Tag: Mindanao

A tale of two sattis

Chicken and Beef Satti at Jimmys
Chicken and Beef Satti at Jimmy's

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.

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Kamayan in Manay

Kamayan ni Manay in Dapitan Zamboanga del Norte
Kamayan ni Manay in Dapitan Zamboanga del Norte

The weather alternated between overcast and rainy when we ventured to Dapitan City in Zamboanga del Norte. It’s been a long trip, having gone from Tawi-Tawi to Zamboanga City and northwards to Dipolog so instead of letting the rains dampen our spirits, we took it as a sign to slow down on shooting and make the most out of the sleepy weather. Having billeted ourselves at one of the pension houses along the city’s Sunset Boulevard, we had the rare luxury of being steps away from eating places. We consider ourselves very lucky indeed to have stumbled upon Kamayan ni Manay just before the heavy rains came again and obscured the nice view of Dapitan Bay.

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Seafood for the holidays at Hai San

Hai Sain Grilled Tiger Prawns on Lemon and Butter
Hai Sain Grilled Tiger Prawns on Lemon and Butter

Our flight schedule to Zamboanga City fell on Christmas day so it was imperative that happyfoodies should have a good Christmas dinner away from our respective homes.

But we want something else other than the usual hamon and other holiday foods so at the suggestion of our tricycle driver, we ended up in Hai San Seafood Market and Restaurant. Was the meal worthy of a holiday dinner? Was the food delicious as it was filling? Happyfoodies would soon find out.

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Enjoying Curacha and other treats at Alavar’s

Curacha with Alavars Sauce (large Ph 745)
Curacha with Alavar's Sauce (large Php 745)

Visit Zamboanga City and almost everyone tells you not to miss tasting the famous Curacha, a hybrid crustacean that bears resemblance to the sea crab and a spiny lobster. The name means “cockroach” in Chavacano, maybe because of its appearance. But don’t let that unappetizing translation dissuade you from sampling this tasty crustacean, which is caught only in the seas of Zamboanga and Sulu.

Short of buying a live one from the market and cooking it yourself, the best way to enjoy this treat is to eat at Alavar’s Seafood House, which is just a short tricycle ride from downtown. First item on the agenda is of course, Curacha. But happyfoodies got some welcome surprises from other items in the menu.

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Hamming it up in CDO

SLERS Beef Pastrami Sandwich and Tsokolate
SLERS Beef Pastrami Sandwich and Tsokolate

Mention Cagayan de Oro and on top of the list associated with this City of Golden Smiles is its famous ham.  And when it comes to hams, the overwhelming favorite among the locals is SLERS Jamon Cagayan de Oro, which has been around since 1969.  What makes their ham different is the natural juiciness and tenderness of the meat.  This is due in large part to the fact that the swine from which they are made were fed with pineapple, a fruit laden with the enzyme papain, which has natural tenderizing properties. Over the years, SLERS hams have become a part of tradition among CDO locals as well as guests all-year round and especially during Christmas-time.   SLERS have also ventured into the quick-service restaurant and more recently, the café business.

We chanced upon the newly-opened SLERS Ham & Café while looking for somewhere to eat for lunch on our way back to Manila.  The small but charming café is warm and inviting, with a wall decked with goodies ready to tempt the diner.

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