08 Jan2008


I have written about an excellent kinilaw na malasugui before, see post here, at a restaurant on stilts near the Tagbilaran, Bohol pier. Bohol is relatively close to Mindanao, so I was intrigued by the kinilaw we had at lunch last Sunday, apparently prepared the way it is done in Cagayan de Oro and possibly Camiguin, and which was quite different from the Boholano take on the dish… First, scrape out about half of the pulp of half of a tabon-tabon fruit into some white vinegar. I would imagine that palm vinegar would be used in the province. Dissolve the tabon-tabon pulp and strain the mixture. Use the vinegar and tabon=tabon mixture to “wash” the bite size pieces of reef fresh malasugui or swordfish several times, straining the fish so that it gets a “vinegar rinse”, not sit in a vinegar bath for many minutes.


Then add julienned pieces of ginger, sliced shallots of red onions, chilis, freshly squeezed coconut milk, salt and pepper, lots of native limes or dayap and adjust the balance of ingredients to your taste. Serve immediately. This is one of the best kinilaws I have had in a while. Smooth or suave is the best way to describe it, not overly sour, a touch of richness from the coconut milk, the perfect amount of spice and yet the fish remained the star of the dish. Delicious.



  1. Blaise says:

    I haven’t tried kinilaw, as in any kinilaw.. I didn’t even know that Kinilaw is also called Seviche in English. I was watching Queer Eye last night and they prepared Seviche, kinilaw pala yun in Filipino..

    Jan 8, 2008 | 1:55 pm


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  3. leigh says:

    Kinilaw is one of my favorite dishes. This seems like a must try for me. MM, would you know where they got the tabon-tabon? Hopefully it’s somewhere in Rizal …

    Jan 8, 2008 | 1:59 pm

  4. Marketman says:

    leigh, I think the tabon-tabon was flown in from Cagayan de Oro…

    Jan 8, 2008 | 2:09 pm

  5. alexis says:

    your post reminded me of my “must haves” everytime i go back to the philippines… kinilaw na tangigue(sp?)and kinilaw na pagi (sting ray). it is sooo good especially when its freshly made. naglalaway tuloy ako. its been a long time since i had the sting ray, im not sure kung bawal na ibenta or what pero its really good.

    Jan 8, 2008 | 2:28 pm

  6. Nikita says:

    shrimp kinilaw is great too! tedious process tho.. you have to get live shrimp then remove their heads and skin (while alive) and drop them into freshly squeezed calamansi juice with minced red onions and chili. yummmmyyy tho! i like serving them in shotglasses, semi-frozen like a granita with a spoonful of honey on top for that sweet then sour taste when you take the “shot”

    Jan 8, 2008 | 2:55 pm

  7. zeph says:

    The vinegar rinse seems to be a nice trick, the first photo shows the flesh isn’t severely burnt by the acidity of the vinegar through and through. I find that if the fish sits on the vinegar mixture too long, they get tougher and less chewy, its almost like you’re chewing on sour cardboard. MM, I’m curious to know how the tabon-tabon pulp affects the taste and texture, as we’ve never used this before in our kinilaw.

    Jan 8, 2008 | 4:56 pm

  8. lee says:

    kinilaw should be devoured fast. faaaast.

    Jan 8, 2008 | 6:33 pm

  9. Ebba Myra says:

    I just saw some small sting ray in the fish section of an Oriental marketgrocery here in Houston. I don’t know if its illegal or not, but the vietnamese and chinese here tend to sell anything that is edible, so for me its educational that these things are available for consumption.

    Jan 8, 2008 | 8:27 pm

  10. chunky says:

    first i’ve seen a kinilaw with fresh coconut milk. i am not so keen in eating kinilaw, but i know it’s one of those dishes that must be really, really, fresh, or else… thanks for the reply on my email MM.

    Jan 8, 2008 | 9:24 pm

  11. fried-neurons says:

    That sounds delicious!

    Jan 8, 2008 | 11:22 pm

  12. The Knittymommy says:

    I now know what that mysterious fruit was! My mom had found it somewhere and immediately made kinilaw. For the life of me, I could never remember its name, but I remember it being the best kinilaw ever!

    Unfortunately, I’ll probably never find it here in the US. That’s just too bad!

    Jan 8, 2008 | 11:29 pm

  13. Burnt Lumpia says:

    I’ve always wondered about the proper way to make kinilaw. I’ve seen recipes that soak the fish in the vinegar for long periods of time, and I’ve seen recipes like yours in which the fish is only quickly rinsed in vinegar. I’m guessing it depends on what part of the Philippines and on personal tastes as to how long a soak in vinegar should last.

    Jan 8, 2008 | 11:54 pm

  14. Maria Clara says:

    Now I learn from you rinsing the fresh fish with vinegar with tabon tabon pulp mixture is the vital process for great kinilaw. When done it is still in its raw stage – no sign of acid cooking like curling on the edge of the cut fish. Kinilaw and iced cold beer is a great combo! What is “potot” you discussed in your previous post as a substitute for tabon tabon? Thanks.

    Jan 9, 2008 | 1:10 am

  15. Vennis Jean says:

    Ebba Myra sting rays are great to be made into kinilaw and also into paksiw sa gata. I like it as paksiw but I never can bring myself to eat kinilaw. But my family loves it and they have different ways of preparing it. But a quick vinegar wash is essential to remove the langsa from the fish.They love their kinilaw na pagi and kinilaw na bangus.

    Jan 9, 2008 | 1:42 am

  16. Madeline says:

    My sister once went home with kinilaw given by one of her patients. It is really good and both of us loved it.
    It is just interesting to note how ancestors had prepared this foods. It is probably experimenting on what was available in their environment. You made each one of us interested in the art of cooking this.

    Jan 9, 2008 | 5:25 am

  17. dhayL says:

    I haven’t tried kinilaw yet in all my life, but from what you guys said about this exceptional dish, i’m willing to try some…. :)

    Jan 9, 2008 | 6:13 am

  18. palengkera says:

    I’ve tasted different versions of kinilaw. Kinilaw with salted eggs, kinilaw with black beans, kinilaw with cheese, etc..but I have to say, nothing beats kinilaw the way they prepare it in NorMin.

    Tabon-Tabon is indeed rare here in Davao. I recall a friend of my Dad’s bringing Tabon-Tabon extract(?) in a bottle. It didn’t last long because we make kinilaw almost every Sunday.

    Jan 9, 2008 | 11:23 am

  19. k says:

    Here in CDO this is how we make our kinilaw: we scrape off the tabon2 meat, squeeze it with vinegar na Bahal(day old tuba), strain, use this mixture to rinse the fish. For our marinade we use FRESH Tuba( should not be sour) ginger, onion, suha, sili, optional coconut milk, salt. Garnish with onion leaves. Yum!

    Jan 9, 2008 | 11:37 am

  20. k says:

    who wants tabon2? just let me know.

    Jan 9, 2008 | 12:48 pm

  21. leigh says:

    hi, k. i’d like some tabon tabon :-) are you based in manila? (makati and qc are quite accessible to me)

    Jan 9, 2008 | 2:04 pm

  22. S says:

    hmmmh…. actually, kinilaw w/ tabon2 & suha minus the coconut milk is what i like best… — yum!

    Jan 10, 2008 | 2:29 pm

  23. S says:

    wanna know how to keep the tabun2 last longer–(45-60days.)????
    bury it in your backyard w/ half ft deep lang…dont know whats the rationale behind it– but it works! weird huh…..

    Jan 10, 2008 | 2:37 pm

  24. Cyra says:

    The best kinilaw is made in Camiguin (my family’s from Camiguin but has lived in Cagayan de Oro for a long time). Same ingredients minus coconut milk and spring onions. Lots of chili and ginger (the ingredient I missed most living in Manila, Mindanaoans use a lot of ginger). Tabon-tabon takes away the smell of fish and makes the vinegar get that creamy taste.

    Jan 11, 2008 | 11:28 am

  25. Emily G says:

    Boy do I miss this! I cannot wait ’til February! CDO here I come :D Thanks for the pics MM :)

    Jan 11, 2008 | 2:13 pm

  26. jing says:

    hello, MM! am a great fan of yours esp.since your chicken inasal became the favorite of my 3 kids. am just an ozzasional cook coz am too busy juggling my time between teaching and attending to our family business. But the real reason is we have a great cook so my sometimes disastrous forays in the kitchen are actually not needed hehe! She makes a mean kinilaw, too. Her version is made with finely diced carrots & redonions and mayonnaise instead of gata.

    Jan 13, 2008 | 10:03 am

  27. erbie says:

    Yummyyyy.I had kinilaw for lunch yesterday, bought it in a local eatery here in CDO, what i had was a kinilaw with a twist. it has “sinugba” {roasted bite size pieces of pork} in it,we call it sinuglaw here.SINUG{ba}-{kini}LAW. The kinilaw is of course prepared as MM described here. I must say, sinuglaw is a must try.

    Jan 13, 2008 | 3:25 pm

  28. Maria says:

    Hey MM,
    Would you know if cod or haddock make good kinilaw? I usually make mine
    with tanguigue, because I’m allergic to red meat fish. Thing is, I’m in London and
    have no clue as to which fish is best. Oh, and I’ve looked through your blog, and maybe I wasn’t looking hard enough, but do you have a post about ingredient substitutes, for people who live elsewhere? Thanks MM. I Really Enjoy reading your blog! XX

    Feb 3, 2008 | 10:05 am

  29. Marketman says:

    Maria, sorry, I don’t know if cod or haddock would work. Tanguigue is Spanish Mackerel, and as such, may have a close relative in Europe. Malasugi, used the kinilaw above, is swordfish, but I understand that some types of swordfish have a parasite that lives in the meat of the fish… and as such, wouldn’t make the best kinilaw… not sure if that includes swordfish from cooler seas such as those near you. Ultimately, the fish must be firmer and probably oiler, but most important of all, it must be INCREDIBLY fresh, say, a few hours since its demise. I only make kinilaw if I know the fish was still alive within a few hours of eating the dish.

    On ingredients substitutes, I haven’t really addressed it in a single post, though I sometimes respond to reader’s questions for potential substitutes…

    Feb 3, 2008 | 6:17 pm

  30. Maria says:

    Hmm, thank you, will look more into that, but seems like I might have to abandon the kinilaw idea, since we do most of our shopping in supermarkets. Haven’t really visited independent fish mongers here, except for the stalls at the Borough Market, where the seafood seems fresh, but might not be hours-fresh. Oh, and my uncle, whose kinilaw (or should I say, binakhaw) is pretty good, makes his with evaporated milk when there’s no coconut milk, with crushed chicharon and green tomatoes. I think this might be a Dumaguete/Negros oriental thing.

    Feb 4, 2008 | 1:10 am

  31. mike says:

    this is really really good! i’ll add this to my compilation! thanks!

    Feb 6, 2008 | 2:11 am

  32. erbie says:


    I surfed the net for an attempt to answer your query.Forgive me if this is unsolicited or so..This is the best answer i could find.I googled for cod cerviche as to find something that falls near the kinilaw for kinilaw recipe. The link and the recipe appears below.Happy cooking and God bless..

    Ceviche Recipe for Cod/Haddock

    The acid in the citrus juice actually “cooks” the fish so no heat is necessary. Plan ahead to marinate overnight


    1 pound cod and/or haddock diced in 1/2-inch cubes
    1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
    1 cup fresh lime juice
    1 teaspoon salt, divided use
    1/2 teaspoon dried italian seasoning
    1/4 cup tablespoon olive oil
    1/4 teaspoon white pepper
    1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
    1 medium tomato finely diced
    1/2 medium sweet onion finely diced
    1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
    1 cup cooked frozen tiny salad shrimp, thawed
    1 fresh jalapeno pepper, seeded, deveined, and finely minced (wear gloves)
    3 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro

    Combine fish, 1/4 cup lemon juice, 1/2 cup lime juice, salt and oregano. Marinate in refrigerator for 2 hours.

    Drain juice completely.

    Combine remaining 1/4-cup lemon juice, 1/2-cup lime juice, olive oil, white pepper, cumin, tomato, onion, vinegar, shrimp, jalapeno and cilantro. Stir well. Pour into a large zip-top bag, squeeze out all the air and seal. Refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.

    Serve with tortilla chips or cut up pita bread


    Feb 27, 2008 | 6:58 am

  33. vebs says:


    Jun 15, 2008 | 1:40 pm

  34. Shalum says:

    Our kinilaw (CdO) is the best! Any fish will actually do, although it has to be really fresh. The preferred fishes though are malasugui cubes. you can also use those small “flying fish varieties”, or “maranay” (super tiny fish). May favorite is the malasugui, but without the coconut milk. Glad you featured this!:)

    Oct 22, 2008 | 11:11 am


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