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Kinilaw Na Talaba

Fresh Oysters with Kalamansi

Kinilaw Na Talaba

Kinilaw means ‘eaten raw’ and the dish varies from region to region which makes it so intriguing and exciting! A region might add coconut milk, another might use a particular vinegar and others will add a particular fruit local to them but the basis of this dish are the same. Kinilaw is very similar to what we know as Ceviche but the Filipino version is slightly different. Kinilaw uses citrus not to cook the seafood but to add flavouring to the dish and you can still taste the freshness, many Filipinos do think that the citrus is there to cook the fish but really it is more of a condiment for the fish to compliment it. Kinilaw has a sibling called Kilawin, it is basically the same base as Kinilaw but Kilawin has either slightly blanched vegetables or cooked meat with a citrus dressing. I love Kinilaw, it’s a great sharing dish or starter. I am a big fan of Oysters too so making it into Kinilaw is a win win for me! As many Filipinos know and  those who have visited Philippines that it’s very rare to see oysters being served in this way, usually they are baked with cheese (not a fan) or deep fried with batter (still not fan of this either). Kinilaw usually has fish like fresh ‘Dilis’ Anchovies OR ‘Tanigue’ Spanish Mackerel which you use too if you are not a fan of oysters.

Kalamansi is a citrus fruit I use with this dish, it is a cross between lemon, lime and orange. When it’s ripe it’s sour but has a sweet twang at the end, making it an amazing ingredient and Filipinos love using kalamansi. We add it on sauces, marinade, desserts, juice and so much more. I wish we can get them here in UK! I have seen Calamondin from Ikea (not sponsored) but it doesn’t have the same taste. I also saw a Kalamansi juice from Waitrose about 100ml (also not sponsored), it does the job but nothing can defeat a fresh kalamansi.  All the other ingredients in this dish are pretty basic and you can easily get them from your local supermarket or fresh market. If you can’t get hold of Kalamansi [ka-la-man-si] you can lemon or vinegar as an alternative.

I said a story about how Kinilaw was invented at my Supper Club but it’s probably something I need to tell you in person…haha! If you know about the Datu or Sultan story you might know which story I’m talking about.

I hope you enjoy my recipe. Please share, comment and sign up to my mailing list to receive news about my Supper club events, Recipes and News about me!

Watch the video on How to make Kinilaw na Talaba here!


Kinilaw Na Talaba


12 Fresh Oysters

1 small red onion, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 thumb size ginger, minced

a pinch of ground black pepper

1 tsp salt

2 stems of spring onions, minced

1 chilli

30ml Kalamansi juice OR 1 /2 lemon, juiced

1 tablespoon coconut vinegar

Ice cubes (optional)



Prepare oysters by opening them and placing them on top of the ice in a serving plate or bowl.


In a medium bowl add onions, ginger, garlic, black pepper, salt and chili. Mix thoroughly.


Next, add kalamansi juice or lemon juice and spring onions. Taste your mixture, it should have a balanced citrusy taste and not too sour.


Using a teaspoon pour some citrus dressing in each oysters, eating them straight away while they are fresh.

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