Pardon our take on Dickens’ “Tale of Two Cities” for the title but we beg to ask, a satti is a satti is a satti, right? A visit to Zamboanga City and Bongao, Tawi Tawi became a journey of discovery with regards to the answer to this query.
But first things first – what is a satti? A popular breakfast fare in the south, satti is grilled beef or chicken on a stick served with tamuh (rice) in a spicy curry sauce. The description reads like a simple dish to prepare so you might be inclined to say how different can sattis be? We had the opportunity to sample the satti at Jimmy’s, the pride of Zamboanga and Sulu, and at the Bongao Coffee Shop to look for answers.
Eating at Jimmy’s
Lagal[og] said: Staying at Amil’s Pension Inn in Zamboanga City means we were right on the street where Jimmy’s is which was swell. The crowds that stream in early in the morning can only mean the food is worth waking up early for. And it really is. The Beef Satti is grilled just right so it’s very tender. The curry sauce of the tamuh is not just spicy, it’s also very flavorful. Honestly, I never had a curry dish so early in the morning but this one’s very, very good, I wouldn’t mind having a third or fourth (Fifth? Sixth?) order if I wasn’t overly concerned about the curry wreaking havoc on my stomach as we had a long ferry trip ahead of us.
Ironwulf said: I have tried 4 satti places in Zamboanga City and each may have the formulaic appearance but the price and how they cook their meat and sauces are different. The best ones to date that is of good value for me is Jimmy’s Satti. One thing similar about Zamboanga’s Satti’s is their fine tamuh (Sticky Rice) and a bit of sweetening on their spicy curry sauce. It’s just that Jimmy’s have the balance of flavor just right and the way they grill their meat, either beef or chicken, is finely done.
Breakfast at Bongao Coffee Shop
Lagal[og] said: The Tawi Tawi tourism staff led us to the Bongao market near the pier for breakfast and here’s where we discovered the Bongao Coffeehouse. It serves the familiar breakfast tray of goodies and native delicacies like Junay Iban Itlog (suman-like rice delicacy served with hardboiled egg) which we sampled. But upon learning they also serve satti, we felt it was but appropriate to give it a try and compare it with the one in Jimmy’s. The beef and the chicken pieces were okay, not over-cooked.
Ironwulf said: The Tawi-tawi tourism highly recommended this place as their best when it comes to sattis. Their tamuh isn’t as solid as that of Zamboanga’s, as the large rice bits would collapse like regular formed rice when placed on the curry sauce. Their grilled chicken meat were well done but their curry sauce is undeniably spicier.
Lagal[og] said: I’d say the satti at Bongao Coffee Shop had a hotter, spicier curry sauce. The rice chunks were also bigger so they were more filling. But I still think Jimmy’s Satti are more flavorful though.
Ironwulf said: There really isn’t much to complain about both sattis here as both can really perk you up in the morning. It all depends on the eater’s taste and preference here. If you really like a flaming hot satti, Bongao’s Coffee Shop is the hot choice. But if you prefer a flavorful approach with the right amount of spice, Jimmy’s Satti balances this out. Personally though, I’d go for the latter.
Jimmy’s Satti Haus
Pilar St., Zamboanga City
Tel. 993.2254; 991.9983
Bongao Coffee Shop
Ridjiki Boulevard St.,
Located at the Chinese Pier of Bongao, Tawi Tawi