Boodle Fight is a Filipino restaurant that specializes in kamayan feasts, otherwise known as “boodle fights.”
The term “kamayan” translates roughly to “eaten by hand.” No cutlery is required for these smorgasbords laid out on a long pile of fried rice on top of banana leaves. Calling this kind of eating a “boodle fight” has military origins, “boodle” a slang term for contraband food.
The decor is sparse in the humble restaurant, the main ambience coming from a TV in the corner broadcasting Wish 107.5, a pop hits station in the Philippines.
All that matters is that there’s enough table space to spread out the epic boodle fights, cling wrap hygienically laid down underneath first. What’s listed on the menu as the “MAIN FIGHT!!!” goes for $15 a head for a minimum of two people.
From there the feast is itself laid out by hand, starting with oranges that provide colour as well as juicy refreshment from all the grilled items to come.
The orange wedges cradle handfuls of julienned mango and carrot salad, the acidity of which also helps balance out all the other rich, savoury flavours.
The garlic rice here is fragrant, roasty, sticky yet fluffy and steamy, the ideal foundation for a boodle fight.
Whole grilled milkfish is beautifully charred on the outside, tender, white and meaty on the inside, full of bones but also glorious steamed and flaky flesh. More delicate tilapia and chewier squid are excellent as well.
Mussels on the half shell and whole shrimp are usual smaller seafood items in a boodle fight, seasoned with a secret blend of dry spices. It’s well-cooked seafood, sweet, not too fishy and a little smoky from the grill.
Veggies like grilled corn, okra and eggplant balance out the meal, all with a wholesome, backyard barbecue flavour.
A boodle fight would be nowhere without skewers of tender little chunks of grilled chicken or pork smothered in sweet and smoky BBQ sauce.
Funky shrimp paste can accompany anything. This one isn’t as smelly as some, strong but balanced, and of course soy and vinegar are on every table.
Squid sisig ($11.99) is apparently a typical accompaniment to kamayan, as if one were needed. Nevertheless, the sizzling dish is rich and warmly spiced with an egg cooked in the dish.
Longsilog ($8.99 with a drink) is one of a half dozen traditional Filipino garlic rice and egg breakfasts served here before 2 p.m.
If your group treats meals like melees, give a good old fashioned boodle fight a try.