|Cotabato City's Tasty Specialty|
I asked a friend from Cotabato City what are must-try local native dishes or delicacies in Cotabato City and he said "Beef Sinina" matched with "Don't ever leave Cotabato without tasting it!"
So, with that in mind, I went to some local restaurants, including some carinderia, within area but I can't seem to find the dish. It is either, Beef Sinina is not on their menu or they don't know the dish or simply they don't make one. A couple of staff I asked even said that Beef Sinina used to be a staple food at home but there is low demand for it from locals and even tourists so most eateries struck them out of their menu list. They said the easiest way to find this food is to be invited at Cotobato's home and ask your hosts to prepare them for you.
However, I backpacked solo on this trip and I am without a host, so letting go of finding Beef Sinina is not far from my mind. But, on my last day in Cotabato City, I chanced upon Aling Precy's restaurant, a turo-turo style eatery, which serves Beef Sinina. Just imagine my relief because after almost three days of wandering around Cotabato City, I would finally taste this dish. Sinina is a traditional Muslim delicacy that is usually served during festivities or what locals normally call “Kanduli”. Traditionally, made from tenderized goat meat, the recipe found it's way to a "beef", thus "Beef Sinina". It is usually served without vegetables but because of enterprising cooks (specially mothers), vegetables such as carrots and potatoes were added to it.
Beef Sinana has its own distinct taste. While eating it, I can't help comparing it with beef caldereta (because of the coconut milk and potatoes) or to beef curry (because of the color and spiciness) or even to beef stew (because of sweetness and tenderness of meet). But none of these meals could match the burst of flavors, the combined spiciness, sweetness and fullness of its taste. My verdict? Rice pa more :)