New Kamayan-Style Restaurant Invites Customers to Dig In Hand-First

Owner Jennifer Villamin and chef Bayani Inclano Jr. offer customers a unique dining experience true to their Filipino roots
french fry eating

Photo Modified: Flickr / Michael Bentley / CC BY 4.0

Kamayan-style dining allows for a truly immersive dining experience.

Pampalasa restaurant has brought the first kamayan-style restaurant to San Francisco, where diners are invited — and encouraged — to eat with their hands.

Owner Jennifer Villamin and chef Bayani Inclano Jr. offer their unique take on Filipino food and culture at Pampalasa.

 Villamin says, “We’re not fusion but we’re not specifically very traditional either. It’s more representative of a lot of us, American-born Filipinos and our experience with food. Our menu is very traditional in a sense that we keep the traditional names but a lot of the ingredients are very modern.”

“We set up this entire experience for you so that you can eat with your hands and feel comfortable about doing it and be willing to learn an aspect of Filipino culture that [you] never knew about.”

Both Filipino-Americans and those of other cultures indulge in the kamayan-style dining, whether to reconnect with their roots through food or to experience the food of another culture in a truly immersive way.

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Diner Alfredo Laris, who celebrated his father’s birthday at the restaurant, says, “It’s nice. It’s very communal. It’s very family oriented and there’s a lot of different flavors you can share. It’s really wonderful.”