ZAMBOANGA DEL SUR | Where to Eat in Zamboanga, a Food Trip Down South | Lakad Pilipinas

Where to Eat Zamboanga Food Trip

Zamboanga City came as a surprise in terms of food. Its history as a former stronghold of Spain in Mindanao has indeed taken root in its cuisine, with Spanish dishes going alongside more local flavors from the Zamboanga Peninsula, the neighboring Sulu archipelago, and even Malaysia. It also helps that the area is near the sea, with harvest coming in abundantly—the city isn’t dubbed as the Sardine Capital of the Philippines for no reason.

During our weeklong escapade in the city, in between Zamboanga’s tourist spots, the Zamboanga Hermosa Festival, and a jaunt to Once Islas, we tried various restaurants serving everything from traditional Filipino and Moro cuisines, to Hispanic dishes, and even unique and tasty street food that can only be found on this part of the country.

 

 

ALAVAR SEAFOOD RESTAURANT

  ADDRESS: 173 DON ALFARO ST., TETUAN, ZAMBOANGA CITY | CONTACT: +63 (62) 992-4533 | OPENING HOURS: 10:00AM - 10:00PM | FACEBOOK


Alavar Seafood Restaurant is one of the go to places, if not the go to place, for eating out in Zamboanga City. They have two branches, the main one at Alfaro Street in Tetuan, and a smaller stall at the Paseo del Mar. We ate at the former. The interiors are very Filipiniana—capiz windows and long shiny wooden tables paired with heavy chairs with rattan weavings.

Their specialty is curacha, a spanner crab—a cross between a lobster and crab. Here, they steam it before pouring copious amount of Alavar Sauce, a thick orangey signature sauce made from coconut milk mixed with all sorts of spices. Of course, you eat this with your bare hands, digging through every last bit of curacha meat and licking every last bit of the sauce from your hands. This goes well with their Alavar Seafood Platter, which is topped by imbao clams, hefty crab claws, and prawns—a complete meal in itself.

Alavar Zamboanga Food Trip

Alavar Zamboanga Food Trip Curacha

Alavar Zamboanga Food Trip Seafood Fried Rice

 

 

BAY TAL MAL RESTAURANT

  ADDRESS: MAYOR JALDON ST., CANELAR, ZAMBOANGA CITY | CONTACT: +63 (915) 016-0448 | OPENING HOURS: 10:00AM - 10:00PM | FACEBOOK


Going for something more local, we headed over to Bay Tal Mal Restaurant for dinner. The name, which translates to House of Wealth from Arabic, reflects on its interiors—almost everything is gilded in gold, including the teapot they use for cold drinking water.

We were served with a plethora of Moro cuisine including latal, a platter of Tausug dishes served mostly during special occasions. It includes small portions of piyassak (liver), beef kulma, beef and chicken kiyaliya, chicken pyanggang, calamares, utak utak (fish cake), cucumber with chili sambal paste, fried fish, and the main dish, tyulah itum. That last one is a beef soup cooked with burnt coconut paste. It does look like dinuguan, but it’s definitely not, as Bay Tal Mal is one of the legit halal-certified restaurants in the whole of Zamboanga City.

I really liked their chicken rice sambal, especially when I actually dipped the chicken on the sambal sauce. Their mee goreng—one of my favorite Malaysian dishes—seemed blah at first, until they told me to pour a dose of spicy vinegar. I devoured half the plate served for the group right after.

Bay Tal Mal Zamboanga Food Trip

Bay Tal Mal Zamboanga Food Trip Latal

Bay Tal Mal Zamboanga Food Trip Chicken Rice Sambal

 

 

HARLEY'S FOOD & CRAFT BEERS

  ADDRESS: YUBENCO FOOD COMPLEX, ZAMBONAGA CITY | CONTACT: +63 (917) 727-0406 | OPENING HOURS: | 3:00PM – 12:00AM | FACEBOOK


As if we’re not stuffed full yet, we decided on checking out the food scene at the Yubenco Food Complex. Actually, we’re not looking for chow, what we’re looking for is a drink! Again, it was a surprise to find a craft beer bar in Zamboanga City. Actually, Harley’s Food & Craft Beers serves halal dishes, but they do serve beer. Connect that.

The motorbike-themed restaurant currently has a total of nine craft beers, with more than a few utilizing local flavors like biosong lime and Arabica coffee from Bukidnon. Since we’re really not here to binge, we simply ordered a couple of their beer flights, each one consisting of four 500ml of craft beer, just so we can sample everything. Some of the notables were Harley’s El Chonngo Blanco and the Sultan Coffee Stout.

Alright, beer-tasting over, now gimme a Red Horse, lol.

Harley's Food Craft Beers Zamboanga Food Trip

Harley's Food Craft Beers Zamboanga Food Trip

Harley's Food Craft Beers Zamboanga Food Trip

 

 

ANDY'S SPECIAL SATTI

  ADDRESS: C. ATILANO ST., TETUAN, ZAMBOANGA CITY | OPENING HOURS: 6:00AM - 6:00PM


One of the staple breakfast in Zamboanga City is satti. It’s very similar to the South East Asian satay—a grilled skewer of chicken or beef that’s then lathered with peanut sauce. The main difference is that Zamboanga’s satti swims on the sauce, which is reddish and slightly spicy with a very subtle hint of peanuts, along with chopped portions of rice cooked on coconut leaves they call puso.

Andy’s is one of the three most popular satti houses in the city along with Jimmy’s Sati and Johnny’s Morning Sun Satti. And like them, these places are located on humble carinderia-like settings. Superb, cheap, and filling morning fare.

Andy's Special Satti Zamboanga Food Trip

Andy's Special Satti Zamboanga Food TripAndy's Special Satti Zamboanga Food Trip

Andy's Special Satti Zamboanga Food Trip Puso

 

 

HACIENDA DE PALMERAS HOTEL & RESTAURANT

  ADDRESS: PASONANCA RD., STA. MARIA, ZAMBOANGA CITY | CONTACT: +63 (62) 991-3284 | OPENING HOURS: 10:00AM - 10:00PM | FACEBOOK


Hacienda de Palmeras’ in-house restaurant is one of the most popular dining venues in Zamboanga City. With plaid tables set over a gazebo, Palmeras’ claim to fame is the Knickerbocker, their version of the Filipino halo-halo which fuses sliced sweet mangoes, bananas, and gelatin, then topped with scoops of ice cream. But since I’m really not a sweet-tooth-kinda-guy, I was more enamored with their lunch offerings, particularly their crispy noodles, cheesy baked imbao clams, sizzling gambas, and their heart-stopping version of crispy pata. Deliciously sinful!

Hacienda De Palmeras Zamboanga Food Trip Crispy Pata

Hacienda De Palmeras Zamboanga Food Trip Crispy Noodles

Hacienda De Palmeras Zamboanga Food Trip Gambas

 

 

BAR CODE

  ADDRESS: PASEO DEL MAR, VALDEROZA ST., ZAMBOANGA CITY | CONTACT: +63 (926) 353-6349 | OPEN HOURS: 10:00AM - 10:00PM | FACEBOOK


Situated right at the center of happenings in Zamboanga City, Bar Code is a popular hangout for those wanting a few bottles of beer while chowing down traditional Filipino comfort food on sizzling plates while listening to a live band. We got to try out a few of their favorites—chopseuy guisado, buttered chicken, and pancit seafood, to name a few. Among these, their sizzling chicken pianggang definitely stood out for me.

Bar Code Zamboanga Food Trip

Bar Code Zamboanga Food Trip

Bar Code Zamboanga Food Trip Sizzling Chicken Pianggang

 

 

DENNIS COFFEE GARDEN

  ADDRESS: SAN JOSE RD., BALIWASAN, ZAMBOANGA CITY | CONTACT: +63 (995) 820-6642 | OPENING HOURS: 9:00AM - 11:00PM | FACEBOOK


Dennis Coffee Garden is one of the best restaurants I’ve tried in Zamboanga City. The restaurant originated from Sulu and has been serving Tausug dishes since 1962. Spell legit!

Literally housed inside a house—a former residential home, that is—I sampled some of the best Moro Cuisine I’ve had in Zamboanga City here. From their snacks and entrees like panggi-panggi (deep-fried bread similar to a donut), jualan saing (fried bananas), and pastil (empanada dipped in hot vinegar), to their main fares like the chicken pianggang, kulma (beef in curry paste), tiula itum, utak utak (fried fish cake)—everything was done extremely well.

Dennis Coffee Garden Zamboanga Food Trip

Dennis Coffee Garden Zamboanga Food Trip Chicken Pianggang

Dennis Coffee Garden Zamboanga Food Trip Panggi Panggi

 

 

COUNTRY CHICKEN RESTAURANT

  ADDRESS: KM4 PASONANCA RD., ZAMBOANGA CITY | CONTACT: +63 (62) 991-1852 | OPENING HOURS: 11:00AM - 10:00PM | FACEBOOK


Having been around since the seventies, Country Chicken is one of the oldest restaurants in Zamboanga City. Besides chicken, they serve Filipino and Spanish dishes, with them specializing more on the latter. Under the rustic and cozy atmosphere of their interiors, we devoured their seafood paella, crispy pata, beef callos, and, of course, their fried chicken, with gusto. More than the chicken though, their callos won over everyone’s heart.

Country Chicken Restaurant Zamboanga Food Trip

Country Chicken Restaurant Zamboanga Food Trip Seafood Paella

Country Chicken Restaurant Zamboanga Food Trip

 

 

VISTA DEL MAR RESTAURANT

  ADDRESS: LABUAN-LAMPARA RD., ZAMBOANGA CITY | CONTACT: +63 (62) 991-1208 | OPENING HOURS: 8:00AM - 5:00PM | FACEBOOK


Vista Del Mar Restaurant was our last stop for our Zamboanga food trip. Vista del Mar is actually a sprawling nature-inspired resort [CHECK DISCOUNTED RATES] and a popular picnic place for locals. Their restaurant is set on a huge open-aired two-storey hut right by the sea.

A long table was set on the second floor filled with platefuls of crisply fried shrimps, baked imbao clams, grilled squid, and their house specialties—ensalada de chamba (salad with eggplants and tomatoes, garnished with red onions and topped with sliced salted eggs), crispy dinuguan (blood pudding topped with pork lechon kawali), and last, but not the least, their steamed curacha which comes with its own delectable sauce that can rival those at Alavar. And they have a special way of getting to its meat too by pressing a plate down on the poor o crack it open.

It was one of the best seafood meals we’ve had in Zamboanga City, and needless to say, I was gutbustingly full after the course. I think I overindulged on their dinuguan and crispy shrimps!

Vista Del Mar Restaurant Zamboanga Food Trip

Vista Del Mar Restaurant Zamboanga Food Trip Ensalada de Chamba

Vista Del Mar Restaurant Zamboanga Food Trip Baked Imbao

Vista Del Mar Restaurant Zamboanga Food Trip Curacha

 

 

Zamboanga City Location Map






Posted by Christian Sangoyo on Tuesday, November 6, 2018

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