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Kinilaw (Kilawin)

Discover the taste of the Philippines


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Traditionally, Kinilaw is a typical Philippino dish made from raw seafood. Its name literally means “eaten raw.” It's a Philippine kind of ceviche—a popular Latin American dish made from marinaded raw fish or seafood. Like ceviche, Kinilaw is made with a vinegar or dressing which actually makes the raw fish digestible. While Yellow Fin Tuna is the most commonly used for Kinilaw, it can be also made from other kinds of seafood such as Pacific mackerel, shrimp, and anchovies. The most important condition—the seafood has to be as fresh as possible. Luckily, Yellow Fin Tuna fishing season is year-round, so you may enjoy this signature dish at any time of year.

Along with fish and seafood, you can also try the meat-based variety, known as Kilawin. This one is especially popular in the northern part of the Philippines. Usually, the cooks use beef, goat, water buffalo or deer meat. It could go raw but also blanched and lightly grilled.

Kinilaw and Kilawin are eaten as appetizers or as a snack and are often served with beer and other drinks.