Thursday, July 30, 2015

Zamboanga Foods

I just had my yearly vacation last July 2015, after 2 years of not seeing Zamboanga definitely I missed the food stuff which can only be seen, ordered or tasted in Zamboanga City. The spices, the aroma and the freshness of ingredients are the things that differs a native Zamboanga cuisine from other.. So, ill cut the introduction short and begins introducing the foods that I dearly miss.

1. Tiyulah Itum
Translated as " Black Soup " from Bahasa Tausug, This is a native Tausug dish which is also prepared by other Muslim tribes in Mindanao like Yakan, and Sinama.. This dish is a proof for the Filipino saying - "Sabaw pa lang, Uulam na.. "
Tiyulah Itum is a dish which is composed of meat chunks and bones ( Beef, goat meat or chicken meat ) with Burned coconut for its aroma and hot  crushed chilis which contributes to its spiciness. It is Black - greenish to dark gray in color due to the burned coconut meat which is unique to the Tausug cuisine. Tiyulah Itum is usually served on ocassions like weddings, Eidil Fitri / Adha, and Duwaa Salamat. I remmember when I had my vacation, my Mom and brother would always serve the family with this dish on our Sahur and Iftar /Bukah. And not a single soup or meat is wasted as it is the Family's favorite dish.

Here's a Youtube Video on how to cook the native Tausug dish, - Tiyulah Itum. Credits to the owner of the Video.

2. Beef Kulma

Beef Kulma is like a Beef curry with added peanuts, tomato sauce and coconut milk for added texture and exotic flavors. It more alike to the Kare Kare of Luzon but with big differences from its spice, texture and flavor. It is usually not strongly flavored as most curry dishes. 
It can be cook on a hurry as it has simple ingredients with complex flavors. Or cooked slower so as to tenderized the meat which usually are beef, and goat meat. Carrots and Potatoes are usually added to add flavor and volume. Just like Tiyulah Itum, this dish is also prepared in Special occasion, but due to its simplicity in preparation, one can find this dish in any Kadday or tausug / muslim restaurant in Zamboanga,

Above is a Youtube video on how to prepare The Zamboanga Beef Kulma. Credits to the owner of the video.

3. Beef Rendang or Randang

Beef Rendang is an Indonesian 
cuisine. It is believed that due to the close geographical locations of the Philippines' Zamboanga Mindanao and Malaysia and Indonesia, this cuisine has spread in some parts of Mindanao. It is prepared by the Tausugs, Yakan, Sinama and Maranao, and as such it is common dish prepared by these tribes on some ocassions. Rendang is rich in spices. Along with the main meat ingredient which is beef, rendang uses coconut milk  and a paste of mixed ground spices, which includes gingergalangalturmeric leaves, lemongrassgarlicshallotchilli and other spices. 
Traditionally rendang takes hours to cook. Cooking rendang involves pounding and grinding ingredients as well as slow cooking, and so is time-consuming and requires patience. The meat pieces are slowly cooked in coconut milk and spices until almost all the liquid is gone, allowing the meat to absorb the condiments. The cooking process changes from boiling to frying as the liquid evaporates. The slow cooking process allows the meat to absorb all the spices and become tender. To cook the meat until tender with almost all the liquid evaporated requires great care, if the meat is not to be burnt or be spoilt. Because of its generous use of numerous spices, rendang is known for having a complex and unique taste. Beef rendang can be seen in Muslim restaurant in Zamboanga and is also a delicacy which is usually prepared on special ocassions.

How to cook Beef Rendang? The Video below will teach you how :)

4. Satti or Satay

Nothing beats a Satti on a cold morning. Satti is usually prepared in Kaddays or muslim restaurant in Zamboanga on a morning, as it is a usual dish for breakfast. With its spicy orange red soup, rice and meat of your choices like - chicken, chicken liver, beef, lamb, and goat. It is believed to be originated from Indonesia but Thailand and Malaysia also claims its own. Satti is a dish of seasonedskewered and grilled meat, served with a sauce. Satay may consist of diced or sliced chickengoatmutton, and beef. The dish is very popular in Zamboanga. Catholics and muslims Filipino knows the food and loves it. It is also popular in many other Southeast Asian countries, including Iindonesia, MalaysiaSingaporeBruneiThailand, the Mindanao Philippines

Below is a Video on how the satii is prepared as well as its ingredients. Please note that the Video is in Bahasa Sug. Credits to the owner.

5. Bauluh

Baulu made from Jolo, Sulu is the best among all baulu made anywhere. It is usually pasalubong given by Sulu natives to relatives away fom Sulu.
The baulu or bahulu is made of egg and flour like a mini sponge cake or mamon. The baulu is artistic because the batter is place on molds and baked, thus the shape is not uniform. Baulu is usually prepared as pasalubongs by Muslim Filipinos OFW as it is an icon of the Tausug people and its taste reminds you of home.

6. Putli Mandi

Putli Mandi is a sweet delicacy which is in ball-shaped and rolled in coconut meat.

The dough is made of cassava flour with sticky rice flour mixed in. A mixture of coconut and sugar hinti' is put in the middle. It isFORMED into balls and boiled in water. Then it is rolled in grated coconut. It is a common minatamis served during Ifthar of Ramadhan in Muslim Mindanao. This is my favorites of all minatamis in Zamboanga.

7. Locot Locot / Lokot Lokot / Jaa

The Lokot-Lokot or sometimes called “Jaa” by the locals is a crunchy, golden brown delicacy produced and served during occasions, most especially during Eid-il-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan and Eidil  Adha. This sweet delicacy is best eaten with cofee or tea.

8. Daral
Daral is like a lumpia, but the difference is what is inside.. What is wrapped inside it is a sweet coconut meat mied with bukayo. It is a usual delicacies derved on breakfast and desser for special ocassion. 

A video of how to cook Daral. Credits                                                                   to the owner of the youtube video.

9. Pali Kambing / Tibobbol

Pali Kambing or Tibobol is a sweet delicacy in Zamboanga Mindanao which is a banana inside the fried flour. It is usually round in shape similar to Chinese Butchi. It is believed to be an original Sinama Tawi Tawi delicacy.

10. Pasung
Pasung is a sweetened rice flour held on a banana leaf which is then steamed. Just like the other sweet foods of Zamboanga, it is also usually prepared on Ramadhan Ifthar and is best eaten with hot cofee, tea or chocolate drinks.

11. Pitis

Pitis is a sweet delicacy just like putli mandi, but instead of rolling it into balls and being covered with coconut meat, it is being placed on a banana leaf and steamed.

12. Pastil

Pastil is everywhere at any ocassion and at any time of the day. If you are a native of Zamboanga, you are pretty sure that this is a usual recess foods of students especially those who are studying in ZAEC or Universidad de Zamboanga since most Kadday are found just around the school campus. I remmember my college days when we and my gang would buy a bunch of Pastil and a bottle of its hot spicy vinegar sauce. It like empanada but it usually has bihon inside it and is eaten with its sauce. Bbest eaten with your bare hand hehe..

The pastil sauce. made up of vinegar added with spices of chilies, and garlic and ocassionally sugar to sweeten it up. The sauce has its different variations depending on the Kadday's chef.

13. Pyanggang Manuk

This is my favorite dish, thats why i leave it the last. Pyanggang manuk is a chicken dish which contain buned coconut meat and coconut milk. It is prepared just like Tiyulah Itum but it just differs on the sense that Tiyulah Iitum is a soup and Payanngan is usually dry in texture as the sauce is made to dry so as to allow the chicken meat to absorb its ingredients, giving it its delicious taste.

How to cook Chicken Pyanggang?

  Zamboanga Mindanao is also rich in marine aquatic resources, thus you can see a variety of sea food dishes like the following. ( Im not saying that its native only in Mindanao, but its just that it is usually prepared at Muslim family and Muslim Kaddays or Restaurants. :) )

Agal Agal or seaweed Salad

Isda Tyapa 

Tihi Tihi or sea urchins

Sea Urchins Stuffed with rice mixed                                                            with coconut and turmeric.

Syanglag and Pyutu

Syanglag and..


Syanglag and pyutu are usually eaten as substitute for rice when you have sea food dishes as mentioned above. This delicacies are readily available anywhere and anytime but is usually best prepared on summer where Families goes on a picnic. :)

    These are but a few of the delicacies that anyone can taste in Zamboanga. All you need is just to find a simple Kadday or restaurant and voila... It will be serve to you with a matching smiles from the hospitable people of Zamboanga. To those OFW who will be back to Zamboanga, im sure you missed her especially the taste of Zamboanga's, make sure before you leave the city again, your taste bud had experience and re experience the joy of its cuisine..And to those who will be visiting Zamboanga, I hope this simple blog will guide you of what Zamboanga cuisine has to offer.. :)


  1. Hey kong..i remember you..i think youre my lil sis's friend?irene?anyhow i sooo love this blog..made me miss our hometown..waaah

  2. Hi elle, yah me too i remmember u also.. How are u? Yeah, nkakamiss talaga ang zamboanga.. I hope d next tym u visit zamboanga ull have a taste of t'em hehe..

  3. Hi Sir! May I know kung saang specific resto niyo po natikman ang Sea Urchins Stuffed with rice mixed with coconut and turmeric?

    1. Hello, i tasted one way back when i was a child in Alavar restaurant. My mom knows how to prepare it so, we dont have to bother to buy one. Some Tausug kaddays ( the term for restaurants serves this kind of dish.. Nowadays, its easy to find one as more and more tausug kaddays are bein build all around zamboanga and even outside zamboanga.. I hope u could find and taste this dish :)

  4. Hir Sir, May I know anong klaseng suka ang ginagamnit sa Pastil sauce?

  5. At kung ano2 ang Ingredients sa pag gawa ng Sauce ng Pastil. Many Thanks :)