Kinuday or Kini-ing?

Obviously, I’m talking about the Cordillera highlands, the common yet different ways and characteristics we “people of the mountains” share, like how we prepare, serve, and preserve meat as passed on to us by our ancestors.

Before we begin, let me first greet the great men behind FNS (Filipino News Sentinel), most importantly its founder Mhar Oclaman and the staff. Congratulations to the team for their brave and successful leap towards the company’s commitment of “spreading knowledge and unfolding the truth”. May the journey prove to be promising, through all the highs and lows along the way. Godspeed!

Now, let’s begin. Let’s talk about “kinuday” and “kini-ing”.

These are indigenous terms popularly referring to pork dishes that we do not often hear of especially when in the city, unlike adobo, sinigang, lechon, etcetera. Mind you, although these indigenous dishes are now included in the menu of some of our local restaurants today, many still end up asking themselves if these dishes differ from each other after having them.

I say there is a difference, but why talk about their differences? They are
very tasty and so good for the hungry tummy!

We talk about it so we will know, and won’t get confused the next time we
are offered any of the two. We want to raise cultural awareness, yay! Know that kinuday is the traditional way of meat preservation among the Ibalois since time immemorial. Locals who practice the tradition do it by hanging chunks of pork on the ceiling of their dirty kitchen or in the backyard above the area where food is cooked. The smoke produced from the firewood preserves the meat, but not any firewood is used, not pinewood especially, unless it has dried up completely to not discharge a drip of its sap.

Kini-ing, on the other hand is smoked the same way, except that the meat is first soaked in salted water of previously boiled guava leaves before smoking, making the preserved meat slightly tougher. The use of guava leaves helps harden the meat and its scent would drive flies or other insects away. The process is popularly practiced by the Kankanaeys, more particularly in Sagada, Mountain Province.

Today, some locals still practice the indigenous tradition of meat preservation but use improvised methods in order to adhere with environmental ethics. Some would prefer to buy it from the local market, while some would just order the already cooked version from local specialty restaurants.

A number of local restaurants have come up with various dishes using these indigenous preserved meats as the main ingredient.

Next time someone hands you a piece or so of what locals colloquially call as Cordillera “highland bacon” or “Igorot ham”, you can tell by its looks and texture if it’s “kinuday” or “kini-ing”.

Merriam del Rosario