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Boodle Fight

Mark Berkowitz

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final boodle.JPG

OK, I’ve never got an answer in the Philippines as to why there was a 'Fight' during a 'Boodle Fight.'

So, I asked my wife’s Fil-Am friend about it, and she said that there are no manners involved during a Boodle Fight… and everyone has to grab their food before someone else grabs it.

Since I was still curious, I checked with Wiki, and learned even more about it, and that there may even be an American connection to the terminology.


Sources indicate that the term "boodle" is American military slang for contraband sweets such as cake, candy and ice cream. A "boodle fight" is a party in which boodle fare is served. The term may have been derived from "kit and caboodle"; caboodle is further derived from boodle or booty.

Table manners

A boodle fight is a meal that dispenses with cutlery and dishes.  Diners instead practice kamayan, Filipino for "eating with the hands". The food is placed on top of a long banana leaf-lined trestle table and in the true military practice, diners do not sit in chairs but instead stand shoulder to shoulder in a line on both sides of the table.

A senior officer or enlisted personnel then utters the traditional command for the boodle fight to begin:

"Ready on the left,
 Ready on the right,
 Commence boodle fight!"



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  • 2 months later...

I didn't really bother thinking about the inclusion of the word fight in boodle fight. I always see Filipino families have their boodle fight during lunch in their cottages whenever I visit resorts in Laguna and Batangas. Aside from the etymology, I think the fight is between their appetite to see who can eat most of the food served since the food is often abundant but not equally proportioned to the number of the people who will eat. 

  • Hmm thinking 2
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