History and Culture

The 3 Tales of Kinilaw That You Probably Have Not Heard Of (Part 1)


Belle Piccio
Belle Piccio | Sep 30, 2015

Kinilaw is a Filipino dish served either as pulutan or appetizer.

When we say “kinilaw” it involves two basic ingredients:

  1. vinegar and 
  2. fresh raw meat.

Kinilaw is often made with fresh fish like tuna, dilis or tanguige. The origin of kinilaw in the Philippines is unknown but is said to have come from the Visayas region.

There are many myths/folklores about kinilaw. Here’s one of the stories.

The first telltale revolves around is a fisherman who just had his fresh catch of the day.

1. The Fisherman

A fisherman done for the day went ashore.

Upon rushing to go onto dry land, he forgot something from his boat. He went back leaving the basket full of fresh fish under a coconut tree, not knowing that the sap of the coconut was dripping on his day’s catch. The fisherman was surprised upon seeing his fishes turned pale and white when he returned.

And, that’s how the kinilaw dish was discovered. 


Want to make your very own kinilaw? Try the Kinilaw na Tanigue with Lechon-Style Pork of Junior Master Chef Philippines finalist Louise Mabulo.

READ: Kinilaw na Tanigue with Lechon-Style Pork: An Easy-to-Prepare Recipe

Kinilaw na tanigue is an easy-to-prepare recipe. The recipe above is your favorite kinilaw with a palatable twist because of the added lechon-style pork.

Another recipe is Kinilaw na Tuna.

Kinilaw na Tuna; photo by Ida Damo

READ: Kinilaw Na Tuna

The raw tuna is mixed with vinegar or lime juice with cucumber, radish, ginger and onions.

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