FARM-TO-TABLE AND SEA-TO-SEAT ON MOVING BOATS AND REMOTE ISLANDS.
A rich fishing culture and years of working the land have allowed us to create a unique take on island cuisine. Our food is a showcase of Palawan’s sea and soil, Filipino food techniques and practices, and our own travels around South East Asia. Dishes are always fresh whether we’re cooking on a moving boat or a remote island.
Proud of Our Menu
For us, food is not just about what you eat. It’s a reflection of what the environment can produce, a showcase of local taste and technique, and proof of self-reliance and resilience.
We’ve always worked with what was locally available to make food we and our guests wanted to eat. In our early expeditions we bought fish from fishing boats we passed along our routes and scoured our island stops for fruits and vegetables. We cooked in the smokey kitchens of our first hosts, using traditional techniques to make Filipino dishes.
As our routes expanded and operations grew we built our own food systems with a focus on community involvement and training. Today we have a unique home-grown cuisine that tells a story of the islands and islanders.
The Kantina is our main kitchen. It is our space to showcase what fishermen can catch, what the Farm and nearby farmers are able to grow, and what our crew can do with some creativity, traditional techniques, and training.
The kitchen serves up to 50 Farm guests per meal everyday.
The Kantina is open, spacious, and at the center of the Farm to invite guests to see exactly how our food is made.
There is no refrigeration at the Kantina. All ingredients are fresh and cooked within a few days of harvest. Cooking is done with firewood, rocket stoves, and a termite mound oven.
14 cooks, butchers, and bakers work at the Kantina and 17 on-board chefs began their training here.
Our on-board kitchens are equipped with a few essentials and manned by one cook each, but they produce the same fresh and delicious food. When in the boats, we often stop by local villages to pick up fresh produce or try our luck at catching fish along our routes.
While many Filipino dishes are largely vegetable-based and can do without meat or fish, generations of islanders have grown up on meals of dried fish or meat and rice. The concept of plant-based eating is difficult to grasp in this context. After stabilizing our fruit and vegetable supplies both in the Farm and with our partner local farmers, we’re now experimenting with plant-based takes on Filipino dishes using the produce we have available.
Gathering the family or village for meals is a non-negotiable in Filipino culture. “Island time” is given not by exact times but by how much time there is before the next meal. At Tao dishes are served in large plates in the middle of a table, and everybody eats together. It’s as much about the company as it is the food. This makes for a convivial energy around the table that’s starkly different from the fast-paced and solitary meals you may have gotten used to.
The cuisine that results from the Farm and the Kantina is a take on island food by a band of islanders who not only explored but also reshaped the islands. The ingredients are fresh, ethical, and involve communities of locals. If we don’t grow or catch them ourselves we source them from our partner farmers, fishermen, backyard pork and poultry raisers, and home vinegar makers. The methods are honest and real. We don’t shy away from showing guests we butcher pigs. When we need coconuts we climb trees. That’s what you have to do. The dishes show creativity and resourcefulness. We work with what’s available to create and recreate dishes on land and water. It’s hospitable but still proudly Filipino. Over the years we’ve learned to adapt to the preferences of our guests without sacrificing our own. It’s seasonal but consistent, intentional but adaptive. Throughout the year our crew meet to see what’s available from our production and that of those around us. We create menus that showcase our environment and maximize our skills.