You cannot get the full picture of a city unless you get to try its local delicacies – like a book without a final chapter, every journey just remains incomplete and unsatisfying.

In the northeastern tip of the island of Mindanao, Surigao City is renowned for its stunning beaches and natural wonders – however, what always makes people feel closer to the place is its unique and diverse cuisine.

No visit to the province would be complete without indulging in some of the many delicacies that Surigao has to offer; it truly is a foodie’s dream!

What can we try in the wonderful city? Let us dig into this list of 5!

1. Sayongsong

Looks familiar? We Pinoys really love our rice cakes, with how it is made and what is in it varying throughout different regions.

In Surigao, Sayongsong is a dearly beloved delicacy. Brown sugar, coconut milk, and glutinous rice flour are used to make this particular variety of kakanin, or rice cake. Sayongsong stands out from other rice cakes with its distinctive texture and shape. 

Photo from Bluewater Maribago Beach Resort Facebook Page

The mixture is cooked in boiling water until it forms a compact, slightly chewy ball after being initially wrapped in a banana leaf cone. After being cooked, the Sayongsong is often served with white sugar and grated coconut for sweetness. 

The meal is a favorite among locals and is frequently offered for sale at markets and food stands around the region. Sayongsong is a delicacy that is a must-try for anybody visiting Surigao because of its mouthwatering flavor and unique appearance.

2. Dried Pijanga

Surigao is abundant in seafood because of it right by the sea, so it is no wonder that most of its local cuisine revolves around freshly catched fish and the like.

The Dried Pijanga is a prime example of this. A specialty dish associated with the Philippine province of Surigao is Dried Pijanga. 

Photo from Lazada

It is created with Pijanga fish meat that has been salted and dried in the sun until it has a leathery texture. It takes a lot of work to make Dried Pijanga, and it may take many days for the fish to completely dry. But the outcome is a tasty, protein-packed snack that can be eaten on its own or with rice or other foods.

It is a well-liked pasalubong, or gift, that tourists frequently bring back from Surigao. Local markets sell dried pijanga, which is frequently packaged in plastic bags or woven baskets.

3. Kinilaw

Ah, yes – another familiar dish makes it on the list. Kinilaw is cherished in a lot of provinces in the Philippines, but Surigao has its own twist!

Fresh, raw fish or seafood is marinated in vinegar, citrus juice, and spices like garlic, onion, and ginger to make Kinilaw. The acid in the marinade “cooks” the fish, making it soft and flavorful with a hint of tang.

Photo from KKD STK + BBQ Facebook Page

In Surigao, Kinilaw is frequently prepared using the region’s plentiful tuna. Other types of seafood, including shrimp, squid, and shellfish, can also be used to prepare the dish. Kinilaw is frequently served with rice or other side dishes as an appetizer or as a main course.

For vegetarians or for those trying to cut down on meat, “Kinilaw na Lato” is a popular variety of Kinilaw in Surigao. It is created using a particular kind of edible seaweed called “Lato,” which is combined with vinegar, lime juice, onion, and tomato to produce a light and tasty salad.

Kinilaw is a must-try meal for everyone traveling to the province of Surigao because of its fresh and zesty flavor. It is a delectable and nutritious way to take advantage of the sea’s richness and to taste the distinctive flavors of Filipino cuisine.

4. Gigaquit Rhum

To those who fancy getting a taste of regions by their liquor, Surigao is not short of it!

In the town of Gigaquit in the city, rum is brewed locally and is known as “Gigaquit Rhum.” It is a favorite among both locals and tourists due to its smooth and distinctive flavor profile that distinguishes it from other rum brands. 

Photo from Gigaquit Municipal Government Official Website

The high-quality sugarcane that is bountiful in the area is used in the making of Gigaquit Rhum. To improve the flavor and aroma, the sugarcane is first fermented, then distilled, and finally aged in oak barrels. The end product is a premium rum with notes of caramel, vanilla, and wood with a rich, nuanced flavor.

Gigaquit Rhum is a national favorite among rum aficionados and has gained recognition outside of the province. It has also been acknowledged in international competitions, where it has won numerous awards for both quality and flavor.

Travelers in Surigao are encouraged to try Gigaquit Rhum, a local delicacy that highlights the area’s extensive agricultural legacy and skill.

5. Poot-Poot Ginamos

Ginamos – another one you have been most likely to have a taste of already.

Surigao is no exception from the fish paste known as Ginamos. Poot-poot Ginamos can be found frequently throughout the city. 

Photo from Shopee

The sound that fish make as they are caught in nets is where the word “poot-poot” comes from. The practice of fermenting fish to create a paste or sauce is known as “ginamos” and is a popular way to preserve food in the Philippines.

Small fish like anchovies or sardines are used, and they are fermented with salt and seasonings like garlic and chili peppers. The mixture is given time to ferment for a few days to develop a salty, savory flavor that is loved by the local community.

With that being said, you can also find this in local markets and food stalls. 

The rich cultural legacy and richness of natural resources in Surigao are reflected in the city’s delectable flavors and culinary delights. 

There is something for everyone’s taste buds in Surigao – from the delectable Sayongsong to the distinctive Poot-poot Ginamos. 

Surigao is a food lover’s heaven that is worth seeing and experiencing because of its diversified culinary scene and friendly people. 

A culinary trip in Surigao promises to be a remarkable and delicious excursion that will leave you wanting more, whether you are a local or a tourist.

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