Palatable Paradise: Davao embraces local flavours

Food speaks of an infinite language that only the palate understands. It speaks of life – the very reason that fuels one to go forth and eat. And in the city, food has a distinctive category that, when spoken, merits of a particular high that elevates every dining moment.

Over the years, Davao has become a mecca of gustatory dining places and yes, foodies that are constantly seeking for a new palate adventure. Be it inside a classy restaurant or a hip-for-all-ages bistro to the more dramatic insides of a cafe, Davao has seen the rise (and fall) of these places. Add to that, the emergence of franchises that has kept the city excited.

Despite the influx, many still remain skeptic. Yes, we are adventurous but — there always seems to be a but. At the end of the day, we still crave for traditional flavour pairings; we still crave for that certain taste of comfort. A certain taste of home.

Tapa King is a good example. Since opening in 2015 (Davao), Tapa King has slowly invaded the malls and has since been serving a broader market. At present, Tapa King has 4 branches in the city. Two of which are located inside malls. 

Continually advancing its presence in Mindanao, the fast food chain has recurrently introduced palate engaging dishes on their menu.

Basically, TK serves breakfast meals and pinoy favourites. However, as it evolved into becoming a formidable player in the dining scene, TK has since introduced the Filipino palate to a pletora of flavour pairings that are very reminiscent of childhood and Filipino culture. 

Adding to that, Presidential son, Baste Duterte, endorsing them for their “authentic, no pretenses, what you see is what you get” approach to food – something that every Dabawenyo can very well relate to.

Speaking of franchise and local flavours, Davao’s very own Out of Nowhere Kitchen is also a forerunner when it comes to expansion. Like Tapa King, the restaurant has opened their doors, not only in the metropolis, but nearby cities and soon inside a mall.

Although very modern, their in-your-face approach to food has truly made an impact to anyone who craves for a plate of robust dish anytime of any day. Again, like TK, OON is not afraid to experiment — thus having a more extensive menu that excite diners. And yes, OON’s repertoire  of flavours cores upon what Dabawenyo wants.

Of which, Asian Cow is another example of a  revolutionary dining place – it’s not afraid to introduce pairings that may either hit or miss Davao’s palate. Their menu is extensively Asian and re-introduces naked flavours without altering the way we look at food. Since opening, many has raved of how their food transports you onto the streets of Asia in every bite.

As with evolution, Davao has opened its doors to a plethora of hole in the wall places and yes, coffee shops. But one thing is certain, Dabawenyo’s love for local brews prevail over the mainstream. Purge Roasters, over at Tulip drive, is a definite example. They have a selection of locally grown and produced coffee beans that will elevate your coffee experience. Just like Mugshots Wine and Cafe, their love for coffee has spilled over the palates of their consumers.

For Dabawenyos, naked flavours also mean opening their life to the public. In other words, sharing traditional recipes that molded their palates for everyone to enjoy. Take Cafe Julieta for instance. Though the restaurant reeks of the modern complexities of the world, their menu is downright classic and very Pinoy. Same goes with El Savores wherein their menu cores upon re-introducing regional palates to anyone who craves. Not to mention, the newly renovated Antonio’s Bar & Grill – their interiors might have changed but their menu remains the same. Giving us more and more reason to eat.

Over the past year, many new and exciting  restaurants have awakened the palate of the metropolis. 

Nord’s Bread Hub is a recent addition that let’s you enjoy the classic with a twist. 

Union Market Ph is one bundle of exciting flavours that’s familiarly unfamiliar — in a delicious good way. 

Haya’s at Tulip drive has one of the most exciting menu in the city. Theirs is a combination of Asian and regional Muslim delicacies that are slowly becoming a favourite. 

Minkah’s Kitchen serves a plethora of organically grown produce that are not only delish but more so, healthy. 

Craving for authentic Indian dishes? 5s Indian Restaurant specialises in Nothern Indian cuisine that are robust and subtle at the same time. 

Sweet tooth? Maxi Mango may not have a proper sitdown restaurant but it’s stall never gets a small cue on any day. 

Mr. Kimbop also made a splash in the city’s ever growing repertoire of flavours. Now, anyone who wants a pipping hot Korean dish in an instant need not have to wait long. 

Wata fusion restaurant is another dining place that’s slowly growing its local fanbase. Who could ever say not to local flares with a twist? Definitely no one. 

Speaking of international flavours, Lugang finally landed in the metropolis. Xiao Long Ba spree!! 

So, what’s your dining choice in the city?