Ghetto Grub: Tamerlane’s Ihaw’sDecember 31, 2018
- Nico GocoWords
Kamayan, or the Filipino practice of eating with one’s bare hands, is still something I do regularly when I’m at home or whenever I camp out. I particularly like eating fried chicken wings and rice this way (I associate this with happy childhood memories, go figure.)
Outside of the actual “Kamayan” restaurant however, I wouldn’t have thought to see this done at other eateries. This made stumbling upon Tamerlane’s Ihaw’s (yes, that’s exactly how they spell the name of the restaurant) over at Antipolo a pleasant, though unexpected, surprise.
Despite its location, all the seats are packed full during lunch and dinner.
Tamerlane’s is hidden along a nondescript street in a quiet residential area in Antipolo. Still, despite its location, all the seats are packed full during lunch and dinner. It features the usual ihawan fare of grilled meats and seafood, all of which are displayed at the counter. The ordering process is simple. You point out or hand over your selection to the cashier, they grill it, and then serve it you. You can now proceed to eat.
With nothing but your hands.
That’s right, every customer in this restaurant has to eat kamayan style. There are no utensils. It’s just you, your plate, and a banana leaf. Oh, and your hands, of course.
The approach is interesting enough that even the Korean residents of Antipolo have become regulars of the eatery.
The food is nothing out-of-this-world, but you can hardly go wrong when it comes to grilling. The seafood looks fresh enough and safe to eat. They regularly run out of stock of the items on display, so you can bet that they fill a lot of hungry bellies. Items are affordable, with prices ranging from PHP 15 to PHP 60 for the pork barbecue, BBQ chicken wings and grilled pork chops. Whole seafood, like the catfish and squid, can range from PHP 80 to PHP 140, but these are good for sharing. They also have grilled vegetables, and a salad made up of tomatoes, onions, and salted duck eggs.
Every bite is more satisfying when you need to scoop your meal with your fingers.
Eating here during dinner is particularly pleasant. The hot rice and grilled meats seem to taste better with the cool night air doing its best to save you from the tropical heat. Every bite is more satisfying when you need to scoop your meal with your fingers, blow on it to cool it down, and bring the food to your mouth in just the right way to prevent any piece from spilling to the floor.
It’s rustic, it’s simple, and it forces you take your time eating as you just can’t relentlessly shovel food into your mouth like you could with a spoon. In a city where tradition is becoming a novelty, it’s refreshing to experience eating like this again.
If you’re ever in Antipolo and want to experience no-frills dining in the traditional Filipino way, try Tamerlane’s Ihaw. It’s nothing fancy, but we really wouldn’t want it any other way.