Tableware has gone a long way from our grandparents floral plates and melamine bowls. Thanks to the pandemic, our collective interest in ceramics, pottery, and tableware in general has significantly increased.
At some point, quarantine felt like a bunch of people with nowhere to go were constantly stalking IG thrift shops for the most unique and beautiful things to “mine” just to feel anything (something I’m very guilty of).
And while our confinement has since ceased, our love of tableware has endured beyond our involuntary detention.
Objects like quirky trays, wabi sabi mugs, and mismatched vintage cutlery now confidently take up residence in our kitchen cabinets and drawers. Aside from the physical space it takes up, one specific item, though, has taken up real estate in our hearts and minds: plates that are also bowls and vice versa.
These ceramic vessels go by different names. Just a few are “blates,” “dinner bowls,” and “deep plates.”
The rare occasions I ate at restaurants during the pandemic, I always used to joke with friends that seeing a plate that doubled as a bowl as the vessel our food was served in usually meant that we were in for a treat.
To be fair, I was never wrong.
There’s a charming—and utilitarian—quality to using plates that are also bowls for your main dining vessel. The combination plate bowl provides people with more versatility in how they create and consume their dishes.
The base’s flat surface means you can lay different components of a dish without necessarily having them touch (which is a distinctly plate characteristic), but you can go crazy with the sauce and not have anything spill over thanks to the high walls (a markedly bowl benefit).
For voracious eaters like myself, I can stack food, sauces, condiments, and toppings safely without worrying about anything sliding off the edge of the plate I’m using. It also cuts down on the number of dishes I have to wash after the meal has commenced.
Filipino cuisine in general is a joy to consume with plates that double as bowls. In dishes like adobo, caldereta, and mechado, sauce is king. The best way to eat any of these dishes is to scoop your rice sky high and bathe it in sauce until each grain has been thoroughly coated in savory, umami-rich flavor.
Soup dishes—most notably bulalo and sinigang—also benefit from the bowl-plate hybrid for the same reason.
Plates that are also bowls may seem like a little thing to non-enthusiasts, but they present a tangible little joy that comes with every meal. It defies convention through combination and makes for a novel experience whenever you use it.
Dear plates that are also bowls, thank you for being the MVP that you are. And if you’re looking to expand your collection, here are a few places you can start your search.