Cucina Higala – Cagayan de Oro’s Modern Filipino and Heritage Cuisine Restaurant

by Mary Lou Cunanan

Cucina Higala | Contributed Photo

Mindanao Travelogue Series – Part IV

After our first day of adventure in Mindanao, we went to Cucina Higala, which means “friend” or kaibigan in Kagay-anon for dinner. This restaurant focuses on Heritage Mindanao Cuisine and wow, this restaurant absolutely blew my mind!

I did not realize I know very little about Mindanao Cuisine until I got here.

Cucina Higala highlights and supports local products, producers, and suppliers which benefits local Mindanao entrepreneurs. Produce are sourced from local farmers and artworks have a safe space within the restaurant for customers to admire and enjoy.

For drinks, we had what we call Love Potion that turns blue to purple when induced with an acid such as lemon or lime, all because of the blue tarnate flower extract which is known for health benefits.

We had the famous Beef Rendang Wagyu (just melts in your mouth experience!) from Lanao Del Norte and their equally famous Sinuglaw which is a combination of ceviche and roasted pork. We had the salad with some type of Bagoong for a dressing which totally works! We also had Chicken Surol and fried Lumpia which are also super delicious.

A specialty of the house – Marawi inspired melt your mouth Beef Wagyu Rendang | Photo by May Lou Cunanan
Sinuglaw – White Fish Ceviche grilled seasoned pork | Photo by Mary Lou Cunanan
Fresh salad with quail eggs and shrimp paste vinaigrette | Photo by Mary Lou Cunanan
Surol – Camiguin Chicken Stew with coconut milk | Photo by Mary Lou Cunanan
Fried spring rolls | Photo by Mary Lou Cunanan

For dessert, we had Sizzling Binaki (which is an instant favorite!) with caramel sauce. It is a sweet steamed corn tamale topped with oh-so-yummy ice cream and decadent caramel sauce.

A definite favorite! Sizzling Binaki with Caramel sauce | Photo by Mary Lou Cunanan

Cucina Higala received an award from Tripadvisor as the best restaurant in Cagayan De Oro and deservingly so.

A passionate group of travelers, writers, influencers, and government officials working together to promote Philippine Tourism to the world! | Photo by Mary Lou Cunanan

Now I realize I do not know any Mindanao restaurants within the Metro and would like to try new Mindanao dishes again.

Mary Lou Cunanan is a regular Lifestyle columnist of the Philippine Daily Mirror. She is a writer, world traveler, and a Filipina who is very proud of her identity, whose life mission is always searching for covering stories of amazing Filipinos, events, organizations, and businesses globally to celebrate and champion what makes Filipinos amazing wherever they may be.

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