What makes good kansi? It’s the process of slow cooking until the meat becomes tender. Fast cooking will never give you the same piquancy. Kansi, when slow-cooked, will give you a complexity of inviting flavors that are beefy, sour, and spicy, all rolled into one.

Kansi is a Western Visayas gelatinous beef soup made of beef shanks and bone
marrow. When choosing the meat, the front leg will be the best choice because it is softer compared to the hind part.

The key is how the beef shanks are cut. A clean cut through the shanks and bone of a cow that is linghod (young) and tambok (fat) would make this dish sumptuous due also to the gelatin extracted from the connective tissue in the bone after hours of

Once the beef is tender, we mix in the batwan, a souring agent. Batwan can be added into the dish only when the beef is already tender. If placed before that, you get the opposite effect - the beef will become chewy.

Restaurants like Sharyn’s Cansi House and Eron’s Cansi House, and Conee’s Cansi & Sugba, all in Bacolod, have long been known for perfecting this dish. However, the dish has built a great following in other restaurants as well, including Portiko Café, Bilbao’s Cansi House, and Imay’s, to name a few.

Negrenses love hot and soupy comforting food. Not only does it appease one’s hunger, it also offers relief after a long day’s work, as well as uplifting one’s emotion. Just like other favorite soup dishes, kansi becomes a perfect meal that can be eaten any time of the day.


3-4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 onion, thinly sliced
1/2 kilo beef shank
1 bone marrow
Water for boiling
1-2 batwan
1 bundle tanglad (lemongrass)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon atchuete (annatto seeds) extract
2-3 laba katumbal (long peppers)
Spring onions, chopped, as optional garnish

Atsuete Extract Preparation:
Soak atsuete seeds in water until the red orange color comes out. Separate seeds. Set aside extract.


1. In a large pot, sauté the garlic and the onion. Make sure not to burn the garlic and onion.

2. Add the beef shank with bone marrow and enough water to boil it. Close the pot with the lid. Maintain at low to medium fire.

3. Remove floating fat or scum.

4. Once meat is tender, add the batwan (according to taste), and tanglad.

5. Add salt and pepper to taste.

6. Add the atsuete extract and long peppers.

7. Keep boiling until the meat is fall-off-the-bone tender. Remove floating fat or scum, if any.

8. Taste and see if you still need to add more salt and pepper.

9. Serve hot. Sprinkle chopped spring onions if desired.

Makes 2-3 servings.

Recipe shared by Nanay Lucita Divino Tonato
77 years old
Head cook of the Velez-Gamban and Locsin-Gamboa families

Nanay Luz has been cooking family recipes that have been passed on for generations. She learned how to cook from her mother at a young age and became proficient with some of the heirloom recipes of the families she worked with.

Text by: Massah Gonzales-Gamboa
Photography by: Project Twenty Six
Food Styling by: David Dadivas


The batwan tree can be found abundantly growing in the islands of Negros and Panay. Bat wan has been used for generations as a souring agent. Whilst sampalok (tamarind) is the souring agent used in the north, some people find it too sour, whereas batwan is more gentle and subtle. These characteristics, together with the Negrense innovativeness in cooking, has made batwan a versatile fruit that can be used for battering and roasting meat, as a vinaigrette for salads, or mixed in a gravy, and even as a candy.

If fresh batwan fruit is not available, you may purchase Ading's Kitchen batwan paste or Negros Volunteers for Change (NVC) powdered batwan. These products may be ordered and shipped to your doorstep through www.shopnegrostradefair.com.

The pepper is an option if one wants hotness in the Kansi.

Kansi and its ingredients.

Kansi is a hot and soupy comfort food, similar to the Tagalog bulalo.

To an Ilonggo, kansi is comfort food, ideal for meals or merienda.

Kansi’s special ingredient is the batwan (Garcinia binucao) the favorite souring agent of Negros.

Kansi offers comfort after a long day’s work, as well as after a drinking session.

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