31 Dec2010


It’s always hard to top something I have called “the best” before… but it is possible. Regulars of the blog know I have featured kinilaw na tanguigue (seviche of spanish mackerel) in previous posts, and at least 50-70 MM regulars have actually tasted our “best version” at both the Cebu eyeball 2 or 3 years ago and other meals. I posted the recipe with detailed instructions here. that recipe has remained our house standard until a few days ago, when I decided to try and tinker with it, and created a variation that may have topped what was previously thought to be “the best”… :)


At the Nasugbu market, we spotted a reasonably fresh whole tanguigue. It wasn’t as fresh as the one we used in Cebu for the eyeball, but maybe 3-5 hours older. I try not to buy tanguigue for kinilaw unless I see the whole fish first, then buy the entire fish, or in this case, just half of it. The vendor made quick work of filleting the fish, and two minutes later, I had nice pieces of totally cleaned tanguigue meat. I purchased all the other ingredients we would need including beautiful native tomatoes, chilies, etc.


Back at home, we made coconut cream with less vinegar than usual, resulting in a REALLY thick and rich cream. We also made a second pressing of coconut milk to modulate the overall sauce. I proceeded with the original recipe as described in the link above, but played with the consistency of the sauce until it was a little thicker than usual, but the coconut did not overwhelm the vinegar or the other ingredients. We happened to have dayaps on hand so that was squeezed into the mixture. But at the last minute, I decided to chop up some homemade pickled ginger that we had in the fridge and added it to one bowl of kinilaw (we made several bowls worth). This was the “secret ingredient” and let me tell you, the kinilaw was amazing… The pickled ginger gave it that certain something, that many at the table wouldn’t have picked without serious thought, and it brought a touch of sharpness and sweetness at the same time. YUM. So while this isn’t a huge change from our original recipe, I can tell you its the first time I have ever thought to put pickled ginger in a kinilaw and I will definitely be doing it again.


As with any good dish with basic ingredients, the quality of each ingredient and the balance of flavors is the key to success. You may have to try this several times before you get a version YOU feel is the best for you and your family. But once you figure that out, I suspect you will NEVER order this dish at a restaurant again. Let me reiterate some key points. The fish MUST be reef-fresh. Use a wickedly sharp knife to cut the fish and other ingredients. If anal, chill your bowls and fish a bit before starting to assemble the dish. Make the dish minutes before eating it. Do NOT chill the kinilaw in the fridge for more than 5 minutes. In fact, just don’t put it in the fridge at all after you make it. Eat the kinilaw while the fish is still a bit translucent and not hard and completely opaque. Keep tasting your sauce mixture to correct for balance. Don’t forget to salt well but not overwhelm. I have converted many a guest who claimed to be averse to “raw fish” with this dish. And nearly every single foreigner we have served this to has been pleased as punch. To me, a well-prepared kinilaw is the PERFECT starter to a meal with lechon and other pinoy favorites.

Some other kinilaw posts:

Kinilaw at Cafe Elysa, Parian Cebu
Full Menu of the No Reservations Philippines episode featuring a Cebu Lunch with Anthony Bourdain
Kinilaw na Dilis a la Seaman / Anchovy Seviche
Kinilaw na Malasugui / Swordfish Seviche
Kinilaw na Malasugui, CDO Style
Kinilaw na Guso at Lato / Seaweed Salads



  1. Rebecca says:

    Reminds me of the poisson cru I had in Bora Bora. Gorgeous!

    Dec 31, 2010 | 9:49 am


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  3. Betchay says:

    A prosperous new year to you and your family! I dont eat raw fish but maybe I’ll try soon with your kinilaw recipe.Just need to get real freah fish. :)

    Dec 31, 2010 | 9:50 am

  4. millet says:

    hmm..kinilaw in an ice bowl reminds me of only one thing…eyeball, eyeball, eyeball!

    must try doing that with the pickled ginger.

    wishing everyone a year full of happy surprises and amazing serendipties!

    Dec 31, 2010 | 10:22 am

  5. boopsie says:

    have you tried adding chopped salted eggs in your kinilaw? it adds a touch of salty creamyness to the dish. This is what we do here in Dagupan in lieu of coconut milk

    Dec 31, 2010 | 10:23 am

  6. bearhug0127 says:

    Happy New Year! The kinilaw looks delicious!! My Dad and everyone in our family are a huge fan of kinilaw.

    Dec 31, 2010 | 12:34 pm

  7. lee says:

    the Kinilaw in an icebowl during the eyeball was the best I ever had.

    Dec 31, 2010 | 12:49 pm

  8. Mimi says:

    Is the pickled ginger like the japanese red ginger/ benishoga?

    Dec 31, 2010 | 2:09 pm

  9. Marketman says:

    Mimi, it’s the thin pink ginger pickle, in the link in the post above…

    Dec 31, 2010 | 3:51 pm

  10. Artisan Chocolatier says:

    HAPPY NEW YEAR MM, MRS. MM, THE TEEN and the entire Market Manila bloggers.

    Wow, I can have this with a bowl of steaming rice…..sarap

    Dec 31, 2010 | 7:06 pm

  11. uniok says:

    Perfect ten!!!!try to use the fresh luya, para mawala ang lansa. Considering the health benifits and aroma…I love the japanese pink ginger too, I used to eat at Matsuya – Yokohama…

    Happy new year MM…

    Dec 31, 2010 | 7:56 pm

  12. Marketman says:

    uniok, yes, fresh julienned ginger is used and pickled ginger in addition. But not to get rid of “langsa” — if you start with good fresh fish, there should be absolutely NO langsa whatsoever. If there is “langsa” or a fishy smell, then don’t bother to make the kinilaw and cook it instead…

    Dec 31, 2010 | 8:07 pm

  13. natie says:

    I hit a brick wall with the ‘fresh’ fish,MM–but will imagine the delicious creaminess of your tanguigue. HAPPY New Year to you and the family!!

    Dec 31, 2010 | 8:25 pm

  14. marilen says:

    I think I would rather have kinilaw than jamon serrano for a starter new year’s eve (Costco now carries packages of jamon serrano) MM, the kinilaw looks simply delicious married with the sweetish tangy paper thin pickled ginger. Hooray for awakening our tastebuds. Happy New Year to all!

    Dec 31, 2010 | 8:58 pm

  15. maia says:

    i will really try this, MM.. thanks for being so generous with your recipes, tips, et al. happy new year! more love and beautiful memories for you and family this 2011!

    Dec 31, 2010 | 9:44 pm

  16. tinkee says:

    Killer Kinilaw!…Happy New Year to all readers of Marketmanila..To MM, Mrs.MM and the Teen-many thanks for allowing us to share in your lives..Cheers:)

    Jan 1, 2011 | 12:10 am

  17. Titat Machado says:

    Happy New Year to all, MM!! Question…anong pwedeng substitute sa tanigue for is in northern california. Tuna? Haddock? Sea bass?

    Jan 1, 2011 | 12:30 am

  18. Jack Congson says:

    I am sure you meant Tangingue not Tanguigue. Happy New Year and may you never “retire” from writing this blog. Cheers!

    Jan 1, 2011 | 10:58 pm

  19. Marketman says:

    Jack, actually, I did mean TANGUIGUE, as I have always spelled it that way in previous posts. Depending on which reference material you check, or the province of the person you are speaking with, I have seen it spelled tangigi, tanigi, tanguige, tangigue, etc. See here for photos. See the fishbase database for lots more nomenclature. Though there aren’t any versions I have seen as Tangingue. But names of fish in the Philippines are a particularly confusing lot… I should probably spell it TANGIGUE for a Filipino blog, but old habits die hard…

    Jan 2, 2011 | 6:45 am

  20. adam says:

    Hi MM. Happy New Year to you and everyone else. How weird is this…. currently having a beach holiday just outside Dumaguete and bought lots of incredibly great fresh – and cheap – fish at the Market today including a lovely fillet of tanigue. Came here to double check your previous recipe (and that I had everything in place)for Kinilaw and found this! We eat Kinilaw (and a Thai Red Curry with the biggest, fattest prawns) in approximately 1 hour… We have eaten nothing but fish (tuna, squid, prawns, clams etc) for nigh on a whole week now!

    Jan 2, 2011 | 6:58 pm

  21. Marketman says:

    adam, what can I say, great minds think alike? :) Nothing like an abundance of provincial seafood at a third of Manila prices…

    Jan 3, 2011 | 12:32 pm


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