By Gail Javier
ZAMBOANGA CITY, ZAMBOANGA DEL SUR – This popular local delicacy gives an interesting twist to the Malaysian satay. It is a favorite breakfast food among locals, who can sure use a whiff of spiciness to perk them up the rest of the day.
A visit is to this city isn’t complete without picking up a stick or two of satti, skewered small strips of beef or chicken that resemble the Malaysian satay - Malaysia, after all, is a close neighbor.
But instead of semi-sweet brown peanut sauce, the satti is served in a bowl of spicy reddish sauce mixed with sticky rice, which probably makes for a full meal by itself. The sliced sticky rice, cooked in puso or banana leaves, is conveniently sold in the streets in the Southern provinces.
With only three strips of meat per stick, blogger Ferdinand Decena (of Ironwulf.net) finds the satti somewhat shorter than the ordinary barbecue, although the size is just enough to give flavor to the sticky rice.
Ferdinand went for an early morning satti fix in Morning Sun Satti in Pilar Street, which is famous for its satti shops. However, at P4.50 per stick (compared to P20 for three sticks in other stalls), he says their satti expensive although he gives props to the flavorful sticky rice.
In an article for the Inquirer, Micky Fenix wrote about eating satti in Jimmy’s, also located along Pilar Street, which uses pamapa itum (a Tausug spice mix), grated coconut and camote starch to thicken its spicy sauce.
Writing for OnePhilippines, Linda Bansil says satti is perfect for testing one’s threshold for spice, especially first-time visitors in this city. The sauce, she says, can also be flavored with tomatoes and peanuts, similar to the Indonesian satay.
According to Mon Tan, a local who’s been in the satti restaurant business for 15 years, the satti was brought by a Tausug who brought with him from Malaysia a satay recipe. But instead of the tomato-peanut dipping sauce, he made it spicy and turned it into soup.
So there, the satti is an absolute must-try if you’re visiting Zamboanga City. Even Senator Mar Roxas, after a visit to the city, blogged about eating satti, simply describing it as “sarap”.
Eating satti for breakfast is probably worth a try, but how about kicking back after a long day of roaming around Zamboanga sharing a bowl of satti with friends along ice cold bottles of San Mig Light? Sounds like a plan.
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