making > filipino kamayan feast

For my birthday last year I held a kamayan feast at my house for a dozen+ of my closest friends. I’ve talked about kamayans before when I took Jen and some coworkers to Jeepney in NYC. This was my first time throwing my own kamayan though. Here’s how to throw your own.

First up is a lot of banana leaf-related prep work.


You can buy these big ass packets of banana leaves  in the frozen section of a Filipino market. It took 5 packets to cover a dining table for 8, a small coffee table, and a card table for 4. After you thaw them out they need a good wipe down with a damp paper towel (that’s the baby brother on banana leaf wiping duties).

Then the fun part.

On a low flame with the powdery side of the banana leaf down, slowly heat every section of the leaf until you see it turn waxy. This makes the leaves stronger which means it can take the heaps of food you’re about to put on it. It will also make your house smell like the Philippine countryside. Use tongs to keep your fingers burn free.

I lined the tables with plastic tablecloths and then put a layer of banana leaves on them for easy clean up afterwards. Literally, I just rolled up the whole shebang when everyone was done and threw it away.

The food is a mix of homemade, storebought, and from a restaurant.


The full menu:

  • jasmine rice (homemade)
  • fried tilapia (fried at the Filipino store)
  • sauteed Chinese long beans and mushrooms (homemade)
  • steamed shrimp (homemade)
  • lumpia (homemade)
  • chicken bbq (from Fil-Am Cuisine)
  • chicken adobo (from Fil-Am Cuisine)
  • pancit (from Fil-Am Cuisine)
  • longanisa (store bought and then cooked at home)
  • salted egg + tomato salad (homemade)
  • lechon kawali (from Grill City inside Seafood City)
  • sauces: soy sauce + vinegar, sweet chili, Mang Tomas

For dessert I brought out some ube (purple yam) and buko pandan (fragrant coconut) ice cream.

Ta da!


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