Add This Seafood Binakol to Your Roster of Back-Pocket Filipino Recipes

Binakol is a chicken soup from Western Visayas, specifically Iloilo and Aklan. It’s name is believed to come from the Kinaray-a term for cooking in bamboo tubes; although, some accounts say it’s from the Hiligaynon word “bakol” (to spank), which refers to how the meat used is spanked prior to cooking for more flavor. It’s a testament to the culinary creativity of Filipinos; the dish being traditionally cooked in bamboo tubes, or inside half coconut husks. It’s similar to tinola; but it uses coconut water for the broth, giving it a distinct sweetness.

No need to “bakol” the vegetables.

Binakol recipes usually use native chicken for its meat (especially the Batangas version). But in our version, we swap it out for seafood to balance out the refreshing broth. What you get is a light, subtly sweet soup, paired with a sort of earthy depth. No pressure to cook this in bamboo or coconuts—though it’d be arguably better if you could.

Seafood Binakol



Serving Size

4 people

Active Time

45 mins

Total Time

45 mins

  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high.
  2. Add garlic, onion, ginger, and lemongrass and cook until fragrant and onions are translucent, about 5-8 minutes.
  3. Add the fish cube and break apart into the aromatics, cooking for about 1 minute.
  4. Add the sayote, buko, buko juice, and water into the pot.
  5. Mix well.
  6. Let the soup boil and cook until the sayote is tender, about 10 minutes.
  7. Add the squid and shrimp and let poach in the soup until just cooked, about 8-10 minutes.
  8. Serve soup immediately, and in hollowed out coconuts if desired.

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