Filipino Feasting: an annotated guide to Lamesa’s hands-only banana-leaf dinner
On Sunday nights, Queen West restaurant Lamesa serves “Kamayan” dinner, a family-style feast that’s laid out on banana leaves and consumed without utensils. (Loosely translated, “kamayan” means “eating with your hands.”) Chef Rudy Boquila and sous-chef Joash Dy serve the meal themselves, presenting each component with a theatrical flourish. And there are a lot of components—18 by our count. We asked Dy to walk us through the meal from beginning to end. Here’s what he told us.
The dark brown dollops are sawsawan gel. Classic Filipino sawsawan (dipping sauce) is made with soy, vinegar and garlic. Here, the liquid is mixed with agar agar, a vegetarian gelatin substitute, to give it a less drippy texture. (“We don’t want it running all over the table,” says Dy.)
$40 per person. Lamesa Filipino Kitchen, 669 Queen St. W., lamesafilipinokitchen.com