Something you will learn when you are in the Philippines is that a number of English words take on a completely different meaning here. Most Filipinas desire a dirty kitchen! No, it isn't a roach and rat infested kitchen with grease splatters on the walls and a pile of dirty dishes in a clogged sink. A dirty kitchen is simply an outside kitchen, not located inside the main house. The dirty kitchen has been part of the Filipino Culture for hundreds of years and everyone who owns one is proud of it! “We have a dirty kitchen,” is proudly proclaimed!
A dirty kitchen is much more common in the province, aka the countryside, however, many modern homes in towns and cities have one. Townhouse and condo dwellers cannot have a dirty kitchen but they are found in many houses located in subdivisions. The dirty kitchen is the pride and joy of every homemaker and they make it nicely as can be afforded.
Dirty Kitchen Advantages
Anyone who has ever cooked a meal knows that cooking food leaves odors in the house. Some of the odors are actually pleasant but many odors are not so pleasant. Seafood is a staple in the vast majority of the Filipino homes and is cooked daily. With a dirty kitchen, the odors of cooking and preparing food remain outside the main house!
When we bought our home in Bacolod City in 2011, it was about 90% completed and there wasn't a dirty kitchen. One of the first things my wife wanted to add to our new home before it was totally complete was a dirty kitchen! Inside our dirty kitchen is a LP gas burner, a large sink with underneath storage space for cooking utensils, counter space, a 4 tier rack for further storage and for placing newly washed dishes for drying, a full length wooden cabinet for storing spices, flatware and dishware, 5 gallon jugs of purified drinking water, wall shelves, a rice storage bin, aka rice dispenser, and an electric fan. One of the more important items found in a dirty kitchen is an electric rice cooker! It is used daily. The dirty kitchen is actually a space saver and frees up the home living area for better utilization.
In the Philippines, where there is food, there will soon be ants! Having a dirty kitchen keeps down the ant population inside the main house.
The Philippines is already hot everyday, so cooking outside the house does not increase the heat level inside the family home.
A Gathering Spot
Filipinos love preparing food and they love to eat. Who doesn't? The dirty kitchen is also a gathering spot when friends and relatives drop by. Preparing food and talking about what's happening or what's going on is a favorite pastime among many. Tismis is often the term used for this type of talking, which is what Americans may term as gossiping! Filipinos do not have a monopoly on tismis, as expats also tend to gossip at expat gatherings. Not so much in a malicious manner but just talking! Hello?
Sharing about that new brand of wok, the sharp cutlery, non-stick skillets, clear glass pots, the waffle iron, the bread toaster, the sandwich press, and other kitchen gadgets are always interesting conversations.
There is nothing wrong with having a few cold ones while gathering in the dirty kitchen! In my opinion, a home is not complete in the Philippines without a dirty kitchen, if it is possible for you to have one. If you are living in your own house, a dirty kitchen can be added without spending an arm and a leg. We spent only P20,000 to have our dirty kitchen built but we already had 3 walls to work with, which were already constructed. If you can't stand the heat, get a dirty kitchen!