On a Sunday in Dapitan, there’s no better place to eat lunch than Kamayan ni Manay’s (literal translation: Eat-with-your-bare-hands at Manay‘s, Manay being a general term for an older lady).
Every Sunday, Kamayan holds an all-you-can-eat buffet lunch that costs only P250 ($6) per person. This includes a lunch of lechon (roasted pork), chicken, crab, shrimps, talaba (oysters), vegetables, fruits and salads. Dessert is fruits and ice cream (yummy!). Oh and don’t forget the bottomless iced tea. It’s a fiesta fit for a king. In my opinion, no other all-you-can-eat buffet can ever top this sumptous feast from Kamayan (and believe me, I’ve tried a lot of other Sunday eat-all-you-can’s!).
For a restaurant in a pretty small town, Kamayan is packed during Sundays! The buffet lunch starts at 10:30 AM but by 10:00 AM, there’s already a line of people outside waiting to get in. It’s that good.
Without further ado, here come the pictures!
My first plate. I got a lot of fried stuff. Fried shrimps, fried talaba, fried chicken. Some salad (I thought maybe the healthy would cancel out the unhealthy). And lots of lechon! I was lechon-starved when I came to Dapitan. (In Zamboanga, Sunday usually equals to a lunch of lechon. And I hadn’t had that in months because I was exiled in Manila!)
My second plate. I realized the crab was really, really, really good! So I got a whole lot of it. The crabs were small but boy they were bursting with meat. Gim and I surmised they must have come from a farm, because each and every crab we ate was really fat and tasty. It was so much fun eating them, unlike the time we ate crab in Dakak and felt like we were mining for gold in a gold-starved cave! I also got a lot of chopsuey and, erm, took a lot of quail eggs (too bad for the later guests, hehehe!).
Doesn’t the crab look divine?
This crab reminds me of a ninja. A very tasty ninja.
Bottomless lemon iced tea, yum! And the waiters were very prompt! They filled our glasses even when we didn’t ask. Not like other places (especially in Manila) that offer bottomless iced tea and then hide their waiters afterwards, or look at you like you’re being very greedy for consuming more than two glasses of their supposedly limitless drink.
Even our trash looked good, haha. We had two piles of this after. Full of crab and oysters. Loved the crab so very much. I got around six halves or so. I shared them with Gim, I swear! Hahaha. I didn’t like the raw oysters that much, though… I don’t like anything raw. The fried shrimps tasted more of flour than shrimp, so did the fried oysters. But who cares?? There was a lot of crab!!! Hehehehe.
More trash. And still a lot of crab behind the trash, hahaha. I really enjoyed the crab. Did I mention that already? Hahaha. I went there for the lechon, and the lechon was great. But the crab was better. Haha.
Awww, and we’re done eating. I ate so much crab I couldn’t finish my chopsuey. Too bad because I happen to love chopsuey. I ate all the quail eggs, though. Heheh. And do you notice that in every picture, the glass of iced tea is always full? See? What did I tell you about the great service? I must have downed 4 or 5 glasses of that stuff.
I wish I could have taken more pictures, especially of the individual courses. But I was too excited to try all the food. And to cram as much crab down my throat before it ran out. Hehe. I am such a glutton. I don’t have any pictures here, by the way, because Gim ate with his bare hands!!! Well, it was Kamayan. And I did benefit from it because he was able to crack the crab and give me the meat. But that also meant he couldn’t handle the camera. Poor me.
I, meanwhile, hate using my bare hands to eat. Even in a Kamayan restaurant (a lot of restaurants in the Philippines are Kamayan‘s, I guess because it’s cheaper to just use banana leaves instead of washing utensils, haha). Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy feasting with my bare hands. Food tastes much better that way, I’ve noticed, hahaha. My mom used to feed me and my sisters like that before. And sometimes I can get Gim to feed me like that, too, when I’m feeling babyish. Haha. I just would rather keep my hands clean so I can use my camera, get my wallet, wipe my face, etc. Hehe.
Gim got really tired after eating, as you can see in the pictures. Hehe. Our tummies were full to bursting. He’s getting the baboy (pig) syndrome here. It’s where he feels lazy and sleepy after eating a huge meal, just like a pig. Haha.
And here’s him asking me, “And how are you?” And I answer, “I’m fine, thank you Gim!!!” I’m thanking him because he introduced me to this Kamayan place. But we didn’t know about the Sunday all-you-can-eat buffet until we bumped into one of his doctors (teachers) one Sunday around noontime and he told us we were too late for the buffet. We were very disappointed that day, because we saw all the empty food trays, haha. That’s when we decided to go there again, much much earlier, during my last Sunday (before I would come back to Manila).
Here’s how the place looks. Very simple. Very native-looking. Wooden chairs and tables. Flower arrangements, roses and ferns, on each table.
No airconditioning, just electric fans. And big pretty balls of light above.
And look it’s our bill! For everything we ate, just… 500 pesos! Yay! Hehehe. See, food is really cheap in Dapitan. That’s why I love going there. And then whenever I go back I’m significantly heavier. Hehehe.
Okay, I’d like to insert some pictures of our food that Sunday we went there and didn’t get to try the buffet since it was already past twelve. (The buffet ends at 1PM formally, but after 11AM, the must-try trays like the crab and lechon are already gone. So it’s important to go early.)
So anyway, for that particular Sunday, we ordered sizzling squid (my all-time favorite, and it was the best I’d ever tasted), spring rolls (turned out to be just a reworded fried lumpia, and we thought it was going to be something new hahaha) and pork ribs (mmm, just okay, not as good as I’d hoped). Lots of garlic rice, yum. I like garlic rice better than fried rice. I’m a glutton for anything garlic, I swear. Oh and a mango shake for me. It was really, really tasty, that mango shake.
Here’s a closer look at the lumpia and ribs. I like my lumpia fresh rather than fried, but these rolls weren’t bad. They were pretty good, really. Filled with vegetables and shrimps, I think. But the ribs seemed a bit out of place in our meal, so I didn’t enjoy them much. I mostly left them for Gimmi.
I focused on the heavenly squid. Yum. These were grilled very lightly, just the way I like them. And cleaned very well, too. No ink whatsoever. (Some places serve it with the ink, you have to tell them not to. It’s a delicacy, I guess.) What made this squid so much better than the others I had tasted was the garlic. Lots of garlic all over my squid, wow! And lots of tomatoes and onions filling the hollow, yum! Definitely must try this if you’re at Kamayan.
A closer view of the squid. Looks good, huh? It was very very good. I loved the tentacles, too. I’m not sure which part of the squid I love best, the tentacles or the body. Hmm, I love them both the same! (But I don’t like the head.)
The mango shake tasted very fresh and milky, and definitely not watery. Also one of the best mango shakes I’d ever tasted. It tasted like a homemade mango shake, that’s how I would describe it. ‘Coz when you’re at home making a shake yourself, you place a lot of milk and mango, right? You don’t scrimp on the ingredients. Well, that’s how it tasted. :-) Loved it!
And while waiting for our food, what did Gim and I do? Well, what we love to…
Take pictures of ourselves! Hahahaha! Oh by the way, if you want to go to Kamayan ni Manay‘s, it’s right beside Gloria de Dapitan. Happy eating!