The Kakaun Sug [Tausug Food]

Tausug is a name of a race of the people or ethnics  residing in the Sulu Archipelago. Though the term was considered as a merely ethnic of the people of Jolo, today many people are beginning to realize that the Tausug was the name which became the strongest strand of all ethnics under the umbrella of the Royal government of the Sultanate of Sulu Darul Islam.

Before illegally annexed to the Philippines, the Sultanate of Sulu had a successful government for more than 300 years. Now the Sultanate government had been reinstalled by the Tausug citizens last 17 November 2010. The long period hegemony of the Sultanate government had caused the Tausug cultures well preserved from one generation to the other. Only most of Tausug cultures still unexposed to the outside world – especially their food. The Tausug food is unique, hence it deserves to reach all people around the world. Enable that they can truly understand the Tausug race from another aspect of their lives - food. 

In the Tausug food we can find food which symbolizes unity of all ethnics regardless of their social status be it they a Buranun, Samal, Bangingi', Kalibugan, Yakan, Jama Mapun, Mulbug, and others. One staple food eats by everyone after rice any food made from cassava such as Piyutu, Siyanglag and Biyanban.  These foods are widely available anywhere in the Sultanate of Sulu territory or in places where the Tausug living. 

On this write up I would like to summarize few recipes of the Tausug which originated from the Island of Jolo. Such as the Tiyula’ Itum (black soup) Kinilaw, Siyagul, Piyalam, Piyassak, Kaliya, Piyanggang manuk, Suwan-suwan, Adubu manuk, Paksiyu, Tiyula ista’, Tiyula’ sina’, Siyanglag, Piyutu, Biyanban. And to name few of some sea foods such as Tihi’-Tihi’, Bat, Tayum, Sikad-sikad, Kahanga plus the fruit vegetables cook by the Tausug in their own way like the unripe Jackfruit, unripe Marang (variety of Jackfruit), Dabung (bamboo shoot) unripe banana, Pusu’ (banana heart) and many more. These few examples if to cook by the Tausug their taste would be different. Moreover, its originality will not lose.

Some Tausug foods like Tiyula’ Itum, Siyagul and others mostly added with chili pepper. As some locals say that “Without chili pepper the food has no taste”. Another spice which makes the tiyula’ itum and siyagul different from the other is the burned coconut or the “siyunug lahing”. The burned coconut will not only give strong aroma but it also becomes the color of tiyula’ itum soup. Tiyula’ itum is very important to the Tausug especially during special occasion. Tiyula itum will also serve as head of all viand. Without it at the center of a food tray, to some, it is incomplete. Tiyula’ itum is a food that symbolizes the Tausug pride most likely the ethnic Buranun. 

The most popular food besides tiyula’ itum is the Siyanglag, Piyutu and Biyanban. These foods originated from one source – the cassava. Before the Cassava becomes Siyanglag or Piyutu it has to pass through certain stages. Starts from to uproot the cassava in the garden down to peeling its skin, and when everything is clean the next step is to grate it. After grating the next step is to remove the juice from the pulverize cassava until it is completely dry. After all these steps prepare all things needed before cooking.

As a replace to rice most Tausug usually eats Siyanglag, Piyutu and Biyanban. It is a custom of Tausug to eat first Siyanglag, Piyutu and Biyanban before rice. Tausug could easily identify someone he is not originally from Sulu once he doesn't eat first any cassava food. The Tausug love to eat cassava food because it would last in stomach more than six hours compare to rice. The cassava foods are almost compatible with all viands especially the roasted fish mix with seafood.

Sulu archipelago is a home to a seafood. The most loved seafood of all Tausug especially the Samal are the Agal-agal, Gamay (variety of seaweeds) and some sea urchins like Tihi’-Tihi and Tayum. These sea foods will  be eaten fresh, except the Agal-agal have to pass few processes before it can be eaten. 

Being people living in the island surrounded by seas, the Tausug lavishly eats fishes. Everyday fish always present on the table. Whenever there is a rice and cassava food, the fish must be there. There is a type of cooking fish, I am not sure if this is originated from the Tausug, with the vinegar and some spices – we called it Liyawal or better known as Kinilaw. This type of raw food is best to eat with cassava and roasted fish in the seashore or during a picnic. Usually, the Tausug use to prefer this once a week. They believed liyalwal could not be eaten daily because of the acid present in the vinegar and lemon. To some, they eat this food for healthy purposes especially if one has low blood pressure.

 Besides these sea foods, the Tausug is also vegetarian. Aside from leafy vegetables the Tausug uses to cook unripe jackfruit, marang (variety of jackfruit), dabung (bamboo shoot), and unripe banana. These unripe fruits vegetables usually cook with coconut milk and dried fish and some spices. As this fruit vegetable cooked, we called it Giyataan. Giyataan means to cook with coconut milk. The guardian is delicious to eat at lunchtime. The presence of coconut milk, dried fish and turmeric in giyataan would unveil the secrets of unripe fruits like jackfruit, marang bamboo shoot and unripe banana.

Through these foods, we can see how the Tausug surviving despite of chaos and poverty they face for centuries. There is none Tausug who left their homeland without recalling these foods. How delicious the food in other countries would be, the Tausug food still number one of them because it's there where their identity as Tausug lies.

1 comment:

  1. Also Daral, Panyam, Pitis, wadjit ( Biko) Durul, Patulakan, Panganan, Pastil, sindul,hay nako na missed ko pag kain na yan wala dito sa manila