(K)inilaw, wow #atozchallenge

This post is part of the A to Z Challenge. Each post this month will be associated with a letter of the alphabet with the theme ‘Food Memories‘.


My travels to the Philippines has introduced me to a variety of foods that I was delighted to have had the opportunity to try at least once in my lifetime – balut, and others that I’d try again if I ever get the chance – kinilaw.

Kinilaw (kee-nee-lahw), is raw, cubed fish in a vinegar-based dressing, usually eaten as an appetizer (though I could eat it any time of the day, most every day, I think)

My journey to Davao City encompassed one taxi ride from my house to the airport, two separate plane rides, a shuttle bus ride in-between those plane rides and finally, a van ride from the airport to the hotel. All within the span of 12 hours. I was exhausted, thought this wasn’t a good start to the trip and already couldn’t wait to get home.

What the clients decided to serve for lunch the next day made the trip a whole lot brighter. They had catered lunch which was served buffet-style at the back of the training room. As I queued up for my turn, I spotted what looked like chunky meat/ fish with chilies in the chafing dish ahead. When I stood in front of it, I asked my Filipino colleague what it was and she said to me “It’s a local favourite – kinilaw na tuna. It’s raw, you know, something like ceviche.”

If you know me, you’d know that I like ceviche a whole lot, as well as other raw preparations of food like steak tartare, Sarawakian umai and beef carpaccio.

I had my first bite of kinilaw and I was in heaven. I ignored the other dishes and just kept refilling my plate with the raw tuna salad. The trip was definitely looking up. For the next few days, I had kinilaw whenever and wherever I could because who knew when I’d ever have the chance to try this yummy dish again. In total, I probably had kinilaw 3 or 4 more times. Another thing I discovered that trip – kinilaw goes great with beer, particularly San Miguel.

I almost finished that entire plate. Almost.

How do you feel about eating raw meat/ fish dishes?