Republic of Cavite Restaurant
Trece Martirez City, Cavite (behind the City Hall)
Event Duration:  January – March 2009


Kamayan Festival

The art of eating with your hands.

If you are a foreigner visiting friends in the Philippines, chances are, you may be introduced to this way of eating… if only for fun.

Filipino meals are usually served with the diners getting their own portions from the choices laid out before them. You have serving dishes for rice, and “ULAM” (main entrée and accompaniments). Get portions of these onto your plate depending on your preference.

We do not use the palm area to carry food in the mouth. Rather, throughout the meal, only the tips of the fingers will be used. Also, unless you are eating chicken or opening shells off crabs, shrimps, etc.. Stick to just using your right hand. The left hand is best kept clean so when you reach over for more food, you do not soil the serving plates by using the clean hand to handle it. If you are left handed, vice versa. Serving plates usually have serving spoons so do not worry about eating dirty food.

Wash your hands before sitting down (of course).

Eating with Kamay

Tips and Guidelines In Practicing The “Kamayan” Art of Eating

On your plate:
1. Using the tips of your fingers, separate a bit of rice. About a teaspoon portion. Better start small. Get your “ulam” (again with only the tips of your fingers) and place on top of the rice.

Use the four fingers in unison (like sides of fingers glued to each other - karate chop style) when you tidy up things around your plate (using the four fingers like a broom).

2. Palm down, put the four fingers at the back of your rice and ulam bit. Using the thumb, push the food to the tips of the four fingers. With a deft motion, flip your hand palm up. Check the picture. The food should now sit on the tip of your fingers.

3. Bring to your mouth with the tips of the fingers just touching your lips. And use the thumb to push the food into your mouth. The smaller the food portion, the neater it is. Go bigger as you get more adept.

Reactions are varied. Definitely, lots of laughter as eating with your hands brings out the child in you. Many find it very awkward. But more actually find eating with your hand makes the food seem more delicious.

Lutong Bahay
A Celebration of Filipino Food & Music