Inubarang manok

Going local: 6 Aklanon food you should try

BINAKOE or BINAKUL: native chicken cooked inside a bamboo node with added ingredients

BINAKOE or BINAKUL: native chicken cooked inside a bamboo node with added ingredients

Binakul as decanted from its bamboo vessel

Binakul as decanted from its bamboo vessel

Tasting local flavors is one reason why travel is so addicting. Its a great way to know more of the culture and heritage of a people and their place. But most of the time, especially when fastfood and popular cuisine have made inroads, it can be challenging.

This was my dilemma when I went to Kalibo. What is Aklanon cuisine? What and where to eat in Kalibo when I want local? There were a few dishes that I’ve come across and when I asked about it, people usually say, oh, we prepare these only during fiestas..

But then, there’s Saylo Cuisine along Quezon Ave. Extension, Kalibo which, fortunately for me, serves authentic Aklanon cuisine. Below is a list of local dishes that you should have whenever you are in Kalibo or Aklan. Except for latik, the rest are from Saylo.

#1 Binakoe/binakul

Traditional binakoe is cooked inside a fresh node of bamboo. Native chicken plus onions and lemongrass are added. For the souring agent, aeabihig leaves complete the mix. Think of this dish as similar to the sinigang and might appeal to Tagalog palates.

A hot plate of rice plus steamig binakoe then paired with an ice cold soda would be the perfect lunch!

INUBARANG MANOK: native chicken and 'ubad' (banana stalk core) cooked in gata

INUBARANG MANOK: native chicken and ‘ubad’ (banana stalk core) cooked in gata

#2 Inubarang manok

I didn’t expect that core of banana stalk (ubad) when cooked in coconut milk can be so good! Native chicken cooked with the said ingredient, gata and lemongrass results in a stew like dish that has a thickish soup. I just love the gata taste, the tenderness of the chicken and the hint of tanglad (lemongrass).

LINAPAY: pounded freshwater shrimp, young coconut meat and wrapped in taro leaves then cooked in gata

LINAPAY: pounded freshwater shrimp, young coconut meat and wrapped in taro leaves then cooked in gata

What the inside of a linapay looks

What the inside of a linapay looks

#3 Linapay or Tinamuk

When this was served on the table, I blurted, looks familiar!, because it is. If you’ve been to Camalig in Albay, you will associate it with the pinangat or the inolukan, both tasty dishes and differs only in the filling.

Ueang (pounded freshwater shrimps and gawud (young coconut meat) are wrapped in gutaw (taro) leaves and cooked in coconut milk. Like the Bicol Equivalent, its a heavenly dish because of the gata and taro leaves. Slice in peppers and it can be a very flavorful and spicy dish!

A dessert made from ground rice flour ala palitaw base topped with bukayo

A dessert made from ground rice flour ala palitaw base topped with bukayo

#4 Inday inday

This is a simple dessert made from sticky rice flour (malagkit) cooked in hot water, just like the palitaw and topped with bucayo, gelatinous coconut meat simmered in water, muscovado sugar and coconut milk.

Its a beautiful play of texture and taste, blandness of the sticky rice flour patty and the sweetness of the topping.

LATIK: glutinuos rice suman topped with latik

LATIK: glutinuos rice suman topped with latik

#5 Latik

This native delicacy is another play of texture and taste which I love. Suman, cooked glutinous rice, which is bland is topped with grated coconut and latik, watery caramelized sugar, then wrapped in banana leaves and steamed.

Unlike the traditional suman which is elongated, this one is just around three inches long and bite sized. These are sold in the local markets or at the pasalubong center of Kalibo airport.

#6 Eangkuga

Despite its unusual name, eangkuga is similar to the ginatan: bilo-bilo (glutinous rice balls), pieces of saba bananas, camote (sweet potato), and shredded young coconut meat and cooked in coconut milk and muscovado sugar. Its a delicious afternoon snack.

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.

5 Comments

  1. Reydan Duldulao
    June 4, 2014 @ 8:39

    Kakagutom to ah! 🙂

  2. Good Bikolano food at Lake Buhi Resort » langyaw
    August 6, 2014 @ 9:36

    […] I guess, resorts and hotels should also highlight local cuisine or making it an option as what Saylo Cuisine in Kalibo is also doing. Let tourists and travelers experience local food and let them […]

  3. @owrange
    August 22, 2015 @ 8:24

    Going local: what to eat in Kalibo http://t.co/QsZW8ahJvj

  4. Joshua
    July 12, 2017 @ 11:59

    Good review. Nice pictures. Unfortunately, the Saylo Cuisine is now permanently closed based on google maps. 🙁 sad.

  5. estan
    July 24, 2017 @ 22:44

    Joshua, I think they’ve transferred na. You can check their FB page: https://www.facebook.com/saylo.kalibo/

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