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The Coconut Cuisines of Muslim Mindanao

My earliest recollection of eating dishes from Muslim Mindanao was in the early 1980's when I usually tag-along as my father made his weekly trip to Binondo and Quiapo, and that was really a long, long time ago. So I was all excited and signed-up when I learned that the Culinary Historians of the Philippines (CHOP) is hosting a special luncheon highlighting the Coconut Cuisines of Muslim Mindanao.



Before the food tasting, we were treated to a kulintang music performance. The music from the kulintang is both melodious and meditative. A perfect way to begin our exciting lunch of Muslim Mindanao cuisine.


Datu Shariff Pendatun III curated the food tasting event and explained how coconut plays an important part in Muslim Mindanao cuisine, but also added that its use differs in different regions of Mindanao.


Inaluban A Haruan is a Maranao dish of snakehead fish in coconut milk and sweet potato leaves. This is similar to the usual ginataan na isda except that it has an infusion of herbs and chilies not usually used in Northern Philippines.


Urang Piyaren, another dish that hails from Maranao. This is crawfish with coconut meat sauteed in turmeric and chilis. This is my favorite dish from the food tasting- large succulent crawfish with a generous topping of "palapa." Palapa is roasted coconut with chilis.


Lininggil A Kambing is chevron with roasted coconut and is a beloved dish from Maguindanaon. Another favorite! Tender goat meat slow-cooked in roasted coconut. Surprising, it is mildly spiced.


Agal-agal is a Tausug dish of agar-agar seaweed prepared with green mango and roasted coconut and paired with Piyanggang, chicken cooked in burnt coconut. The agar-agar is chewy and loaded with chilis and spices and really pairs well with the piyanggang.


For dessert, we had Sangkerat, saba plantains in coconut creme which is a favorite in Maguindanao.


The Coconut Cuisines of Muslim Mindanao is organized by the Culinary Historians of the Philippines (CHOP).


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