Zamboanga del Sur Cuisine

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When one goes to visit a foreign place, one of the things that he or she must experience before leaving is the local cuisine: the foods and delicacies that make that place special. Almost every place has their own local dish they are proud of, and if this place is a melting pot of several cultures and ethnicities, then one is almost assured that their selection will be grand. Foods and cuisines that are indigenous to that one place are very much like the physical tourist attractions people go to see, only this time, it satiates a different sense: taste.



One dish that is a local favorite in Zamboanga is called Tiula Itum. “Itum” means black, and that is what the dish actually is: a black soup or broth. It is served hot and spicy, and the hotter and spicier, the better. The broth is made from beef or chicken that is flavored with ginger, turmeric, and burned coconut meat. This dish is served in many occassions: during weddings, religious festivities, and other celebrations. The Tiula Itum is a Tausug dish but it is one of the most popular dishes in Zamboanga del Sur.

Satti is another local delicacy in Zamboanga; it is actually a breakfast dish. Satti shops in Zamboanga open up as early as 4 AM, and by midday, it is rare to find them being sold anywhere. Satti is like the normal barbecue on a stick, only smaller, with only three small strips of meat on a stick. The satti is similar to the Malaysian satay with the difference being the size of the serving.  It is coupled with sticky rice, served floating on a think, semi-sweet and spicy sauce.

For something that’s on the seafood side, Curacha is a local Chavacano name given to a type of sea crab called a sea cockroach. It is a mix of a giant crab and lobster that can only be found in the seas of Zamboanga. A serving is good for about 2-3 people, and there are several ways to cook it but one of the most popular is topping it with some garlic and chili.

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