Kesong Puti & Kalabaw Mozzarella / Carabao Milk Cheeses

Quesong puti is a local salty cottage cheese made with carabao milk. que1I suspect the Philippines does not have a history or lengthy tradition of cheese making because we didn’t have too many cows, sheep or goats with milk and the tropical weather made safe storage of dairy products a huge problem. Whoever introduced the concept of making quesong puti must have brought the idea from western shores and applied a process that is very similar to that of making cottage cheese. Recently, I tried several carabao milk products manufactured by the Carabao Center at the Central Luzon State University (CLSU) in Munoz, Nueva Ecija. Their Pastillas de Leche ng Kalabaw were delicious and they were a subject of an earlier post. I also tried two of their cheeses: a pasteurized quesong puti and carabao mozzarella.

Making quesong puti sounds simple enough but it isn’t a typical homemade delicacy. One takes very fresh carabao milk and strains it to remove large impurities, if any. que2Some of the water from an earlier batch of cheese is added, salt, and some rennet. Rennet is a natural enzyme obtained from the lining of the fourth stomach of young milk fed cows or carabaos that is used to curdle the milk. I kid you not. Rennet can also be extracted from some vegetables but the stomach lining source sounded the most cool. There are apparently two types of cheese, pasteurized where the milk is heated to kill bacteria and unpasteurized or “fresh” cheese. Unpasteurized cheese can contain the deadly bacteria listeria monocyteogenes which causes listeriosis. Thus the common warning that pregnant women should not eat unpasteurized cheeses as they are much more susceptible to this bacteria. Aging unpasteurized cheeses usually kills off much of this bacteria but it needs at least 60 days which we do NOT do with fresh quesong puti. At any rate, the curds are then packed up and water drained off and served soon after. They should be refrigerated to keep them fresh. It seems when you purchase quesong puti and open up the wrapper or banana leaves, the sometimes sour or “maasim” smell and taste is a result of using ascorbic acid or vinegar instead of rennet and also poor hygiene or refrigeration leading to fermentation. Good quesong puti must smell fresh. The quesong puti in the picture here was very good. It was tasty but not overly salty, had a dense texture that was not too watery, and it felt, looked and smelled very clean. It was superb seared for a few seconds in a hot pan then served on a slice of toasted wheat bread. It is excellent in hot pan de sal as well.

The mozzarella on the other hand was not a brilliant find. que3Although it tasted fine and had the outward appearance similar to Italian mozzarellas, it had a really grey pallor when sliced (that is not visible in these photos). The slices actually looked unappetizing though they tasted okay. I was so concerned about their appearance that I decided to keep them out of a tomato salad that I was preparing at the time. I served the mozzarella slices separately and though they didn’t make anyone sick, I would not be inclined to order them again. Texture was lacking in that it didn’t seem to have been “pulled” enough resulting in that stringy dense chewy mass that is associated with good mozzarella.

If you are interested, Bea Zobel, Jr. wrote a good piece on the making of quesong puti in the Philippine Daily Inquirer.


35 Responses

  1. The Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) highly appreciates the writer’s comments on quesong puti and mozzarella from carabao’s milk. We want to take note with gratitude, however, the suggestion on which carabao mozzarella can be further improved for better satisfaction of customers.

  2. This is the ONE thing I can never get here in the States. Nothing, and I mean, nothing compares to our Kesong Puti. I’ve tried lots of cheeses that I thought would be close but no luck. Today, I tried some very expensive Spanish fresh sheep’s milk cheese. Not even close.

  3. Kesong puti is my bigtime favorite. When I was a kid, we had to wait for someone to go to Cebu to be able to eat kesong puti (these were wrapped in banana leaves). Until now, you won’t find kesong puti here in Bacolod City. Kakainis! It’s only when I go to Manila when I can eat this and I can’t even bring some back home because they spoil easily.

  4. I get my batch of kesong puti from a suki vendor who comes Sta. Cruz, Laguna. It’s yummy for breakfast: try frying it a bit and sandwich with fresh, hot pan de sal. Yum!yum!

  5. C, kesong puti is available at most large weekend markets such as the one at Salcedo Market, FTI Taguig, perhaps Farmer’s Market in Cubao. They are usually wrapped in banana leaves though some wrap in more sterile plastic. This should be relatively easy for you to find…

  6. I’ve tried the mozzarella from the Phil Carabao Ctr too and I really hope they can improve the quality. The sample sent to me by one of our guests at the restaurant where I work looked fine, just like the galbani brand from italy but the galbani tasted a little better and had a hint of sweetness you get from really fresh food. My only gripe is that they priced it very close to the imported galbani. I guess imported mozza is expensive mainly bec of the strong euro and the freight cost. For something that came from Nueva Ecija, I think it’s overpriced. I have to say though that the price list given to me was from a lady in forbes park so I’m not sure if they are farmgate or forbes park prices.

  7. Where can I get quesong puti by the bulk including other carabao’s milk products herein manila?

  8. Millet, if you need quesong puti and other carabao’s milk products, you can find them at Mega Mall (lower ground floor, the building nearer Shaw Blvd.) or the SM North Mall (2nd Floor near Cinema 5) — They are sold by the DVF Dairy Farm’s Booth under the name “Gatas ng Kalabaw”.

  9. the best kesong puti is only can find in lumban laguna
    also known the barong capital of the world none other
    in the philippines except in lumban i guarantee it

  10. Peia . . . it is easier to get the DVF Dairy Farm quesong puti from the supermarket – I saw it at SM and Ever Supermarket

  11. Where can I buy rennet in Manila to prepare my own mozzarela cheese? Thanks

  12. the process of making kesong puti is very similar to the way the indians make paneer, only they use lemon juice instead of vinegar. as an experiment, i once tried mixing some calamansi juice with warm full cream milk (i didn’t have access to carabao milk at that time) and produced watery curds. i didn’t follow through with it though. but i guess if one drains the liquid portion and season the resulting solid mass with some salt, you’d get a close approximation

  13. just bought kesong puti at SM grocery. how will i know that kesong puti is pasteurized or not? specially the ones wrapped in banana leaves. dont know if its safe to eat. research says that soft cheese are not safe to eat & can cause sickness.


  15. Rick Gonzales Moreto
    mobile No. 09217644556

    Rochelle Moreto San Jose
    mobile No. 09208112858

    Address: Siling Matanda, Pandi, Bulacan

    “Makers of Delicious Quesong Puti.”“Made of Fresh Carabao’s milk”

    Call / text or email now to place your order.

  16. I want to get in touch with an established local producer/s of Mozzarella Cheese for possible export. And we are also interested to look at the possibility of using local carabao mozzarella cheese for our pizza products.

    You can contact me at : 0920-9510045(mobile) or e-mail at

  17. For me, the best kesong puti are the queseos of Samar. As far as I am concerned, they’re just the best!

  18. i already made a kesong puti with same your ingredients i’ve tried already,and it taste good. Now i want to make a cheese with rennet but i don’t know where i can buy in cebu. i want to know to make a mozarella cheese for toppings of my homemade pizza as i plan to open up a pizza business. i hope you can help me. thank’s^^^

  19. Where can I buy Kesong Puti in the Las Pinas area the authentic ones wrapped in banana leaves coming from Laguna, either Sta. Cruz or Lumban. Thank you.

  20. in fairness,,, naapreciate ko talaga ag fieldtrip namin jan sa clsu.keep it up!!maobserve mo talaga yung unity. God bless to all clsunians!

  21. i hope makatikim man lang din ako ng kesong puti from carabao’s milk…uhm.. kainggit

  22. im from las pinas pero sa buendia pa ko nakakabili ng quesong puti near at gil puyat LRT staion meron dun quesong puti for only 30pesos fresh from laguna.

  23. where can i locate this retired banker in the Philippines who started to make carabao mozzarella cheeze and have perfected it ?

  24. Most cheeses available in Mindanaw are US-style processed cheeses, Danish copies of the real thing or Australian cheddars which we’d call mousetrap in England. There is no doubt as to the best cheese available here – the PCC’s gorgeous carabaw cheese. Sadly, they can’t make enough, as their job is to distribute carabaws not keep them for milk, so to buy it we have to trek to Musuan, south of Valencia. A long and expensive trip, but what treat. The Filipino cheese compares well with the Bulgarian kind, available in England.

  25. I am from Angeles City, Pampanga and I am extremely keen on making my own mozzarella. I have collected a few recipes so far but my main stumbling block is I have absolutely no idea on how or where I can find ‘rennet’… Obviously without this ingredient, it would be impossible to make a proper mozzarella or pretty much any type of cheese altogether…Pls, If anyone could help me out with my ‘rennet’ dilemma it’ll surely be highly appreciated!

  26. rennet tablets now available at joes pizza house sorsogon city philippines. we can fedex anywhere in the philippines. fast processing of order. 0907 656 4376 or email

  27. Rennet tablets no longer available for Individuals.

    Too many time wasters.

    Companies may enquire only.

    P100 per Tablet

    Minimum order 10 Tablets plus P110 fedex shipping.

    If your on a shoestring budget and thinking to bargain the price, Please dont bother me.



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