Recipes for a Filipino Kamayan Feast

filipino table setting
Photo: Carson Downing

Kamayan is the ultimate hands-on feast where guests eat at a communal table spread with banana leaves, using their fingers as eating utensils. An age-old Filipino tradition, kamayan is being embraced by a new generation of Filipino Americans to create connection and community with friends and family. Here are seven essential recipes from author and chef Yana Gilbuena for a Filipino kamayan feast.

01 of 10

Filipino Coconut Garlic Fried Rice (Sinangag)

Carson Downing

"This super-delicious rice can be made mostly ahead of time. (You need the steamed rice to cool and dry out a bit before you fry it anyway.) The final result is addictive and goes with everything on this menu, so I like to make two batches—one plain and one with the optional turmeric, which adds a little extra flavor and a pretty orange color." — Yana Gilbuena

02 of 10

Quick-Pickled Red Cabbage (Atchara)

pickled cabbage
Carson Downing

"Sour flavors are important in Filipino cooking, and quick pickles both heighten the sourness and serve as palate-cleansers, balancing and cutting through fattier dishes. This cold-flash-pickling method works with all kinds of vegetables (green papaya, radishes, and carrots are traditional), but red cabbage is an easy and gorgeous place to start." — Yana Gilbuena

03 of 10

Chicken Adobo with Coconut Milk (Adobo sa Gata)

Carson Downing

"In the Philippines, adobo is both a beloved cooking technique and a tangy marinated and braised meat dish. It's akin to the French coq au vin, but with a flavor all its own. You can use different types of meat or fish, but chicken is a favorite. I love to add mushrooms to mine—and sometimes even a boiled egg." — Yana Gilbuena


04 of 10

Sour and Spicy 'shrooms (Mushroom Sisig)

spicy shrooms
Carson Downing

"This is my vegan version of what Anthony Bourdain called his favorite Filipino dish. Sisig (SEE-sig) is traditionally made with chopped pig's face and served on a sizzling hot platter. The mushrooms here mimic the chewy-meaty quality of pork and don't take nearly as long to prepare. You still get all the salty, tangy, and spicy flavors. And no face gets chopped!" — Yana Gilbuena

05 of 10

Scallop Ceviche (Kinilaw na Scallops)

scallop ceviche
Carson Downing

"The spicy and sour flavors of this quick dish will punch you right in the mouth—in a good way. As with all ceviches, the acidic marinade "cooks" the seafood without heat—and it happens pretty quickly. So it's good to make this at the last minute and set it out just before people dig in." — Yana Gilbuena

06 of 10

Salted Egg Salad (Itlog na Maalat)

salted egg salad
Carson Downing

"Eggs are a staple in Filipino cooking, and duck eggs are especially beloved for their rich yolks. Traditional versions of this salad use salted duck eggs, which cure for weeks in a salty brine or paste. Sold at Asian markets, they taste a little like a very salty, funky boiled egg. Here, I've substituted hard-boiled chicken eggs and added fish sauce for a hint of their saltiness and funk." — Yana Gilbuena

07 of 10

Purple Yam and Coconut Mochi (Ube Bibingka)

purple mochi
Carson Downing

"These sweet and chewy little cakes get their brilliant color from purple yams (ube) and their springy texture from glutinous rice flour. They also can be baked in mini muffin pans, but I typically cut them into small squares or triangles and serve on individual squares of banana leaf, along with tea or coffee. For an extra flourish, you can top them with diced fresh mango, as we did here. Candied pineapple or dried papaya are also good toppers." — Yana Gilbuena

08 of 10

Learn More About Filipino Food and Culture

kamayan filipino feast
Chicken Adobo with Coconut Milk (Adobo sa Gata). Carson Downing
09 of 10

State of Home Cooking

State of Home Cooking

We're serving up and celebrating the biggest home-cooking trends from the most enthusiastic cooks we know: our community. We crunched the data from 1.2 billion annual visits and 2.5 billion annual page views. Then we dug even further, surveying Allrecipes cooks about what's in their carts and fridges, on their stovetops and tables, and on their minds. Filipino food is just one of the topics they're most curious about. See more of the "State of Home Cooking" special report.

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Allrecipes Magazine

This article originally appeared in the February/March 2020 issue of Allrecipes Magazine.

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