The Boodle Fight Experience

Have you ever been in a boodle fight? No, not like the violent Pacquiao-Algieri boxing fight last weekend, but the this-is-so-not-fine-dining-but-that’s-fine-because-the-food’s-hella-delicious military-style dining experience that’s becoming ever popular nowadays in the Philippines.

The boodle fight was first practiced in the Philippine Military Academy (PMA), wherein traditional Filipino food is prepared following joint military exercises or to welcome visiting politicians or high-ranking officials. Instead of the food being served in separate dishes, everything is laid out on banana leaves for everyone to “attack” with their bare hands.

It has since gone a long way from solely being a Philippine military eating tradition to becoming a unique and festive part of the Filipino eating culture.

Many restaurants in the Philippines and everywhere else in the world where there are Filipino communities are now bringing the “boodle fight experience” to the public.

If you aren’t close to one, you can host your own boodle fight at home!

Photo Credit : Flor A. of California a Filipina friend

3 Ingredients To A Successful Boodle Fight Experience:

1. The People – Family and friends willing to pig out on delicious homemade Filipino food. This is the vital ingredient that makes the whole dining experience heartwarming and festive – eating with people you share a deep connection and friendship with. Do not invite people who gross you out (kidding here, but barely) because of ingredient number 2!

2. The Eating with Bare Hands – This is what truly makes the boodle fight exciting and uniquely Filipino. Remember, in a boodle fight, there are no plates, spoons and forks. People will be eating with their bare hands, and food that doesn’t go into their mouth falls back to the uneaten pile of food on the table.

This may be a turn off to some, but it is what makes the boodle fight an experience of camaraderie, fraternity, and equality.

3. The Food – No boodle fight is complete without rice. Whether it’s plain rice, java, or garlic rice, it’s a must-have on the table. There are no holds barred when it comes to the viands. Some of the most common ones include lechon, grilled chicken, fish, squid or pork, shrimp, kinilaw, salted egg, pancit, lumpia, crabs, and almost any traditional Filipino viand. Of course, don’t forget your sauce or sawsawan.

I had my first boodle fight early this year and I can say it was one of my best dining experiences to date. How about you? Have you been in a boodle fight? How was it? Let me know in the comments below!