Cool Down This Summer With our Oyster Kinilaw

April 12, 2018

We don’t know about you, but on a hot summer’s day, the last thing we feel like doing is turning on the stove and further huffing and puffing away. The increasing temperatures call for refreshing, vibrant sensations—like the party of flavors and textures that you’ll find in a bowl of kinilaw. Known as the Filipino take on ceviche, the dish highlights raw seafood “cooked” in an acid (often vinegar or citrus juice) and tossed with onions, ginger, chili, and other aromatics. Our protein of choice in this case: fresh, succulent oysters, whose natural brininess gets a welcome dose of vigor with the piquancy of ginger, onions, calamansi juice, cane vinegar, and siling labuyo.

Enjoy as is or with your carb of choice for a party in a bowl.

The dish itself couldn’t be any easier to make, requiring zero cooking on your part and taking just half an hour of active work from start to finish. We go the fairly . classic route but urge you to play around with the flavors—take our recipe less as a strict formula and more as a guideline (mix in your favorite spices, sub in whatever vinegars you might have in the pantry). Either way, use the best seafood you can find (in the case of oysters, go for fresh-smelling bivalves). Enjoy the kinilaw as is, piled on tacos or tostadas, or even with rice; you get a festive mix of juicy, crisp, sour, salty, spicy, and sweet that invigorates even in the hottest of seasons.

Oyster Kinilaw

  • Serves: 2-4 servings
  • Active time: 30 mins
  • Total time: 1 hour
  • Difficulty: Easy


  • 500g oysters, shucked
  • ⅓ cup cane vinegar
  • ½ cup red onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp ginger, minced
  • 3 tbsp calamansi juice
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 2 bird’s eye chilies, chopped


  1. Clean and wash the oysters and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl combine all the remaining ingredients and stir until the sugar is dissolved.
  3. Add the oysters into the mixture and stir, tossing gently until each oyster is coated.
  4. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let the kinilaw chill for about 30 minutes before serving.
  5. Garnish with more chili if desired.
Patricia Baes SEE AUTHOR Patricia Baes

Trish thinks too much about everything—truth, existence.....and what’s on her plate. Her ongoing quest for a better relationship with food has led to a passion for cooking, gastronomy, and a newfound interest in its politics. She is a cheapskate in other aspects of her life, preferring to use her savings on specialty vinegars and degustation menus. While she admits to eating out too much, cooking and baking remain her first love, and she's always looking for quirky new ways to use up seasonal produce. Thanks to her obsession with (unnecessarily) making everything from scratch, she is now desperate to clear her fridge full of homemade condiments. She dreams of perfecting the art of making soufflé with her crappy toaster oven.

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