Palawan’s Kinilaw na Tamilok (or Tamilok Ceviche)
I was excited to feast on fresh seafoods when i first visited Palawan, back in 2008. The thoughts of garlic crabs & shrimps, grilled tuna and lobster filled my mind every time I would enter a restaurant.
Are you brave enough to taste this? Photo by cyberbaguioboy
Tamilok on its natural habitat- rotting mangrove trees. Photo by Rita W.
When I asked my local friend on what I should try in Palawan, without thinking twice he said, I should try “tamilok.” Almost everyone I met would ask, “Natikman mo na ba yung tamilok?” (Have you tried tamilok). Curious of what tamilok is I said to myself, “I have to taste that before I leave,” not knowing how it looked like.
Ala-Fear Factor Challenge
The night before my flight back to Manila, the owner of Balinsasayaw restaurant surprised me when she placed a platito of tamilok on our table alongside the garlic crabs and shrimps. She said, “Ubusin nyo yan ha” (Finish all of it). I sigh, what a quirky challenge!
“I smelled it, picked the shortest, closed my eyes and swallowed. It was slimy, fishy, sour & a little bit salty. It looked like a spaghetti pasta strip, only bigger and translucent.”
Tamilok Ceviche (Kinilaw) is a perfect appetizer to the more adventurous, a perfect beer match as you want to wash the taste of it with a dab of cold beer. It is served with local vinegar spiced with chopped onions, garlic and chili.
How to enjoy eating it:
1. On a plate full of mangrove worms (shipworms), pick a size that you can swallow (ask your friends to be ready and capture a Kodak moment).
2. Dunk it into the the spiced vinegar (like how you dunk an Oreo cookie into a glass of milk).
3. Wait for the perfect moment, pull it from the vinegar as you would have pulled a spaghetti pasta strip.
4. Place it on your mouth, close your eyes and swallow. Don’t forget to bite some of it before it goes all the way down to your esophagus.
5. Say masabor gale! (“delicious” in Palawan/Cuyunon dialect)
See how the 5 sexy Brits took the challenge on BBC’s Last Woman Standing:
Where to experience this?
Kinilaw na Tamilok is available in Kinabuchs Grill & Bar, Rizal Ave., Puerto Princesa City. They also serve fried tamilok which I believe is less fishy and slimy. Price: Php120 good for 2 -3 persons
On a budget? Go to the public markets of Puerto Princesa City, San Jose and Roxas, Palawan and you would see tamiloks sold in plastics for only Php25-30. It is just plain tamilok, feel free to make add your own ingredients.
Can’t get enough?
Ohhhh, so you have tasted this already and you want a bigger and harder challenge?
Sultan Kudarat’s GIANT Tamilok, white shell on the left, the humongous snake-sized tamilok on the right (Photo from: istorya.net).
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This is my food invitation to all the adventurous foodies out there, an addition to “PINOY QUIRKY FOODS” Blog Carnival by Pinoy Travel Bloggers.
Click Pinoy Quirky Foods and choose from the wide array of quirky foods. Have a quirky feast!
Just click the Blog Carnival Logo to see the previous topics.