Perk up your mornings with a semi-spicy Satti meal

Perk up your mornings with a semi-spicy Satti meal

Pardon the title pun there. Just have to use it on this entry, hehe. Being close to our neighboring country in Sabah, Malaysia, you could find certain similarities in terms of design, culture and especially food in Zamboanga City. One such similar dish I found here is their famous Satti which is very similar to the Malaysian Satay.

An expesnive satti at Morning Sun, Php4.50 a stick

An expesnive satti at Morning Sun, Php4.50 a stick

Satti is actually a breakfast meal to the locals of Zamboanga. Satti shops open up as early as 4am and by mid day it would be rare to find a meal by then. Major difference I saw from its Malaysian counterpart is the servince per stick. While the Satay is similar to our regular BBQ, Satti has only 3 small strips of roasted meats on a stick. The meat can be any from beef, pork, liver or chicken. Why the tiny serving? I’m not really sure, but when you couple it with the sticky rice, served floating on a thick semi-sweet and spicy sauce, it seems a bit size is enough to add flavor to the sticky rice.

A cheaper satti house

A cheaper satti house (taken with SE K800i)

There are several Satti shops in town and most famous are those along Pilar street. One shop we heard was the most popular was the Morning Sun Satti. And I must say I won’t recommend this shop despite its popularity. For one thing it’s expensive. They sell a sticks for Php 4.50 whilst the first side street carinderia we ate Satti at sell a bowl of 8 sticks for only Php 20. And their satti taste much better. Their chicken satti isn’t much to rave about either and it seems saturated with food color. What I only like about that shop is their sticky rice which is much flavorful than the rest and their liver satti. But value for money? It’s not that good.

Street side Tempura

Street side Tempura

If suddenly, walking around the streets of Zamboanga, a sudden hunger pang strikes, there are numerous Tempura stalls in some corners to relieve those food cravings. They are more popular here than fishballs and for only Php 3.00 you get a stick, with the tempura looking like a larger version of a kikiam.

Curacha, the water cockrach meal

Curacha, the water cockrach meal

If you are looking for an authentic Zamboanga cuisine, head over to Alavar’s and order their famous Curacha. No, not the Babaeng Walang Pahinga by Rosana Roces. Curacha is a local Chavacano name given to this sea crab species also known as a sea cockroach. This species which seems to be a mix of a giant crab and a lobster can only be found here at the waters of Zamboanga and not anywhere else in the world. A serving of curacha is around Php 700 and is good for 2-3 persons due to its sheer size. There are several ways to cook it but what we have which is topped with some garlic spices and some chili is really delicious. I noticed this species of crab has more meat on its body. Also while at that restaurant, try to get a bottle of their special bagoong. Another special of their that I really enjoyed. I should have bought a few bottles more when I went home.

Streetside barbeque

Streetside barbeque

Zamboanga City doesn’t have much in their night life department, but you could head down to their famous Boulevard where you could enjoy a scenic sunset and some barbecue dinner as well. It’s really cheap and delicious but you have to have to settle on the comforts of some monobloc chairs and concrete benches which is really just fine.

Hanging out at the boulevard

Hanging out at the boulevard

The Boulevard is their local version of Baywalk, but this one is curved like a cove facing the sea. No major restaurants or eateries as well aside from some BBQ carts, Balut Penoy and some Tempura vendors. Lots of locals seems to hang out here at night. It’s quite nice enjoying the air here and the food as well.

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Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.

37 Responses to “Zamboanga: Satti in the city and more”

  1. I am ogling at the Satti and true enough, it reminds me of Satay over here in Malaysia. I guess Satti can only be found in Zamboanga … And not Manila, di ba?

    Anyway, this post is making me hungry!

  2. You should have been in Boulevard on twilight and watch the sun set to the horizon, you’d see the orange sun dipping perfectly into the sea, like the sea had gobbled it, and when the weather is fine, you’d see how the sun could ultoimately and perfectlt spheric, since the setting sun won’t be too harsh on the naked eye, and you’d see it’s wondrous shape like no other.

    I believe Boulevard is one place who one can see the best sunset of all time, among other places of course.

  3. the other night while drunk with my friends at my house, we were all laying down with all the lights turned off. all of us were filipino and most of us haven’t gone back to the homeland for a long time and we juss started talking about ‘ihaw-ihaw’. i missedphilippines even more. =(

    but that thing with 3 pieces of meat is 4.50? no wayy! but it must be really good for it to be that expensive.

  4. Oh yeah… the Malaysian restaurant here also seves breakfast much like that satti. I find it weird because it seems that it’s more appropriate for lunch.

    Besides sites and landscapes, you’re really also a good food photragrapher Ferdz.

  5. If you happen to visit Zamboanga City you must try to eat satti in Jimmy’s Satti located in Pilar st. just beside Morning Sun which also offers satti but not as good as Jimmy’s Satti…I happen to be from z.c and i’ve started eating satti when i was in my 1st grade which my dad always bring me to have breakfast there..and i can say that till now everytime i go home to z.c from airport i ask my dad to pass by Jimmy’s to eat satti…it’s a 10 as always..must try… 😉

  6. Going though those pictures kames me wanna come home soon. Satti, BBQ, Balut, seafoods (especially grilled “pugot”), pizza shop along pilar street (sorry i forgot the name) they serve tasty aroz caldo and ofcourse pizza, tiyula itum, piyutu, sianglag, sambal, pastil (for tausog). hmmm whatever it is zambaonag city is the best!

    I hope to visit zamboanga next year. 🙂

  7. My goodness! I miss satti so much! Jimmy’s Satti is the best. I can’t wait to go home this month! I’ll eat satti every day for the whole week I’m there!! Then I’ll bring some here in Cebu to eat the next day.


    Jimmy’s or Morning Sun…. They are of the same origin and concoction…. from Jolo….
    Be it as it may…. it is still a must have when you drop by Asia’s Latin City, Mi Ciudad de Zamboanga.
    Sabroso lang siempre el di aton maga comida.

  9. atty. james

    got curious about satti…my friend zulaikha mentioned something about satti being a delicious zamboangeno dish…so, i researched about it and stumbled on your webby…

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