Outdoor kitchens are nothing new in Asia. Before the advent of the gas and electric range, outside was where the cooking was done, probably because in warmer countries, people want to keep heat as far away as possible from the living area.
But even after people equipped themselves with snazzy kitchen appliances and gadgetry, a lot of homes till have outdoor kitchens. We like cooking with these macho-looking fires. We like our grilled meats and seafood, and we like our pungent eats. So the outdoor kitchens remain.
We had one when I was little, and it just had a sink, a wood stove-slash-grill, and a tiled counter. In the Philippines, it’s called a “dirty kitchen” — not because it’s dirty-dirty, but because it uses charcoal and firewood so it’s sooty most of the time, and because a lot of dirty work is done there. I remember live chickens being slaughtered a few times there, and a pig and a goat at least once, before they were roasted in a makeshift spit in our backyard. Now we just have one kitchen, a regular indoors one, though we still have a grill outside.
Meanwhile, in the Western hemisphere, there is a burgeoning desire for al fresco dining and outdoor cooking, and kitchen designers are coming up with such gorgeous outdoor kitchens that I find myself suffering with a bad case of “outdoor kitchen envy”. There are a lot of gorgeous ones I see on food and lifestyle shows, and I drool over ones I find online. We have a decent-sized yard and I like hanging out there with my friends on the occasional cool night. Having one of these would be just awesome: