Some people love it, others hate it, but it’s a known fact that no Davao trip is complete without that classic IG story of you and your travel companions trying durian for the first time. But that’s not the only iconic delicacy this city’s rich and sumptuous food scene has to offer! Get out of your comfort zone and open yourself (and your stomach) up to a food adventure that will show you what it means to live a beautiful life in Davao. Here are some must-trys to start with:
Davao has a durian variation of almost any snack, drink, or dessert you can dream of (yes, durian coffee, durian cheesecake, durian ice cream, and durian candy are all real things!) Just pop by any shop or restaurant and they’re sure to have an assortment to please any durian enthusiast. If you find the pure flavor of durian fruit too intense, then this is the perfect solution for you. This time, you’ll be able to have your cake and eat it too!
You won’t just find the bounty of the “Fruit Basket of the Philippines” in the market, you can find it in their alcohol too! Beat the liquor ban with an early night at Huckeberry’s Southern Kitchen and Bar. Their legendary Huckleberry’s Infused Rum is made through an infusion that strictly uses only local Davao fruits and ingredients. You’ll be able to taste a wonderful, heady mixture of mangosteen, pineapple, mango, ginger, santol, chili, and chocolate all in one sip.
Only in Davao will you find the dangerously delicious pakfry. Cooked through both paksiw and frying, tuna tail is first cooked with vinegar and spices and then deep-fried until golden brown. With General Santos being a close-by neighbor, it’s no surprise that the locally-sourced tuna tastes exceptional. Head to Palo Vince Restaurant for the best preparation of this dish! Make sure to go early though, as the establishment is usually packed with hungry foodies waiting to have their share of this uniquely Davaeño dish.
The 10-year-old Davao Crocodile Park, which breeds its own crocodiles and ensures they’re not endangered, offers a variety of dishes that all use crocodile meat. Just like how Davaoeños are able to infuse durian into everything, you’ll be surprised at the ingenuity that goes into featuring this exotic ingredient in everyday cuisine. At the park, you can try crocodile lechon, burgers, and egg ice cream for less than PHP100 each. (Don’t worry — it tastes just like chicken!)
Stop by Malagos Chocolate Cafe and bag home the pasalubong to die for! This 100% Davaoeño single-origin chocolate brand has won countless awards internationally and is as naturally tree-to-bar delicious as can be. You can also easily spot Malagos chocolate bars at most kiosks and souvenir shops in Davao.
Every city has that one iconic dish, but there’s always more for you to personally discover than what meets the eye! It’s a different gastronomic adventure for each and every traveller, and it’s a pretty sweet journey when you end up following the flavorful path of your own unique palate. Everyone deserves this beautiful life, so why not dig in and create yours now? Start in Davao and say: Kaon ta, foodies!