kinalas

Kinalas is comfort food. Brain slices optional

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.

Eating kinalas at Kinalas Twin is an experience. A memorable one. One that can leave you asking for more. With the ibos-ibos, these were two most memorable food experiences I had in Naga City. 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.

23 Comments

  1. journeyingjames
    October 29, 2010 @ 16:47

    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. estan
    October 29, 2010 @ 17:05

    @james, this is the only place where you should eat kinalas. hehehe

  3. Lito
    October 29, 2010 @ 18:13

    Mukhang masarap pero parang di ko kakayanin ang anghang nito. 🙂

    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.

  4. estan
    October 29, 2010 @ 21:45

    @lito, thanx. di naman maanghang paghatid ng kinalas sayo. so you can make it hot to your liking. 🙂

  5. gaye
    December 7, 2010 @ 13:47

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

  6. estan
    December 8, 2010 @ 2:50

    @gaye, that’s one that i can’t seem to eat 🙂

  7. Micamyx|Senyorita
    July 1, 2011 @ 23:06

    Interesting 😀 Mapapakain lang ako nito kung mainit-init siya hehe otherwise baka mas lalo kong maisip na brain talaga siya and feel guilty 0_o

  8. estan
    July 1, 2011 @ 23:23

    @mica, ayoko ng brain 🙂

  9. chino
    July 12, 2011 @ 23:48

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

  10. ChopsueyRice
    September 1, 2011 @ 2:57

    there’s a place in Timog Ave. QC that serves Kinalas and other Bicolano dishes. Read my post about it at http://chopsueyrice.blogspot.com/2011/08/kinalas-in-metro-manila.html

  11. Mouthwatering ‘K-food’ you shouldn’t miss in Naga City | [email protected]
    September 7, 2011 @ 11:31

    […] The broth is the key ingredient. The broth is made out of boiled bones and innards of either pork or beef. Others even use pork’s brain like what Estan of Langyaw.com ate at Kinalas Twin. […]

  12. Tonijr5555
    December 23, 2011 @ 8:06

    Waaaa i miss Naga City!!

  13. Kinalas | JCISP NatCon 2013
    March 26, 2013 @ 15:04

    […] Blogger review here. […]

  14. totot
    April 1, 2013 @ 14:56

    mas ayaw sau
    ng brain..hahaha

  15. Good Cantonese food in Davao - Lotus Court
    July 1, 2013 @ 21:22

    […] Or we just become speechless and forget about time and space and feel this inner peace. It was a kinalas moment again. Or an ibos-ibos […]

  16. Where to get toasted siopao in Makati City
    July 7, 2014 @ 14:43

    […] as a gateway to Caramoan. It has a vibrant food scene and there are two very popular food products: kinalas and toasted siopao. The latter is rather small, as seen in the photo below but its also filling and […]

  17. The best hotel to stay for Naga City's Penafrancia - langyaw
    September 1, 2014 @ 20:51

    […] Ave., the gimik and restaurant strip is just one ride away. And so is the cathedral, filling kinalas and hung ma at Crown and a host of good fun places like Bora […]

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    September 8, 2014 @ 0:36

    […] WHAT IS KINALAS? READ MORE: Kinalas is comfort food. Brain slices optional […]

  19. sasssyyy
    February 6, 2016 @ 0:57

    Kinalasssarraappppp! Lalo na pag may Hang Over!

  20. Take It From The Experts: It’s More FOOD in the Philippines – My Blog
    June 21, 2016 @ 21:46

    […] From a native salad, let us go to a unique ice cream flavor in Bicol Region. Known for their spicy Bicol Express and laing, Bicolanos created a way to incorporate this spicy flavor to a famous dessert. A spicy and hot sensation will be felt immediately upon your first serve for the sili ice cream. Another food that Bicolanos discovered is the Kinalas, a popular noodle dish in Naga City. What makes the noodle dish unique? One of the ingredients is pork brain! “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,” as explained by Estan of langyaw.com. […]

  21. Take It From The Experts: It's More FOOD in the Philippines - iWander. iExperience. iKwento
    June 23, 2016 @ 12:34

    […] From a native salad, let us go to a unique ice cream flavor in Bicol Region. Known for their spicy Bicol Express and laing, Bicolanos created a way to incorporate this spicy flavor to a famous dessert. A spicy and hot sensation will be felt immediately upon your first serve for the sili ice cream. Another food that Bicolanos discovered is the Kinalas, a popular noodle dish in Naga City. What makes the noodle dish unique? One of the ingredients is pork brain! “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,” as explained by Estan of langyaw.com. […]

  22. Niki
    September 29, 2016 @ 11:57

    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.

  23. estan
    October 3, 2016 @ 17:32

    Niki, glad that you find this useful. Kinalas is one of my fave regional noodle dishes. 🙂

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