Kinilaw: Philippines’ own Ceviche?

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For most Visayan families in the Philippines, Kinilaw is a staple for Sunday lunch. My mother usually make this dish to celebrate our family’s weekend get together.

Perfect with steamed rice, I grew up eating Kinilaw during special occasions  like birthdays, baptism, weddings or even clan gatherings at the beach. (Kinilaw is best eaten by hand!) and the version of Kinilaw that I love the most is one with grilled pork in it [they call this Sinuglaw in other parts of the country, meaning Kinilaw with Sinugba (grilled pork).]

plate of kinilaw philippine dish
Kinilaw brings me back to my childhood memories at the beach.

With its preparation process, Kinilaw (derived from the word “kilaw” which means to cook raw) is said to be the Philippine version of ceviche. While the Latin American dish uses citrus juice to cure the fish, Kinilaw uses vinegar (coconut vinegar and cane) with calamansi (small lime) to ‘cook’ the raw tangigue (Spanish mackerel) or tuna. Because kinilaw is made of raw fish, our parents often told us to gulp a glass of soda to help digest it. This dish can be paired with alcoholic drinks as well.

Different regions in the Philippines, especially in the south, have their own versions of kinilaw but my favorite is still with the one that I grew up eating.

I don’t really know how my mother measures the ingredients but Asian-style method just estimates everything until the desired taste is achieved so I’ll just list down the ingredients and combine everything!

plate of kiniliaw philippine dish
When I was a kid, I didn’t like to eat the radish in the Kinilaw.

Tangigue or tuna, cubed
Ginger, cubed
Calamansi juice
Coconut or cane vinegar
Sugar (not too sure)

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