Sherman's Food Adventures: Kamayan-Style Dinner @ Kulinarya

Kamayan-Style Dinner @ Kulinarya

I'm sure many of you have either seen or tried a seafood boil in Vancouver and/or in the States.  Something about a pile of food and eating with your hands has a certain appeal and wow factor.  Sure, it may not be for everyone and really it can get rather expensive, but the novelty does exist where it is worth trying at least once.  Something along the same lines is the Filipino Kamayan-Style Dinner (or boodle fight).  Multiple dishes of Filipino cuisine are stacked or lined up atop banana leaves for a group to share without the use of any utensils.  A bunch of us recently visited Kulinarya in Coquitlam to experience this feast.

We arrived a bit early, but since they were still setting up, we ended up waiting outside until they were done.  Once inside, we were greeted to a long table lined with banana leaves with the dishes we chose for the meal.  Sitting atop rice (wished it was garlic rice), there was Kaldareta, Crispy Pata, Fried Tamarind Chicken, Fried Bangus, Pinkabet and Lumpia.  Rounding out the mess of food was some fried plantain and fresh mango slices.  On the side, we had the usual vinegar condiment for the crispy pata, plum sauce for the lumpia and banana ketchup for whatever we wanted it with.  Everything was spaced out accordingly so that everyone seated at the table had access to all items.

My favourite item of the bunch was the Crispy Pata as it featured crunchy crackling that had gelatinous fat underneath.  As for the meat, it was tender and fatty with the aromatic flavour from the deep fry.  I enjoyed the tendon and fat attached to the bone as I picked it off to dip into the tasty vinegary sauce.  The Lumpia was also good being crispy (despite sitting for awhile) with a tasty filling.  The Kaldareta was creamy with fatty and tender beef.  Loved scooping up the rice saturated with the coconuty sauce.  I wasn't a huge fan of the chicken though (specifically the white meat) as it was dry. 

Moving onto dessert, we got a large order of Halo Halo complete with the base of evaporatied milk and shaved ice topped with the usual ingredients such as beans, agar jelly, palm seeds and ice cream.  This was pretty typical where it ate well and was a refreshing finish to a heavy meal.  However, this was not the last dessert as I spotted some Ensaymadas behind me on the counter.  I got one to eat in and several to go.  These were money featuring a soft and sweet bun topped with finely shredded cheese.  Surprisingly, I found these 2 desserts the highlight of the meal.  It wasn't as if the rest of the food wasn't any good (except for the chicken).  However, the temperature was a real problem, but then again, they have to set it up.  I guess you can't really win in that regard.

The Good:
- Cool experience
- Relatively reasonable pricing
- Nice people

The Bad:
- Food was rather cold (but logistically cannot be hot either)
- Chicken was dry

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