By Erwin M. Mascariñas
Every time I visit Surigao City, friends would always ask me to bring back from my trip a delicacy uniquely found in the city. And what better delicacy or treat would it be than the sweet delight known to locals as Sayongsong.
Surigao City, best known as the destination for island hopping adventure and the gateway to countless more destinations, also features a native delight that’s been around longer than any of the locals could remember which adheres to the traditional recipe and cooking.
With a uniquely odd name, Sayongsong can be best describe as a light ube or lavender colored soft textured treat, wrapped in a cone shaped banana leaf. It is made of grounded sticky rice or commonly known as malagkit, mixed with additional ground rice and cooked with coconut milk and sugar.
The first thing that came into my mind when I saw this delicacy while on display and stacked one on top of another was – I was looking as a frozen delight. With its cone shape, one would immediately associate it with ice cream, but for me it tasted way better.
With almost the very same ingredient as Bohol’s sweet delicacy, the “Calamay,” one would assume they would have the very same taste and texture. But the Sayongsong was different; it had a soft and not so sticky texture and a mild sweetness that’s pleasant to the palate.
For a more pleasant palate experience, it would be best to consume it while it is still fresh and hot off the cauldron. It has a short shelf life of 24 hours but putting it into a cold container or refrigerating it would add another day or two to its lifespan.
According to the families that cooks and sells the delicacy in Barangay Ipil near a crossroad leading to the beach, they tried to stay with the original recipe, the very same way it was mixed and cooked 60 years ago.
But the delight has evolved in other towns in Surigao del Norte – it is mixed with peanuts and brown sugar.
Sayongsong is sold for only 7 pesos each, a cheap price for something that would amaze your palate.