Fina’denne’ (commonly misspelled finadene or fina’dene) is a spicy sauce used as a condiment.



Condiments are used by many cultures throughout the world.  One finds an array of dipping sauces in Asian cuisine; American fare includes condiments such as ketchup, mustard and relish.  On Guam,  fina’denne’ is a condiment that is found in many households and restaurants and most certainly on a fiesta table.  Fina’denne’ may be spooned over meat, poultry and fish and rice or placed in a separate small bowl and used as dipping sauce (totche).

The frequent use of fina’denne’ by Chamorros was noted by anthropologists during the early 20th century.  The use of specific ingredients for sauces in Chamorro cuisine was significant enough to warrant a classification of foods known as na’yan nengkanno’ .  These ingredients include onions, garlic, tomatoes, soy sauce, pepper, and salt. Prior to the introduction of soy sauce by Japanese, Chamorus made fina’denne’ by mixing tuba vinegar (fermented coconut sap), salt, lemon, water, and fresh pepper.  Filipino immigrants, during the Spanish regime in the Mariana Islands, introduced the technique of tapping coconut trees for sap to produce tuba liquor.  Before the use of soy sauce and tuba vinegar, however, Chamorros used a simple fina’denne of  salt and red peppers to complement dishes.


There are many variations of this sauce in addition to the soy sauce and vinegar version.  Other forms of fina’denne’ are called binakle fina’denne’ made of tuba vinegar, salt, onions and pepper; chigu’an fina’denne’ which is made with salt and brine from fish similar to sauces found in Asia and the Philippines; and, a fina’denne’ made of lemon (yellow, calamansi or lemonchina [China lemon]) juice base, salt, onions, red peppers and cherry tomatoes.  Additionally, as an alternative to the fresh red peppers that were introduced by the Spanish one may use the salted and preserved crushed red peppers (dinanche) that is available in many local grocery stores today.

Placement on the table

The “black” soy sauce and vinegar based fina’denne’ is used with meats and chicken while the “white” lemon or vinegar-based and salt mixtures are used for fish dishes or tinala’ katne (dried beef).

The “black” fina’denne’ is usually placed after the meat selection located in the middle of the table, but if there is a roasted pig and steamboat station (usually on a  separate table) the fina’denne’ is placed there. The “white”  fina’denne’ is placed where the fish dishes are, which is after the meat selection, and also near the the  tinala’ katne.

By Velma Yamashita, MA


Fina’denne’: Dipping Sauce

2/3 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup vinegar
1/4 white onions, diced (green onions or red onions are optional)
4 peppers (donne’), dinache optional

As with all traditional recipes, ingredients may be adjusted to meet your particular palettes.

Mix ingredients in a glass bowl and serve.  Fina’denne’ can been spooned over food or a small container can be used to totche (dip) meats, poultry or fish.  If fina’denne’ is served in a plastic container the flavor may “stick” to the container. You may crush the peppers, cut them or serve them whole. Caution: crushing the peppers will intensify sauce’s spicyness.

*Recipe provided by Tanya M. Champaco Mendiola