Kilawing Isda

Kilawing Isda

Kilawing Isda or Ceviche is a popular seafood dish in Central and South America, coastal regions of the America and even in Philippines. It is usually made out of raw fish marinated in citric juice or vinegar and flavoured with chillies, onions, pepper and salt. This dish is believed to have originated from Peru around 2000 years ago which was brought by Moorish women who accompanied the Spaniards from Granada. During the old days they said that the fish was soaked in fermented juice from the local Banana passion fruit then during the Inca period it was marinated with a type of Andean fermented beverage then when the Spanish colonists came it was replaced by citrus. The word came from Spanish-Arabic word assukkabág which in turn came from the Arabic word sakbaj which means “meat cooked in vinegar”.

A very popular “pulutan” or tapas in the Philippines but it needs a 4 hour marinating time for all of the acid to be soaked in the meat and cook it in the process. If you think this would be something like sushi, well not quite, they might be both raw but ceviche is very different, it’s sour, it’s hot and it’s good as tapas and enjoy with an ice-cold beer.

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Kilawing Isda

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 6 reviews


  • 500g white fish meat (grouper and snapper works well), sliced into small cubes
  • 1 cup cane vinegar
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk (optional)
  • 1 tbsp thinly sliced ginger
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 green chillies, sliced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • freshly ground black pepper


  1. In a bowl mix together 1/2 cup of vinegar and fish meat, let it soak for at least 5 minutes. Drain fish meat in a colander then give it a light squeeze to further drain liquid from the fish.
  2. Mix together remaining vinegar, lemon juice, ginger, onion, garlic, chillies, coconut milk, salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place vinegar sauce and fish on a covered container then refrigerate for at least 4 hours to a maximum of 6 hours.
  3. Remove from the fridge then serve with ice-cold beer!




12 Responses

  1. Fish is my hubby’s number one food and he will jump up and down if I make this beautiful fish recipe of your for him, thanks for sharing.

  2. I love ceviche. It’s so popular in Mexican restaurants, although it was more popular out west. Great recipe.

  3. my family whenever we have gathering this is one pulutan that never missed on the table.

  4. i’ve never eaten this yet. i am afraid of any kilawin type. 🙁

  5. I love ceviche and this looks very delicious! White food like this is so hard to take photographs but you did an amazing job! I like how you use colorful garnish to make this dish appetizing!

  6. Sissi says:

    Kilawing isda sounds so mysterious that I would order it in a restaurant without asking what it is 🙂 Frankly I love ceviche, I love sour and hot fish and am sure your delicious dish would be perfect for the hot days we are having now.

  7. Sounds fresh and delicious.

  8. I wonder whether fillets of flounder and cod would be good for this? I’ve tasted the dish before…presented with a flourish usually by guys who bring them to the potluck table. I could try making this for my son and his friends’ beer parties.

  9. Angelina Zurbano says:

    Tuna is the best Kilawin followed by Tangigue or halibut

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