At Casa Manila, Dining is a Hands-On Experience

Prepare yourself for a vibrant Filipino feast

Photo courtesy of Casa Manila

With Toronto being home to the largest Filipino population in Canada, it is easy find a restaurant that serves that nation’s food, whose flavors are shaped by the ingenuity of the people on this archipelago and culinary traditions from the Spanish, American, Chinese, Indonesia, and Malaysian. Casa Manila emerged as a popular spot after opening in 2012 by owner Mila Nabor-Cuachon. It is known for its kamayan menu and other hearty regional dishes, as well as the tropical décor that transports diners to the Philippines.

In Tagalog, “kamayan” means “by hand.” It also refers to a communal style of eating in the Philippines known as “boodle fight,” a term with origins from the American colonial period. In this military practice, soldiers across ranks would gather and feast together. Defying your imagination of a grand and wholesome feast, kamayan does not use shining china or spotless silver ware. Instead, what you’ll find on the table is a green banana leaf where a spread of protein and vegetables lay, paired with rice and a sauce that brings everything together. Without plates or utensils, the diner uses their fingers to scoop up the food.

photo: Shutterstock 
At Casa Manila, Dining is a Hands-On Experience
photo: Shutterstock

One of Casa Manila’s bestselling items is the premium kamayan platter, which offers a mix of seafood, beef, pork, and chicken with pickled cucumber, tomatoes and papaya slaw. You can have a choice of plain steamed rice or garlic rice, and the housemade secret sauce, an equally crucial element of the meal.

Premium mixed kamayan platter with shrimp Inasal skewers, grilled beef ribs, crispy pork belly, BBQ chicken skewers, rice, chicken chicharon, pickled cucumber, tomatoes and papaya slaw, and housemade dipping sauce.
Premium mixed kamayan platter with shrimp Inasal skewers, grilled beef ribs, crispy pork belly, BBQ chicken skewers, rice, chicken chicharon, pickled cucumber, tomatoes and papaya slaw, and housemade dipping sauce.
Premium vegan kamayan platter with vegetable lumpia, tofu BBQ skewers, tofu and vegetable adobo, coconut ginger vegetables, vegetable chopsuey, rice, pickled papaya slaw, and housemade dipping sauces.
Premium vegan kamayan platter with vegetable lumpia, tofu BBQ skewers, tofu and vegetable adobo, coconut ginger vegetables, vegetable chopsuey, rice, pickled papaya slaw, and housemade dipping sauces.

Those who don’t eat meat can go for the vegan platter, which does not compromise on the bold and vibrant Filipino flavor. It comprises crispy lumpia (the country’s version of spring rolls), tofu and vegetable adobo-style as well as in aromatic coconut and ginger sauce.

Besides kamayan, Casa Manila also serves some unique dishes. In 7-up garlic prawns, the crustaceans are cooked with their shell on in a concoction of 7-up, garlic and the restaurant’s own seasoning. There’s also the beef and vegetables kare kare – a rich savory peanut stew.

Beef and vegetable kare kare
Beef and vegetable kare kare
7-up prawn
7-up prawn

To end the meal, halo halo refreshes the palate with 12 ingredients, including a special in-house cream blend, topped with assorted candied fruits, sweet beans, custard, purple yam, ice cream, and rice flakes.

Halo halo

Halo halo
Halo halo

Despite its roots in military feasting, kamayan is a sensory experience. At Casa Manila, diners roll up their sleeves to feel the texture of the food with their hands as they engage in conversation with their companions. For a moment, they are transported to the tropical islands in the Philippines and connect with each other over the dining table, just like the different cultures that have influenced Filipino cuisine throughout its history.

Casa Manila

879 York Mills Road,
North York, ON.
Kamayan sets are at $32.95 + HST per person with a minimum order of two sets.
À la carte items range from $10 to $23.   

This content is also available in: Tiếng Việt

#seesomething, saysomething

Culture Magazin magazine always wants to listen and receive contributions from readers.
In case you submit articles about your ideas, interesting social events or hot news that you would like to share with us, email us at info@culturerus.com or inbox us at the FB page – https://www.facebook.com/culturemagazin.
Try our test reporter once. Quality articles will be selected and posted on Culturemagazin’s website and official social networking sites!
#seesomething, saysomething

Discover

Bài Liên Quan

This content is also available in: Tiếng Việt