Local Flavors

Kinalas: The Savory Story of How Cow's Head Becomes a Simply Sumptuous Soup

Renzelle Ann Palma
Renzelle Ann Palma | May 02, 2014

The best kinalas in Naga is found in Cordova's, according to the tourism officers who brought us into the residential neighborhood for a taste of the city's specialty.

Cordova’s is a typical carinderia/eatery with its monoblock chairs, bricked walls and shared tables. But with locals lining up and waiting for available tables to sit in, this eatery is anything but typical. It obviously serves a dish that even the locals flock to, and you know what they say in traveling: if you want the most authentic experience, do what the locals do, eat what the locals eat.

In Cordova’s, it is the Kinalas that everyone raves about.

Kinalas is a popular noodle dish from Naga. What sets it apart from the typical mami dish is the way it’s prepared. A skinned cow’s head is boiled for hours until the meat falls off, creating a delicious broth. It is then poured in a bowl of mami noodles, chicharon and boiled egg.

Top it with the stripped meat from the boiled cow’s head, fried garlic and chopped scallions. The kinalas from Cordova’s has a special thick, gravy-like sauce added for texture and taste.

Kinalas literally means “to fall off” or stripped from the flesh, just as how the meat from the cow’s head falls off from cooking.

[VIEW: Asia's biggest Marian feast, the Peñafrancia Festival, is the perfect time to experience Naga and savor the kinalas.]

To add spice to the already perfect kinalas, add a DIY condiment that goes perfectly with it. Just crush bird’s eye chilies on a patis (fish sauce), suka (vinegar) and black pepper mix, and make sure to adjust the spiciness according to your taste.

If for some reason you went overboard with the spice, munch on baduya (fried banana slices) also served at Cordova’s.

The toasted siopao also works perfectly with Kinalas!

This spot is usually packed from 4 in the afternoon onwards. Cordova's is a favorite spot for hardworking Nagaueños to relax and enjoy their comfort food after a hard day's work.

Cordova’s Kinalas is a must try in Naga. Make sure to add a lot of sili to your dish for that authentic Bicol experience!

VIEW: Make Naga City your jump-off point to the rest of the region with the Choose Philippines “Hot Map to Bicol”:


How to Get There:

Naga City is located about 377 km southeast of Metro Manila. By air, Naga is served by the Naga Airport which is located just outside the city proper, in the nearby town (and the CamSur capital) of Pili. A flight from Manila takes approximately 35-40 minutes.

By land, Naga is an eight-hour bus ride from Pasay or Cubao. The Philippine National Railways used to offer daily train rides to Naga (Bicol Express, Mayon Limited De Luxe, and Mayon Limited Ordinary); stay tuned to their website and Facebook page for updates.

Cordova’s is located at Corregidor and Solid Streets in Barangay Dayangdang, Naga City.

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