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First Kamayan Filipino Feast In Orlando

The Kamayan Filipino feast was the first of its kind in a public dinner setting in Orlando, FL. Kamayan is the traditional practice of eating Filipino food with your bare hands and usually practiced at home. We wanted to bring that experience for people to try while discovering Filipino cuisine. Over 40 seats were sold to this ticketed dinner event at the East End Market, taking place upstairs at the event hall and demonstration kitchen. The special pop-up dinner was definitely a collaborative event and took a group who was passionate about Filipino cuisine and culture to make it happen. The trifecta from Kappo at East End Market, Francis Biondi (FOX’s MasterChef Season 5), Jami of FilipinoDinner.com, Jonjie Sibayan and crew from Pao Cafe in Tampa, and myself, all pitched in to make it happen.

 
Kamayan: A Filipino Feast at East End Market in Orlando A Success

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Green banana leaves were freshly cut the morning of the event, cleaned up, then were placed as the tablesetting for the dinner. The food was presented in a style where the centerpiece was a variety of traditional and contemporary styles of Filipino food. 

 
Kamayan: A Filipino Feast at East End Market in Orlando A Success

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Keeping it Filipino style, we sourced a few products from the backyards of our friends. The banana leaves for the tables were from Clarito’s house of Curbside Chef food truck and Jami’s backyard in Orlando. Bringing in calamansi (a small citrus fruit native to the Philippines) into the menu, Jami brought some from personal trees from her home in Orlando and my food partner OD donated some calamansi from her yard in Arcadia, FL. Calamansi was used in some of the dishes, dipping sauces, and the craft cocktails.

 
Kamayan: A Filipino Feast at East End Market in Orlando A Success

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Menu planning and sourcing food started weeks ahead and the food prep began the night before the event. We started to prep food, vegetables, rolling out lumpia eggrolls until 2:30 a.m. Francis B made a sausage appetizer and Jami prepared a special Tocino Rib recipe that was marinating a day ahead, then cooked sous vide overnight, then hit the grill for some marks on the day of event. Pao Cafe came in with the assist on kitchen duties with the Kappo team cooking up the various Filipino dishes.

 
Kamayan: A Filipino Feast at East End Market in Orlando A Success

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The event couldn’t have happened without the help of friends cooking, plating, and serving.
Thank you!

 
Kamayan: A Filipino Feast at East End Market in Orlando A Success

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Kamayan: A Filipino Feast at East End Market in Orlando A Success

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Kamayan: A Filipino Feast at East End Market in Orlando A Success

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Mango & tomato salad, bagoong dressing
Tita Mina’s Atsara
Garlic & onion toyomansi – soy sauce with calamansi, garlic, onion for dipping
Sukang maanghang – spicy vinegar for dipping

Two sauces for dipping food were presented with Tita Mina’s Atsara (papaya salad) and a “tomato, mango, and shrimp paste salad”.

 
Kamayan: A Filipino Feast at East End Market in Orlando A Success

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Puki-Puki (poo-keh poo-keh)

On the other side of dipping sauces, an eggplant dish called Puki-Puki was cooked by chef Lo.

 
Kamayan: A Filipino Feast at East End Market in Orlando A Success

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Renee and Matthew from Hanson’s Shoe Repair, a speakeasy bar in Orlando, prepared specialty cocktails inspired by Filipino cuisine. Guests were treated to a pair of Filipino-inspired cocktails before sitting down to the feast.

 
Kamayan: A Filipino Feast at East End Market in Orlando A Success

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The craft cocktails featured Calamansi (left) and a drink inspired by the Filipino dessert (halo halo).

 
Kamayan: A Filipino Feast at East End Market in Orlando A Success

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Chef Mark from Kappo plating the appetizer, Chicharon balat ng manok.

 
Kamayan: A Filipino Feast at East End Market in Orlando A Success

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Chicharon balat ng manok – fried chicken skins

Chicharon aka fried chicken skins is something I grew up eating and enjoyed. This was a hit with the guests as they sipped on cocktails and Red Horse Beer.

 
Kamayan: A Filipino Feast at East End Market in Orlando A Success

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Red Horse Beer, a popular beer in the Philippines with 7% alcohol, was the beer of choice to pair with the Pulutan (snacks or finger food that Filipinos eat when drinking).

 
Kamayan: A Filipino Feast at East End Market in Orlando A Success

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Sinangag – Filipino Garlic Fried Rice

As soon as you walked in, you smelled the aromas of garlic fried rice and the various Filipino dishes.

 
Kamayan: A Filipino Feast at East End Market in Orlando A Success

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Menu for Kamayan Feast:

Tita Mina’s atsara – Filipino papaya salad
Mango & tomato salad, bagoong dressing
Puki-puki – eggplant appetizer
Chicharon balat ng manok – fried chicken skin appetizer
Francis B’s sausage – special blend and seasoned sausage appetizer
Sinangag – Filipino Garlic Fried Rice
Sitaw & ginataan na kalabasa puree – Long green beans with a coconut milk & squash puree
Inihaw na isda – grilled fish, red snapper
Piritong isda – fried fish, black bass
Tocino – marinated Lake Meadows babyback ribs
Lumpiang Shanghai – Filipino style egg rolls

 
Kamayan: A Filipino Feast at East End Market in Orlando A Success

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The Kamayan feast was served as a long communal table full of food and dipping sauces.

 
Kamayan: A Filipino Feast at East End Market in Orlando A Success

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Kamayan: A Filipino Feast at East End Market in Orlando A Success

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Piritong Isda – fried fish, black bass

 
Kamayan: A Filipino Feast at East End Market in Orlando A Success

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Kamayan: A Filipino Feast at East End Market in Orlando A Success

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Digging into the food with bare hands was no problem for the guests. They were very receptive to Kamayan style of eating.

 
Kamayan: A Filipino Feast at East End Market in Orlando A Success

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Turon – sweet banana, jackfruit, rolled in lumpia wrapper, deep fried

We had an adventure the night before rolling up Lumpia and Turon into the late night at the East End Market. It was great to finally taste this dessert. The Turon was one of the sweet courses served, made of sweet banana and jackfruit rolled in a lumpia wrapper and deep fried. Who doesn’t love a deep fried dessert?

 
Kamayan: A Filipino Feast at East End Market in Orlando A Success

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Halo Halo dessert bar

Traditionally Halo Halo is a Filipino dessert made with shaved ice, evaporated milk, and various ingredients of sweet beans, sweet gelatin and fruits like jackfruit, young coconut, then topped with leche flan, ube, and even ice cream. “Halo Halo” means “mix mix” so you all of the ingredients are mixed in a cup and eaten.

Guests lined up at the Halo Halo dessert bar and had a choice of their own Halo Halo mix. Pao Cafe brought in a legit ice shaver to shave the ice to a proper texture and Jen from Kappo created Filipino Leche Flan and other toppings for the Halo Halo. Pinipig, a crispy young rice, was sprinkled on top for crunch.

 
Kamayan: A Filipino Feast at East End Market in Orlando A Success

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A Filipino feast is not complete without singing karaoke so a ‘Magic Mic’ was brought to our party and guests had a good time singing American and Filipino classic songs.

 
Kamayan: A Filipino Feast at East End Market in Orlando A Success

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Francis B and friends got on the mic to sing some boy band hits, complete with 90’s dance moves. Definitely entertaining to watch.

 
Kamayan: A Filipino Feast at East End Market in Orlando A Success

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The first Kamayan Filipino Feast was a success in Orlando and we received great feed back on the food, drinks, and experience. It was awesome to participate and contribute to this dinner. It made me feel like I was back in college at UCF and hosting a dinner fundraiser for Filipino student Association. Big thanks to everyone who helped out to make this special dinner happen. The Kamayan dinner took place back in September 2014 and I’m still thinking about this feast. I think it’s time for another Kamayan dinner in 2015. Anyone interested? Let me know in the comments below.

 
Words and photos by Julius Mayo Jr.
Content and photos © Droolius.com 2014

 

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