Going to a new country is always exciting, from immersing in the culture, people and not forgetting the food! If you’re not overly adventurous with your food choices but still want to have a taste of the iconic cuisine while in Davao, Philippines, check out our list of top 10 dishes to try!
1. Boneless Crispy Pata
Crispy pata is one of the most popular dishes to order while dining in Davao. This whole, deboned pork leg is simmered in spices and deep fried to perfection. On first bite there’s a deep crackling that echoes and is closely similar to the texture and crisp of a roast pork here in Singapore. This delicious and indulgent dish takes quite an arduous process to prepare yet remains tender and well-seasoned throughout.
2. Durian and Langka Turon
This yummy deep fried dessert is a must-try dish when you’re in Davao. We tried this while dining at Rekado Comfort Cuisine, and the spread at this restaurant is indescribably good. The Durian-Langka (jackfruit) Turon is deep fried in lumpia wrapper, and plated in a traditional iron. Also comes with a serving of tablea chocolate dipping sauce.
3. Grilled Tuna Belly
Serving up fresh seafood and delicious Filipino cuisine, the grilled tuna belly at Yellow Fin is one of the more popular dishes here with simple seasoning but tastes absolutely delicious. It’s chunky yet remains tender throughout and is a pretty addictive dish.
4. Filipino-style Fried Fish with Mango Sauce
If you’re planning a trip to Davao City, recommend taking a boat ride out to this secluded Club Resort Samal on Samal Island. Besides the sandy beaches, blue waters and aesthetically pleasing resort front, the food here is an absolute must-try. We had a seafood feast and everything on the table was delicious. Our favourite is the Filipino-style fried fish with mango sauce – simple but dripping with sweet and savoury flavours.
5. Grilled Squid
One thing we missed about being in Davao are the grilled dishes and this grilled squid was certainly memorable. It looks fairly simple yet there’s an intricate mix of flavours that has a slightly charred and tangy aftertaste. We really like that the grilled squid is also stuffed with chopped tomatoes and onions.
If you’re ever in Philippines, you have to try this popular Filipino dessert called Halo-Halo. Hands-down, this is our favourite dessert here. It’s somewhat similar to our ice kachang in Singapore with a base of shaved ice and evaporated milk, and lots of ingredients added to the mixture including sweet beans, coconut and fruits. Not forgetting the standout purple topping – ube (yam) ice cream!
7. Homemade Lemongrass and Avocado Ice cream
Another surprising dessert to make the list is this homemade-lemongrass avocado ice cream we had while dining at Eden Nature Park. This delicious homemade recipe is a refreshing dessert that has a beautiful creamy texture and leaves a delightful taste. Healthy and yummy! There are other flavours of mango and ube too.
We can’t rave enough about the spread at Rekado for their sumptuous Filipino comfort food especially their rendition of the homemade adobo or kalderobo. One of their signatures here, they use beef instead of chicken, and the meat is really tender with each bite. Sauce-wise it’s not as thick as we prefer but extremely tasty nonetheless.
9. Native Chicken Binakol
Chicken Binakol is a chicken soup dish that is very flavourful and comforting. The chicken parts are simmered until tender and served with coconut meat and malunggay leaves. It’s quite a strange combination when you look at the ingredients individually but surprisingly it does work well together. The sweetness of the coconut water and the variations in tastes are complementing, resulting in a savoury dish.
10. Isaw (Chicken Intestines)
Isaw (chicken intestines) is a common street food in the Philippines. The chicken intestines are thoroughly cleaned inside out and boiled to tender before going on the grill. It can be found almost anywhere and usually served with a dipping sauce of vinegar with onions, chilli or spicy sauce. While it is certainly not the most visually appetizing, it’s not as chewy as it looks and overall quite decent to try! If you’re skipping the other iconic dish in Philippines like Balut, this is another must-try for the adventurous!
With lots of love
An Affair With Food