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Kamayan Feast Coming To Kaya in the Strip District

Executive Chef Ben Sloan will offer a festive, eat-with-your-hands spread on Tuesday nights.

video courtesy kaya

Get ready to get your hands dirty. Pittsburgh’s first Kamayan feast is coming to Kaya in the Strip District.

“I was researching things online, looking for things to do that were different. I saw something about Eater about a place in NY called Jeepney. And the next thing I know, I’m watching ten videos and getting excited about it,” says Ben Sloan, Kaya’s Executive Chef.

The Kamayan feast is a communal, celebratory Filipino-style dinner that features an abundance of food and an absence of utensils.

Here’s how it works: A twisted bed of steamed rice is arranged over banana leaves. Heaps of food then are positioned on and around the rice. Sloan is preparing roasted banana-ketchup glazed ribs, fried whole porgy, lemon-lime soda garlic shrimp, lemongrass mussels, adobo chicken wings, charred green beans in fish sauce, lumpia, fruits such as mango and pineapple, pickled papaya salad and more for his take on the Kamayan feast.

Diners use their hands to eat everything on the table.

A general guide: Wash your hands. Use your right thumb and index finger to pick up a small portion of rice, roll the rice into ball, and, if you want sauce, dip the ball into one of the provided sauces. Pick up a small portion of one of the meats or vegetables. Pop the whole thing into your mouth. Repeat until full.

I had a lot of fun at test-run of the feast last week [one set of hands in the above video are mine]. Everything was tasty, and the fried porgy, the papaya salad, ribs and wings were particularly good.

Reservations are required for the Kamayan feast. It’s $35 per person, with a minimum of two people, maximum of six.  Call 412/261-6565 for reservations.

Show up hungry.

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Hal B. Klein is Pittsburgh Magazine’s associate editor and restaurant critic. He is an award-winning food and drinks writer. In his spare time, Hal can be found in his kitchen, in his garden and exploring the wonders of Pittsburgh. Follow him on Twitter (@HalBKlein) and Instagram (@halbklein).


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