Share this articleKabigan Falls, Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte. We had breakfast in this area. As I was having my raw beef tapa (in coconut vinegar with pepper and garlic), the nice ladies offered me some freshly butchered raw beef at a nearby food stall in Kabigan Falls.
They offered me some slabs of fresh raw beef. Then I noticed a small pot with simple raw beef ceviche / kinilaw. This sold for 50 pesos per little plate. I asked if I could buy the entire pot which they estimated to have 5 servings, the shop owner said yes!
Then I saw the decapitated head of beef, I asked if I could buy the brain. They said they can only sell me half of the brain because they were going to use the other half of the brain to make another traditional Ilocano dish called Dinakdakan.
So I got half a raw brain. Of course it tasted great. We mixed the brain in with the raw beef ceviche. This Ilocos Norte traditional raw beef kinilaw is made with thin slices of raw beef plus calamansi and onions. It is that unbelievably simple.
I wanted this beef ceviche style because it keeps. Currently me and my family are on travel and this goes inside my trusty plastic container and has to keep and not stink. We have no ice.
We had lunch in Laoag with my wife’s Auntie who is an MD anesthesiologist and she was also familiar with this traditional raw beef kinilaw / ceviche. We were in a fine dining restaurant and she and I shared in this glorious fresh concoction which she has fond memories in her youth, she ate a lot of it, said it was fresh and very good.
The waiter in the fine dining place said they had dinakdakan on the menu but said they used mayonnaise instead of raw brain because mayonnaise had less of a smell? I call that BS reasoning. But that is what the waiter said.
What I think is that beef brains are small and there aren’t really enough of it to go around serving dinakdakan in the quantities they sell.
I find it very hard to get hold of raw beef brain in Marikina and Quezon City markets because it is in such great demand.
Anyway, back to the Ilocano traditional raw beef kinilaw… is no exaggeration, it is what it is because it is served in the turo-turo by traditional Ilocano people.