I have this thing where I sometimes make a mess when I eat. I just get carried away sometimes, and stuff happens. I tear apart a chicken with my bare hands and get stains on my shirt. Things drip. I smudge. I stain. I don’t care. Some people like food. I like eating.
To understand this, go to a kamayan. This is a Filipino banquet where food is everywhere and you don’t have plates or utensils. You eat with your hands. You use rice as your plate, and you will make a mess. Embrace it. Don’t wear fancy clothes. Take your friends. Revel in the vulnerability that comes when you and the people you love bury your faces in mangoes and emerge with cheeks glistening with juice. Get elbow-deep into the deliciousness.
This is how it is at Tanam on Wednesdays. There’s one table, and everyone sits around it. It’s an intimate experience, and even if you’re all strangers at the beginning, eating with your hands has a way of breaking down barriers. This is sort of what Ellie, the owner, is striving for, a place for people to sit together and tell stories over food. It’s worth supporting. There is no other restaurant like this in Boston, and it’s worth a visit.