For many Filipinos, nothing brings people together than a shared dinner with plentiful portions of food.
Today I had the great privilege of being invited to a Filipino dinner called “Boodle Fight.” In a nutshell, it’s a convivial dinner where all of the meats, seafood, rice, and vegetables, is laid out in the middle of a banana leaf-laden table, and the guests take whatever they want from the pile, and put the food in front of them to eat. By the way, no utensils are allowed—everybody eats with their hands, called “kamayan” style. It was nothing short of a feast—there were seven different dishes (including two desserts!) and honestly, even if you just take a nibble of each, you’ll already get full. But I think what’s most memorable about the whole experience is how the food doesn’t take center stage—the conversations do—but it figures so prominently. I noticed how a few of the Filipino diners I was with would start their story, pause and take a bite (or replenish their personal pile), then continue. I certainly hope I can do it again.