Food for Thought

April 7, 2018
Around The Philippines In 12 Plates

Region IV (Romblon): Sarsa


Image from


Not everything wrapped in banana or coconut leaves is a sweet treat like suman, but you can bet it is delicious. There’s just something about the smoky aroma that the leaf imparts, adding another depth of flavor to anything cooked in it – especially in the beautiful marriage of seafood and creamy coconut.

That gift of flavor is exactly what the people from Romblon want to offer your foodie experience with their Sarsa. The region is rich with marine resources so proteins from the sea are much more popular to use in their cuisine. And since coconut is pretty much abundant all over, they waste nothing and worked their magic with this dish – what’s a better combo than seafood and coconut?

The spicy-savory punch of this parcel comes from local river shrimp called ulang and grated coconut that’s ground to a fine paste with chilies and other aromatics. The mixture is then meticulously wrapped like a present in coconut leaves and cooked in coconut milk to deepen the flavor. It’s not unusual to find these sold along the streets. Better buy them while they’re still hot and fresh, the best time to savor anything cooked in spicy gata. You could enjoy eating them on its own or the true pinoy way – with a heaping serving of hot rice.