of Filipino culture some Filipino restaurants opt to provide dining experience through this manner.

4. Kam-mel – If at any rate you were invited to visit a fish pond in the village and they ask you to go fishing, you may not need to bring fishing rod with you anymore. This is because native Filipinos have their own way of catching fish through their hands. This is what they call “kammel”. This Ilocano way of fishing is done not in the sea but in shallow rivers or fish ponds found in farms.  When fishing with this manner, you have to make it a point that the water on the fish pond is drained or if you are in the river it has to be shallow. All you have to do is to slowly go to the “rama” (fish trap) and slowly use both hands to grab them. You can only grab one fish at a time and catching with bare hands requires a strategy. Once you caught the fish with your bare hands, voila!!!! You just had yourself a freshly caught fish that’s ready to be grilled and served.

5. Binalot – When Tupperware and lock and lock food storage products were not yet known in the Philippines, local folks already have their unique way of carrying food with them by means of the banana leaf. Most farmers still practice this food packing technique because they believe that the food becomes tasty when wrapped with banana leaves. I guess these townsmen are right because Banana leaf is all natural and it could not cause any health hazard towards people. This traditional food packing style is also adopted as a trademark of local restaurants promoting Filipino culture.

Binalot Filipino Rice Meal
Binalot: local rice meal in the Philippines
Image By Jerick Parrone via Flickr

These are but parcels of the various dining experiences which you can enjoy when eating Filipino foods.  Remember that eating genuine food is not enough when you don’t try eating them in a genuine Filipino way. So what are you waiting for, go and eat good Filipino foods and start eating like a genuine Pinoy!

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41 thoughts on “5 Genuine Filipino Dining Experiences

  1. Anonymous

    I love the 'saw-sawan' most. It enhances the taste of food and add spices to it. Actually saw-sawan is always present on my diniing table.

  2. Lady Spring

    Kamayan talaga + in a banana plate. We use the same whenever we have our fiesta. Much safer for the environment + we don't need to do a lot of dish washing. Wah memories.~

  3. Jhari

    Iba talaga pag Pinoy. My husband is amazed with us pagdating sa kamayan. We're the cleanest people when we eat with our hands. So proud to be Pinoy.

    Visiting from CE Aug21.

  4. Gaylee

    Guilty ako sa 3 out of 5: saw-saw, kamayan, and binalot, hahahaha! haven't tried the Boodle fight and Kam-mel but I'm very much willing if given the chance.

  5. Farida

    I tried all except for Kam-mel. I wonder how this is possible when the water is murky? I'm sure the guy knows what he's doing 🙂

    Boodle, I've tried at Seafood Island which is really scrumptious as they have varied dishes from across the archipelago. Binalot, I also experienced but parang so-so lang coz the food does not really taste any different. Kamayan, a buffet restaurant that serves Filipino dishes… sarap to pig out here. And of course, saw-saw! I guess this is the most popular especially with pan de sal and kapeng mainit! 😀

  6. itin

    Kammel looks like a fun experience of catching fish rather than with the use of spear. I may need to dig down deeper in the mud to get the big fish.

  7. reese

    haha…great post!
    love, love it discussing a Filipino culture on how we eat…i experienced the binalot, kamayan, sawsaw and boodle fight, need to try that kammei haha

  8. Olga

    You can have that boodle fight experience in a resto setting at Seafood Island. 😀 Banana leaves are not only toxin-free and safe for packing food, they are also biodegradable and do not need to be washed after eating. 😀

  9. Allan

    When I was still young (but still young now, lol). Me and my cousins used to make "kam-mel" in the nearest shallow river near our grandparents house. But I am really afraid of leeches. hehehe
    -daddy allan (visit from BCB)

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