Kinilaw is a native Filipino dish. Different types of seafood are used and they are steeped in vinegar as a way of cleaning and eventually “cooking” them. It is much like the ceviche of Latin America, except that the acid base is vinegar instead of lime juice.
But while most people would soak every kind of seafood in the same kind of solution made of vinegar mixed with spices and flavorings, there is actually a technique to doing it so that you get the best taste for the different kinds of treasures that we reap from the sea–fish, shrimps, seaweed, and squid. And it seems, one man has perfected this art, and that is Vicente Lobaton of Sagay City, Negros Occidental–the man behind Enting’s of Sagay Restaurant.
Enting’s opened his Bacolod restaurant 16 years ago and it was only last month that they celebrated their anniversary with all eat-all-you-can lunch and dinner seafood buffet that was a huge hit among their loyal clientele.
Whenever we go to Enting’s, we have their usual tinolang isda, tangigue kinilaw, fried chicken, and many others. But it was the first time during their buffet that I tried their seaweed salad and their special shrimp kinilaw. I first saw the peeled shrimp kinilaw on the tray and it just look all gray–not the appetizing red orange color that always entices us. I thought that it was for the grill or tempura station where they still have to cook it before serving it to you. I was mistaken. I was told that the shrimp was already seasoned and all we needed to do if we ate it was just to dip the shrimp in the dipping sauce that was displayed beside it. I was hesitant to get some because it looked so raw and unappetizing.
My foodie self got the better of me eventually and so I got a few pieces of shrimp to share with my husband. He loves shrimps so I thought he might also like it. In a separate container, I spooned some of the light sauce. I was totally enjoying the other different dishes that they served that day because everything was sooooo good, including the tangigue kinilaw and the goat dishes that they are so famous for. But eventually, I had to try the shrimp kinilaw. As was suggested, I dipped the shrimp in the sauce, making sure that all surfaces are covered. I dunno, maybe that made me feel better, hoping that the sauce would cover my squeamishness.
But when I put the shrimp in my mouth, I was in for a surprise. The sauce provided the delicate sweet and spicy flavor to the shrimp. It was neither malansa or slimy. Honestly, I loved it. If I wasn’t so full, I would have finished the entire serving that I got, but since I already ate a lot of other dishes before hand, I was only able to gobble three pieces. And wow, I surely did not regret trying it.
So the next time you visit Enting’s, try all their seafood dishes, but most especially, don’t miss their different kinds of kinilaw because these are really their specialties. I am not really sure how this dish sits with guests from other countries, but for Filipinos, kinilaw is an all-time favorite.
Enting’s of Sagay is located at The Marketplace, beside NGC, Circumferential Road, Bacolod City. They are open daily, serving lunch and dinner. For reservations, please call (034) 432 2192. They also accept orders for lechon baboy (pig) and lechon baka (cow) as well as boneless lechon pork belly for your special occasions.