Mindanao is one of the food basket regions in the country. It’s bountiful harvest includes farm products and sea products. The harvest is not only bountiful but also affordable. Visitors are in awe how they can buy so much food at lower rates. People who visit the island always include food as one of their pasalubongs.
Because of this bounty, Mindanao has lots of delicacies and food to choose from. Every place has its own unique flavor. Each place has something to offer that they can call as their authentic food offering. The variety of food one can encounter during their travels in the island is astonishing. Thus, no wonder plenty of visitors has their favorite place to go because of the food that it offers.
Personally, I can name three places which is memorable to me because of the food I tasted there. I can never forget Isabela, Basilan. Going there from Zamboanga City is never fun. But once you set foot in Isabela, go directly to Queen Bee Restaurant which is near the sea port. And you can forget your discomfort from travelling.
The place has the best tasting siopao I ever eaten in my life, so far. I never forget that very soft dough which sticks at the roof of your mouth. The ingredients includes one whole boiled egg, one medium size meatball, and lots of grounded peppercorn, and minced cilantro. The aroma is words beyond description. I often eat three servings of that siopao and bring additional three pieces to Zamboanga City for my dinner.
I never expected that Ozamiz City has the best Sotanghon soup I ever tasted. It was by accident that I discovered Chicken Ati-Atihan near the bus terminal. I was so hungry when I arrived in Ozamiz from Dipolog City. It was past two in the afternoon and hunger pangs was torturing my stomach. It was the waiter who recommended the food when I ask him what is best to eat if you have delayed your lunch.
True to it, the soup was very delicious, it has lots of shredded chicken. Right amount of noodles and vegetables. What amazes my sense of taste is that it has a certain flavor which I thought came from unsold chicken barbecue and in order not to be staled is they recycle it for Sotanghon soup. I was wrong, the waiter told that it was actually the chicken fat that made the taste different. Its like a nilagpang where the chicken are roasted before it is made into soup. But, the chicken was not roasted. I wonder how did they processed the chicken fat to make that very delicious Sotanghon soup.
My knowledge with cake for a time was limited to chiffon and other ordinary cakes. It was in 1988, that my exposure with cakes was increased. A salesman introduced me to Myrna’s Bake House. He boasted that the place has the best tasting cake in the whole country. As a matter of fact, the owner is an award winning cake baker. One of her creations, won second placed in Maya Cookfest way back in the early eighties. It was a Black Forest Cake.
The cake was really black, frosted with the gooiest chocolate syrup I tasted. Inside the cake, is generous layer of peach halves. The cake was topped with dozens of cherries. It was my first time to eat a black forest cake, thus I could not make a comparison how different it was. But, I fell in love with that cake. Every Sunday, I frequent that place to indulge in that cake. It was in 1991, when I left Zamboanga and travelled the other places of Mindanao that I realized that Myrna’s Black Forest was one of a kind.
Every travels, I see to it that I have to eat those favorite foods of mine. I long to be back in Basilan though. It has been a very long time since I eat the siopao of Queen Bee and I really miss it. Meantime, there is still the black forest and the chicken sotanghon to delight my senses