Photo by Leo Angelo Cabacungan.

When it comes to Filipino food, the soup-based dishes almost always stand out. Generally made with boiled meats and vegetables, they’re quite literally warm hugs on rainy days. Comfort in a bowl.

One such Pinoy food is kansi, a soup that is sour-salty in taste. Made with beef shank and bone marrow, this dish originated from Western Visayas, particularly in Iloilo and Bacolod.

Kansi is more commonly soured with batuan (or batwan), a native fruit that gives kansi its trademark rich, sour taste. The dish is usually cooked with unripe jackfruit, as well as lemongrass, tomatoes, garlic, onions, and siling haba or labuyo peppers.

The result is a dish that features tender beef shanks, swimming in an aromatic and flavorful soup, usually orange in color due to the use of annatto seeds or atsuete.

The secret to a good kansi is its slow-cooked the meat. But if time is an issue, pressure cookers could save a lot of precious time.

Photo by @mommy.issa325

Kansi is often paired with a cup of steaming white rice, though it is quite filling on its own. Some prefer to eat kansi with a platter of patis (fish sauce) and calamansi with crushed chili.

Outside Visayas, kansi is often dubbed as “sinigang na bulalo,” because of its similarities to both dishes.

Like kansi, bulalo is made by cooking beef shanks and bone marrow until the collagen and fat have melted into the clear broth. It typically includes leafy vegetables, corn on the cob, scallions, onions, garlic, ginger, and fish sauce.

Sinigang, on the other hand, is a soup dish characterized by its sour and savoury taste.

Kansi has since become a favorite in different parts of the country, appearing in menus of many restaurants, some with the soup dish as its main offering.

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Among the popular restos that serve this popular dish include Pat-Pat’s Kansi in Makati City, Balay Dako in Tagaytay, Dude’s House of Kansi in Pasig, and JT’s Manukan Grille.

In Bacolod, famous kansihan include Sharyn’s and Eron’s, which are located just a few stores apart at Narra Avenue.

Like many soup dishes where they’re best consumed piping hot, kansi becomes more appealing
to consume during the rainy season for obvious reasons. But it is available all year round.