Sinabalu is a local specialty famous in Cagayan Valley especially in Piat and neighboring towns of Tuao and Rizal. Sinabalu is a staple of local cuisine; it’s made by roasting glutinous rice flavored with salt and coconut milk in a bamboo tube over a low fire while wrapped in banana leaves.The subtle flavor is wonderful and pairs perfectly with brewed coffee, hot chocolate, or tea. I’m confident that you’ll enjoy it because it has no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. When cooked over real wood charcoal, the aroma and flavor are at their peak.
Cagayan residents have spent generations perfecting their distinct regional cuisines and delicacies. Sinabalu and other local specialties like Pawa, Puto, and Patupat (all dekats fairly beginning with letter P), to name a few, are essential components of each Christmas, wake, fiesta, wedding, or other special holiday celebration. I’ve loved it ever since I was a kid, and not just for breakfast or midday snacks. Because I live in the city and don’t get to eat the same favorites all the time, I always look forward to my brother and his wife’s monthly visits, because they always bring some local specialties from Piat. A relaxing way to spend time with friends is over a cup of freshly brewed coffee and some Sinabalu slices.
The good quality you can buy it fresh in Piat Public Market first hour in the morning and food stall vendors near “Basilica Minore de Nuestra Senora de Piat Church” You can find the best Sinabalu in a reputable source from Barangay Accusilian, according to my relatives from Tuao, a 2nd class Municipality in the Province of Cagayan.
Both the traditional White Sinabalu and the more recent Brown Sinabalu are available, with the latter offering additional health benefits, particularly for diabetics, thanks to the use of brown glutinous rice in the cooking process. It has a very short shelf life and can only be frozen for 2 days before rapidly losing quality.
Visit my birthplace Piat Cagayan to taste all local specialties. I’m sure you’ll love it!