Tuesday, November 28, 2023
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How to Kamayan

What is kamayan?

By definition, kamayan means “by hand” and when dealing with food, kamayan means to eat with your hands. You can eat with your hands for any meal but when a Filipino friend asks you to join them for a kamayan meal it is more of a celebration of sorts…while eating with your hands.

Food Display

You might be familiar with crawfish boils or clam bakes where food is dumped onto a table for everyone to eat. Kamayan is similar except you’re eating with your hands and do not have utensils. While clam bakes or crawfish boils will line the table with newspaper or parchment paper, the Filipino kamayan table is covered with banana leaves.

The other thing to do is use foods with vibrant colors. The green banana leaves help bring out a contrast and make the meal more exciting to eat.

Chill and Let Go

It takes a lot of courage to grab food with your hands and eat it in front of everyone. One thing to remember is that everyone at the table is doing it so don’t worry about getting food on your face. Just let it go. Everyone should be relaxed and having a good time in their favorite eating outfits.

What do I serve at a Kamayan meal?

Like many things, there is a foundation. In this case, the foundation of a kamayan meal is rice. It can be white rice, fried rice, or some kind of rice. It’s okay if it’s just white rice because all the other flavors will complement.

For this meal for about 6 adults and 2.5 kids, I served the following:

10 cups of rice

2 tilapia – fried

14 lumpia shanghai

Lechon Kawali

Crispy Pata

Tomahawk steak

Hanger steak

10 shrimp skewers

Tortang Talong


For additional decoration, I added:

6 mangos

1 cucumber

8 bell peppers – sliced



Filipino meals usually have some kind of sauce on the side. In this case:

Coconut vinegar


Clean up

The best part of all of this is cleaning. Just start on one end and roll up the banana leaves and send to compost.

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Edel Alon
Edel Alonhttp://edelalon.com
Edel-Ryan Alon is a starving musician, failed artist, connoisseur of fine foods, aspiring entrepreneur, husband, father of two, geek by day, cook by night, and an all around great guy.


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