--is the second largest and easternmost island in the Philippines. It is also the name of one of the three island groups in the country, which consists of the island of Mindanao and smaller surrounding islands. The other two are Luzon and the Visayas. The island of Mindanao is called The Land of Promise. Mindanao is the only area of the Philippines with a significant Muslim presence. Davao City is the de facto capital of Mindanao.
Uniquely Filipino, these are sweet munchies or sometimes desserts made from rice, sweet rice or root vegetables that are slow cooked and usually made with coconut or coconut milk.
Here are some of the native delicacies in Mindanao:
Puto – these are rice cakes that are made from rice flour, evaporated milk (or coconut milk) and sugar (among others). They come in various colors (see picture). They can even come in bite-sizes or they can just fill up a whole plate. Puto is best served with hot chocolate or dinuguan (as a replacement for rice). It is best eaten freshly baked and right out of the steamer.
Kutsinta – A brown rice cake, the kutsinta can go hand-in-hand with puto or they can be eaten all on their own (with freshly shaved coconut). They are also made from rice flour.
Bibingka – Another rice cake, this time made from malagkit rice (glutinous rice), coconut milk and brown sugar. Some variations of this will include bibingkang galapong (made from rice flour, coconut milk, baking powder and margarine), bibingka cassava (made from cassava, coconut milk and cream and margarine) and pineapple cassava bibingka.
Suman – Another steamed rice cake, this time, wrapped mummy-like in leaves before they are cooked. This can be served with sugar, grated coconut or “latik” – milk solids from coconut that are formed when fresh coconut milk is boiled.
Palitaw – Made also from glutinous rice and sugar, these are also cooked with sesame seeds and topped with grated coconut. They’re very soft and easy to chew and are best served cold.
Sapin-Sapin (“layers”)– A native colorful layered dessert, made from coconut milk, corn kernels, sugar, gelatin, whipped cream, ube (yam) powder and grated coconut.
Pastillas de leche (milk candies) – this is a milk-based pastry that comes in bite-sized pieces (great for snacking while you’re traveling). It is literally made for those with a sweet-tooth because it is made from granulated white sugar and condensed milk. When cooked, it is formed into balls or logs and wrapped with cellophane paper.