Thursday, November 19, 2009

zamboanga food in today's Philippine Daily Inquirer

my friend marsha and i were on the phone about 30 minutes ago when she gave a sudden shriek and babbled that someone just told her her mom's diner was featured in today's philippine daily inquirer. we bade each other a hasty goodbye and ran to get a copy: me to the library downstairs and she to......... whererever she normally gets her paper.

nikko ballovar at the periodical section gamely allowed me to take the paper out of the library for 15 minutes (the library staff here are used to my weird requests) so i could scan it. and here it is:

it's all askew, sorry. it was hastily done. i can only do so much in 15 minutes, no?

if you click on the picture, i guess you could read it. if not, the whole article is here.

it's an article by food columnist mickey fenix. it's about the food she ate and the recipes she gathered while visiting zamboanga.

i am so proud of my friend marsha and her mom because their restaurant, busy bee, is the first paragraph feature! i already talked about how i love eating there and having the hole in the wall featured in a national broadsheet makes me feel so good for the montano family, mamu edna especially.

fenix also mentioned country chicken restaurant where we took the kids to dinner last night in celebration of a successful family effort. she made special mention of exactly what we had last night: the mano-mano bilao. we had the giant platter which for Php 520 was very value for money. it fed three hungry kids and two hungry adults and two hungry teenagers. the only thing we had other than that platter was an order of lechon kawali. and the great thing was that they serve 1.5 liter softdrinks instead of just the small 8 oz or 12 oz bottles. a great, great treat for parents of little kids addicted to the drink because it was "just" Php 85, instead of the Php 25 x 7 we would have needed to get.

the kids loved their playground. i loved their garden. it's simplicity and unpretentious-ness makes it great, i think. you almost feel like you were dining in your own backyard. IF you had a spacious and pretty backyard.

do find time to read the article. it's great. if you're not here, it will help you remember. if you are here, it will help to remind you of places you can go to and things you can try out -- again or for the first time.

the article also mentions other iconic zamboanga food places: myrna's, jimmy's satti. and iconic food as well. fenix likes something i've always found weird: our noodle filled tamal. why fill a carbo casing with carbo filling? i actually love eating tamal. i just find the concept weird. just like juani in coconut milk and sugar. and the crab named after cockroaches. i guess that would describe a lot of zamboanga food: weird but very, very, very good.


  1. there's another must-try zambo delicacy: endulsao. it's like sweetened ham. speaking about weird, how about pancit sandwich topped with ketsup.eeew!

  2. hi anonymous, endulsao is zamboagueƱo pala? i love endulsao because it has everything we shouldn't eat: fat, salt, sugar. haha.

    miki sandwich with catsup is truly,truly weird. i haven't seen that i a while though.....

  3. I am very much delighted by this news Ms. Yen. Imagine, one of the country's most notable food writers - Ms. Fenix, next to the late Doreen Fernandez of course, featuring Zamboanga for the first time in her food column? that is something that we should be proud of. There is so much that Zamboanga can offer in terms of our gastronomic repertoire. Imagine a fusion of various culinary influences ranging from Malay, Chinese, Spanish and local flavors put up together by the delicate Zamboangueno palate. Yes, maarte talaga ang mga Zamboangueno when it comes to food. We always put a standard in our dishes - anything foreign in the dish that catches our eyes will always be branded as "barriotic" or "kusida man se de bisaya!" haha.. diba? very discriminating.hehe..

    But, I think she still missed a lot of the many dishes Zamboanga has to offer. Like Flavorite, which is known for their palabok ( imagine miki? something weird for Manilenos) and their jamon and chorizos which dates back to the time of my abuelas. Alfajor - which is a unique Zamboanga delicacy etc etc.. dami pa. I agree with you on the Tamal, haha.. loaded with Carbo na talaga. And it can only be found in Zamboanga. It is basically largely Chinese. Tamal is actually a copycat of the Mexican Tamales devoid of the vermicilli filling rather filled with generous servings of jamon, shredded chicken and chilies.

    Hay, I miss Zamboanga tuloy. Don't worry when I'll get back I'll invite you for dinner and let you savor my delicious Zamboangueno dishes.. hehe :)

  4. gelo, i remember one officemate na "de zamboanga gayot" who would not eat the sinigang my husband cooked because it had gabi in it. she said gabi was "komida de monte". we just laughed at her. everyone else at the table was bisaya and tagalog, people who love their tubers very much. in the end, we convinced her to try it. she ended up loving it.

    she also would not eat saging (plantains) because those were "komida de puerko". just to "annoy" her (in a loving way because she was our palangga in the office), i had someone bring cooked hilaw na saba with ginamus dip. haha. she ate a little, but this one she said she really can't make herself like.

    and you know how we love our sauteed kangkong? the people from the provinces find this the funniest thing. kangkong is a pesky weed they sometimes feed their farm animals if there is nothing else to give.

    we look down on their food, they look down on ours. ang tao nga naman, ano?

  5. Alfajor!! OMG. I have not eaten that in years, even before I left Zambo. The wani or juani Micky Fenix mentioned cannot be found here in Manila, sad. I miss that mango. I like it better than carabao mangoes.

    The last time she wrote about Zamboangueno cuisine primarily featured muslim delicacies like baulu. It's nice that she came back and tasted more stuff, but she really should have tasted endulsao! The comment above reminded me of my mom's super awesome endulsao.

  6. Exactly miss yen! Even in our household also, they never like to see foreign elements in our food. Not until did I introduce them to sinigang with gabi, puso ng saging, talong,sitaw, okra, raddish n kangkong - oh! how they loved the nutritious dish! Humba with peanuts and black beans, kare kare,laing and bulalo. Now, they became more liberal in their food preferences. Food is good wherever you are in the Philippines! But, I still love it when its from Zamboanga! hehe

  7. I love endulsao. my friends have it for fiesta every year and our workers from Cabaluay would make us endulsao for christmas - yum

    and also alfajor too.

    miki and ketsup? lol my dad still does that even when he's in manila haha truly zamboangeno.

  8. speaking of bizaare foods, there's a show at discovery channel titled, what else, "Bizaare Foods". the philippines was featured recently: balut and the usual suspects. they never got to mindanao but miki and ketsup should be one of them. every region has their own way of cooking things, even the humble adobo has countless variations.chavacano dish is generally unhealhy, heavily sauted and stir-fried. but just can't get enough of them.LOL.

  9. i tried miki with ketchup the other day and i was surprised that i liked it. the partner was TOTALLY disgusted seeing me pile the ketchup on.

    btw, it tastes better with banana ketchup rather than tomato.


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