Kinalas is comfort food. Brain slices optional

Categories Food

You always eat this with Coke, because you burp. Kailangan hot na hot (with chillies) para tumulo talaga pawis mo. (It should be with chillies so that you will really perspire)

Kinalas noodle dish topped with gravy and brain. CLICK TO ENLARGE

The first time I learned about kinalas, a popular noodle dish in Naga City, I was queasy. The thought of eating pork brain gives me goosebumps. It is one part of an animal that I avoid and kinalas is said to contain this organ.

I got curious, though, as Jojo, a friend’s friend was enthusiastic, raving is probably the proper term, of bringing us there during one gastronomic trip around the city. Off we went to one eatery reputed to be the best in this part of the region.

Kinalas refers to the meat which is removed (thus, kalas) from skinned and boiled pork’s head cut in half. It is laman (meat) stripped from that part. It has the typical noodles used in mami, a popular dish that is found around the country.

The broth is made from boiled pig bones and shoulder meat with scallions added into the bowl. Diners can have optional one boiled egg or crushed chicharon, crispy pork rind. And the brain? Luckily in Kinalas Twin, the place we visited, has it optional. Those who would want it can just get from another bowl. One other defining ingredient is the brown gravy that is doused on top before being served.

You always eat this with Coke, because you burp, Jojo said. Puto cheese, a kind of rice cake formed like a muffin with cheese on top is also a popular pair. There are several kinalas eateries around Naga City but the one we went to is preferred. It has been featured in newspaper and magazine articles. You won’t be disappointed.

Bowl of noodles ready to be immersed in hot broth, gravy and other ingredients

Kinalas Twin is unassuming. The eatery is infront of an apartment along Dayangdang St. in the barangay of the same name. If not for the big board and its wide open entrance that gives a glimpse of the tables and chairs and patrons sitting, one would easily miss this one. From 3-5PM, expect the place to be full of patrons, coming and going while tricycles or private vehicles stopping once in a while to drop or pick up passengers.

Halved pork head. CLICK TO ENLARGE
Dito sa Dayangdang St. nagsimula ang kinalas. Nilalako ng isang matanda at just 10 centavos per bowl,” (Kinalas started in this street, being sold by an old man…) Edwin told me. I started experimenting my own version of the caldo (soup) in 1990. Kubo-kubo lang to dati, (When we started, it was just a place with native roofing materials) he added. When typhoon Unding struck in 2004, we transformed the place using durable materials and this is what you can see now.

Bicolano's fave: chilis crushed with bottle head.

Inside are eight tables with four plastic and backless chairs. At the far end is Edwin Rey, the owner who sits at his table serving as a counter. behind him is his apartment’s entrance. At the right, is another table where the cooking happens. It is clean with bowls in three sizes neatly stacked. A chopping board, bowls of noodles ready to be smothered in broth, a large vat in a slow boil as well as halved pork heads are in one part.

Owner of the popular Kinalas Twin, Mr. Edwin Rey. CLICK TO ENLARGE
Kailangan hot na hot (with chillies) para tumulo talaga pawis mo. (It should be with chillies so that you will really perspire), Jojo said in between sips of cold coke and crushing siling labuyo (native peppers) with vinegar on a shallow container. When my steaming bowl arrived, I tasted the gravy. A bit salty for my taste but once it is mixed in, the taste is better.

I like noodle soup dishes not only for snacks or something to eat on a cold, rainy night, but it’s also filling as lunch or dinner. When I get to places, its one of those local food fare that I look for. Thus, kinalas is no exception.

Kinalas Twin's dining area is often times full with patrons

The broth is not too salty, not too bland. Just the right seasoning that I need not add fish sauce but it is just so delicious. The noodles, like pasta, is al dente. But the meat, oh boy, the meat was just memorable. Very tender, very tasty. Home cooking at its best. While into my last spoonful of broth and bits of noodles and meat, I can’t just help but rave and praise it. It’s no wonder that people really come to this place.

Eatingย kinalas at Kinalas Twin is an experience. A memorable one. One that can leave you asking for more. With theย ibos-ibos, these were two most memorable food experiences I had in Naga City.ย As I had my fill that night, sated and happy, I came back early the next morning to eat there again. It’s that good.

Kinalas Twin (+63 906 5021781) is located along Dayangdang St. in Barangay Dayangdang. From the downtown area, hail a tricycle and tell the driver to take you to the place which is quite famous. It is open 7 days a week starting at 6 AM until evening, Monday to Saturday and half day on Sundays. The place is crowded between 3-5 PM. You have three sizes to chose from: small, big and jumbo with prices ranging from P23 – P36. It’s that cheap. They also offer Pansit luglug but skip that one. Go for the real thing.

Estan Cabigas is freelance photographer, blogger and writer based in Makati City, the Philippines. A true blue Cebuano, he makes stunning images and meaningful photo stories. His work has been published in local and international publications including National Geographic Magazine, Geo (Germany), Sunday Times Magazine (London) and other publications.

He is also a peripatetic traveler and has traveled to all 81 Philippines provinces.

I'm open for work, collaborations and inquiries, including hotel, restaurant and site features and reviews.

27 thoughts on “Kinalas is comfort food. Brain slices optional

  1. wow, when you told me about this, i went there but unfortunately sarado…so i looked for another store, parang di ko lang nagustuhan yung lasa…siguro kasi iba nagluto.

  2. Mukhang masarap pero parang di ko kakayanin ang anghang nito. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Glad that I found your site. Now, may mababasa ako this long weekend. Very inspiring ang mga entries, at the best ang mga photos.

    Happy weekend.

  3. i love eating brains! hahaha! when i was little, brekkie namin lagi pig brain with misua and egg. yum ๐Ÿ™‚ ma-try nga ito pagnapunta ulet ng naga.

  4. mabisita nga ang lugar na to. Challenging yan para sa akin. Mas maanghang mas masarap hindi ba… nakakatakam

  5. Thank you for this! I was craving Kinalas today and have been researching recipes or anything on my favorite Naga treat. You described everything I remember to a tee! Bravo! I will be referencing this article when I attempt to make my own version for my blog.

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