Minneapolis' Apoy is giving everyone the gift of kamayan this year

Kamayan is a traditional Filipino feast in which food is prepared and arranged on banana leaves, and no utensils are used.

Kamayan is a traditional Filipino feast in which food is prepared and arranged on banana leaves, and no utensils are used. Apoy / Facebook

Put down that plate. Cast aside your cutlery. It’s kamayan time.

South Minneapolis’ Apoy has announced a new option for gathering ’round the table with friends and loved ones. Due to popular demand, the Filipino bistro now offers kamayan as an option for guests any night of the week. 

This uniquely Filipino dining experience has united communities for generations. Food is served atop a bed of banana leaves on the table’s center, and no utensils are used. Apoy's kamayan includes grilled vegetables, meat, and seafood, all supplemented with specialty items and many of the classic dishes the Kingfield gem has become known for. 

With such variety, it’s no wonder Apoy’s Shawn Nafstad considers their kamayan “a really good way to get a feel for our menu.” 

Nafstad explained that guests make reservations in advance, and only when the whole party has been seated is the kamayan built before them. Once everything’s been set up on the table, servers give a rundown on what’s on the spread—including a reassurance that eating with your hands is the whole point. (The dish’s name draws from the Tagalog word for “by hand.”) 

If the idea of one-size-fits-all group dining sounds intimidating, know that you're in the arms of gracious hosts who are ready to proverbially hold your hand (and/or present a warm towel) as necessary.

Apoy is also receptive to special requests and accommodations in planning their kamayans. This includes clearing a spot at their banana-leafed table for vegetarians and pescaterians alongside your favorite meatosaurus, not to mention looking after folks with allergies and dietary restrictions.

To secure a seat at this famed feast o’plenty, first find a friend (minimum party size is two because, see again: community is integral to this tradition), then email the folks at Apoy. Kamayan must be arranged via advanced reservation and will be offered for the foreseeable future, not just the holidays.

And it's worth remembering: The rest of Apoy's tasty menu awaits you any ol' time, for days when a more spontaneous treat may be in order.

Update 12/20/19 2:22 p.m.: For those who may be interested in hosting a kamayan in their own home without cooking the whole shebang, Apoy is also offering a take-out option of their kamayan. Included are "IKEA-style instructions" for building the feast. As with the dine-in version, email the restaurant for further details.


4301 Nicollet Ave., Minneapolis