100 Favorite Dishes

100 Favorite Dishes, No. 2: A Filipino Feast — Served on Banana Leaf — You Eat With Your Hands

Roll up your sleeves and dig in.
Roll up your sleeves and dig in. Courtney Jacobs
In honor of the 2017 Best of Dallas® issue, we're sharing (in no particular order) our 100 Favorite Dishes, the Dallas entrées, appetizers and desserts that really stuck with us this year.

North Texas has a robust international food scene, from Japanese dishes to Thai street food to regional Chinese fare. But one country that's not represented well is the Philippines. Earlier this year, Koya's Place in Richardson became the region's first restaurant dedicated solely to Filipino food, and it specializes in a traditional feast that's way too fun not to try: the gamatan (also known as a "boodle fight"), a hands-on feast served on banana leaf.

This communal feast is filled with traditional Filipino dishes like longanisa, Pampanga-style pork sausages, lumpia, fried spring rolls stuffed with pork, and fresh seafood. There are no plates and no utensils — everything on the warm banana leaves is meant to be eaten with your hands and shared with fellow diners. Not only is this traditional meal delicious, but it also comes with a show: From the moment you arrive to the moment you leave, the servers will politely suggest you partake in a little karaoke, a staple at Filipino restaurants. Even if you don't participate, you're likely to enjoy it.
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Beth Rankin is an Ohio native and Cicerone-certified beer server who specializes in social media, food and drink, travel and news reporting. Her belief system revolves around the significance of Topo Chico, the refusal to eat crawfish out of season and the importance of local and regional foodways.
Contact: Beth Rankin

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