Hands on, absolutely

THERE are places where cutlery seem to border the plates to no end and coat and tie will be the dress code, and there are those joints where spoons, forks and knives are absent (unless requested) and a bib over your swanky (or not) garb will be in order. What is your dining preference?

To enjoy food is an adventure. There is excitement in discovering new tastes or searching for a better tasting dish, and perhaps in the process on how to enjoy the cuisine that is spread right before you.
When was your last “hands on” dining experience? Or should I ask, when was the last time you had eaten with your hands?

Very hands on individuals. "Soiled" hands, stuffed bellies, happy faces.

(Memories of childhood flooding my mind—freshly cooked rice and grilled goodies over banana leaves on the table the beach, lola’s farm in the province, even at home. Yum!)

Eating with hands (it’s not exclusive to us Pinoys, by the way, there are other races that partake their sustenance the same way) is fun especially with family or friends around the table. These fun moments, lately, I have been reliving around Davao, in public (gasp!). Here are two of my favorite restaurants where food will be enjoyed to the maximum when eaten with hands.

Conchings Native Chicken & Fastfood.
Araullo-Mabini Streets. (082) 221-4448.

The go to place for comfort food 

How else should barbecue chicken be eaten? With your fingers of course. The roasted native chicken is just delicious and the puso (white or brown rice cooked in woven diamond shaped palm leaves) makes a perfect pair (no compacting with fingers necessary).

Pinch, pull and bite on these sexy, tender native chicken.

Have a heart, please. Rice cooked in woven palm leaves. Unwrap & enjoy.

Dig in on your other food order. Try the inihaw na panga (grilled tuna jaw) smothered with garlic (it’s heavenly and a favorite of mine) and very tender Grilled Squid. Of to be missed are the rest of the offering in the fastfood section—the Kinilaw in coconut milk, the Guso (seaweed salad).

Not to be missed- the grilled panga is smothered with garlic.

Fresh & crunchy, the Guso (seaweed salad).

Blueposts Boiling Crabs & Shrimps. 
J.P. Laurel Avenue. (082) 221-8360. 

Blueposts Boiling Crab & Shrimps’ treats will make you sweat.

If you love shellfish, then this is the place to go. Here is a joint where the crabs, good-sized shrimps and large mussels are boiled in a secret sauce and spiced according to your taste—mild, medium or very hot. These house specialties are served in clear bags and can include sweet corn, potatoes and sausages.

If you like what you see, put your fingers on it. Crabs with sweet corn & potatoes.

Shrimps, sausages & sweet corn in a bag.

Oh-la-la...Big mussel. You want?

Maybe you can start with the Fish Fingers (breaded and fried fish fingers), dive into the trio of goodness (the crabs, shrimps and mussels) and maybe take your seafood experience further by trying the deep fried Tuna Belly (very tender and tasty) topped with fried garlic.

Deep fried Tuna Belly topped with fried garlic is a must-try.

Although eating with the hands can be fun there is a downside to it. I, for one, believe it’s a bad idea, a very bad one, since I am trying to count my calorie intake. There is a big chance that I will partake with the feast with gusto and eat more than I should. But then again, I may have lost the battle by throwing caution to the wind, giving in to the temptation and gobbling up, but I won tons of fun and good times. Now that’s priceless!

Big babies with bibs waiting for the grub to be served at Blueposts Boiling Crabs & Shrimps.