The Kamayan Feast at Casa Manila is a truly beautiful dining experience. I recently attended a media tasting at Casa Manila for the launch of their new Kamayan Menu. The 9 course menu features massive amounts of delicious Filipino food laid out on Banana Leaves and eaten with your hands! The Kamayan feast is a Filipino tradition to celebrate the joy of eating. Eating to celebrate eating… amazing! Owner Mila Nabor Cuachon is very passionate about her food and culture, with interesting, fun stories behind every dish.
When we sat down, the long table was already covered in fresh Banana Leaves, which would be our plates for the night. We started off the night with Calamansi Mojito Cocktails, a rum Mojito made with the national citrus of the Philippines. San Miguel beer (from the Philippines) was also served and the Kamayan feast is the perfect setting to drink and be rowdy with your friends and family. For the non-drinkers, try the Filipino root beer- Sarsi.
A few appetizers were served to being the meal. We tried the Sinigang Baka, a flavourful sour soup made with ground Filipino Tamarind and loaded with veggies. We were then treated to the Chicaron Manok aka deep fried chicken skin! This chicken crackling was topped with adobo seasoning, pickled green papaya and served with garlic aioli. We then tried the Lumpia Shanghai, a Filipino take on the Chinese spring roll with a meatier filling than it’s Chinese counterpart. Ok, so that was just the appetizers.
The tables were completely cleared away, and the sound of a gong/drum could be heard. This was followed by huge platters of food on banana leaves being brought out. There was a mountain of deliciousness in front of us. Truly epic… I almost cried. There were big chunks of pork belly with crispy skin, among a ton of beef ribs, chicken skewers and a giant fried Flying Tilapia fish. All of this sat on top of 3 different types of rice: white rice, brown rice, garlic rice. In addition to this, everyone was given different types of sauces to dip and mix into the food, including a creamy coconut ginger sauce, adobo garlic sauce, peanut sauce, shrimp paste and some others that were all part of Casa Manila’s Mabuhay collection of sauces. The sauces enhanced the dinner with delicious flavours, especially the shrimp paste, made of crushed dried shrimps (really tasty with the garlic rice!). There were no utensils and it was very satisfying to pig out on all this delicious food with my hands! At the centre of the Kamayan feast was the giant Flying Tilapia, an entire fried fish that we ripped at with our hands. For a balanced meal,there was also a tangy green mango salad to eat with the grilled and fried foods. This was made with jicamas, tomato, red and green onions. We were also served Kamayan add-ons including the Pork Sisig (crispy pig face parts on a sizzling plate) and Milk Fish dish. Most people at our table were pretty full at this point, as the Kamayan feast without add-ons is already a ton of food, but I highly recommend the Pork Sisig… so good!
The 9 course Kamayan feast also includes the Halo Halo (mix mix). This was a shaved ice dessert covered in cream, topped with assorted fruits, sweet beans, custard, purple yam, puffed rice and Ube Taro ice cream (Casa Manila teamed up with Marble Slab to make this ice cream). A giant version of the Halo Halo was brought out… a beautiful sight to behold. We shared it among ~12 people, but I dare anyone to take on the MEGA Halo Halo on their own. This was a very impressive dining experience that was both fun and delicious. The new Kamayan Dinner menu is $28/ person, and you have to have at least 4 people. The more the merrier, as food portions depend on group size and the Kamayan feast is a fun, social dining experience to enjoy with friends and/or family!
879 York Mills Rd.