There is no stopping Davao City from blossoming into a food tourism destination.
Native food in Davao means dishes prepared and cooked with local fresh produce found in the city.
With the abundance of natural resources that’s the source of its culinary wonders, Davao is indeed blessed. Tuna and seafood from the sea, fruits and vegetables from the highlands and poultry and meat from farms.
Over the years, the city’s food scene has exceeded beyond the picture-perfect dining set-up in restaurants and into malls and streets in this city that boasts of the distinction as the second safest city in Southeast Asia.
From every nook and corner, you’d be treated to a dining place that highlights the many delish dishes that are truly tatak Davao.
The advocacy to #supportlocal and become a #lokalista has taken a big step in promoting homegrown restaurants and products of the city. Like any other places in the world, Davao is steering the wheel towards the appreciation, promotion and support of everything local.
Today, supporting local is the new sosyal.
From locals to tourists, there is no escaping the city’s culinary scene.
Though fusion dishes has since become a staple in menu’s, native dishes are still prominent in terms of that home-cooked panlasa that we always look for. And with the help of social media, nothing can escape our senses.
TUNA is una!
If there is a must-eat when in Davao, it must be tuna. Davao has a number of delectably appetising tuna dishes that will make you love Davao even more.
Marina Tuna (Sasa branch, SM Lanang Premier, Ecoland) prepares its tuna ten ways. Created by restaurateur Domingo Ang, the menu consists of 10 different tuna dishes using 10 different parts of the tuna: tuna bagaybay, tuna belly, tuna kinilaw, tuna sashimi, tuna kare-kare, tuna panga, tuna tendon, crispy tuna tail, tuna eye soup, and tuna bihod.
Aside from Marina Tuna, Davao is also home to Yellow Fin Seafood Restaurant (Torres, Ecoland)with its coconut milk laden tuna laing and adobong tuna buntot. Another restaurant that will make you love Davao is Ellen’s Tuna Queen (Ma-a) with its paksiw na buntot ng tuna and pakfry (fried paksiw hence the name).
Come to the streets and Dod’s Ihaw Ihaw & Seafoods Grill (Roxas avenue) will take you on a street side culinary adventure. Its meatiest best seller is a piece of fresh off the grill tuna jowls.
Sinuglaw is a marriage between grilled pork belly and kinilaw (ceviche).
This textured dish is quite popular in the Davao food scene. Even high-end restaurants are serving this irresistibly textured dish that’s very reminiscent of moments and memories on the dining table.
Boiling Crabs and Shrimps (Bajada, SM Ecoland) whips up a mean version of sinuglaw with slices of green apples. Lito’s Grill (Tulip drive, Ecoland) serves a classic sinuglaw while Penong’s Barbeque Seafoods and Grill likes to tease the palate with a kick of acid on their plate of sinuglaw.
Of the many establishments in the city, Drivers Choice (Roxas) seems to be slaying the sinuglaw game in the city. Theirs is very aromatic and has that right balance of acidity.
NATIVE CHICKEN for the win.
Native chicken is abundant in the city. As such, many restaurants specialise in serving a plethora of native chicken dishes that’s very Davao.
On top of the list is Conching’s Native Chicken (Araullo-Mabini Street). Every piece of grilled native chicken is guaranteed juicy and nakakatakam. Despite the boom of homegrown restaurants opening branches inside malls, Conching’s remain in their turf to the delight of patrons who cannot get enough of their signature grilled native chicken. On the other hand, Ella Eting Native Chicken and Seafoods Grill (Ecoland) has one of the best tasting tinolang native chicken in the city. A bowl of its refreshing clear soup is guaranteed to break you some sweats.
See food, Seafood.
With a vast ocean as its backdrop, Davao is also home to an oceanwide variety of seafood dishes. Penong’s Barbeque Seafoods and Grill has a most delectable seafood pinakbet that’s fresh and satisfying. The crunch from the vegetables and delicate taste of seafood pieces is enough to make you clap twice. Cafe Tavera (Tavera street), on the other hand, allows you to choose from a fresh seafood spread for them to cook. Like Grand Regal Hotel and Casino (Buhangin).
Oysters, anyone? Beso (Juna subd.) offers a delicate sizzling oyster dish that’s bursting with flavour combinations. Glamour Crabs Buffet (Padre Gomez) serves homey crab and shrimp dishes – and it’s a buffet.
Dare to be Durian!
Davao is durian and durian is Davao. When one visits Davao, durian is always on the itinerary. And as such, Davao is abundant with anything durian.
Lachi’s is famous for their sans rival and a durian sans rival is just the right addition to their ever sweet menu. In addition to the sans rival, Lachi’s also has a creamy durian cheesecake that pairs well with a cup of coffee.
Speaking of pastries, NCCC bread factory offers mini durian pie that’s sweet but not entirely nakaka-umay. Casa Leticia’s Sagay Ilonggo Restaurant also offers durian pie that’s perfect for any day munching. Flan, anyone? The Durian leche flan at the Taklobo Restaurant (Jack’s Ridge Resort) is also a delightful addition to the city’s growing durian recipes.
Durian ice cream is also a big thing for locals and tourists. Many food establishments offer durian ice cream all year round — Lola Abon’s, Ice Giants Desserts & Snacks, Crocodile Park, Giardino Gelato (Durian gelato) and Belito’s Vineyard.
Pomelo (pummelo) is another regular fruit in the Davao food scene. Aside from it being a palate cleanser, the pomelo has come a long way in terms of culinary evolution. Most often used as an experimental flavour (taste), the pomelo has that distinctively bland acid flavour that works well with cold drinks – the pomelo shake, for instance.
Despite the limited dishes with pomelo, Out of Nowhere Kitchen (Juna Subd., Torres, SM Lanang Premier) added a pomelo dish on their menu that even the tourists are craving for. Their Thai pomelo salad is a combination of flavours that’s very close to Davao. Also, Beso (Juna) has an eclectic pomelo salad of fused Pinoy flavours and ingredients.
If these are not reasons enough to go gaga over Davao food, what could be more inviting?