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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Davao on a Plate

Davao on a Plate

The Davao Region is known for many things. It is known to be home to the Philippine Eagle, our national bird; it is known to offer a wide selection of fruits like pomelo, durian, and mangosteen; it is known to be the largest city in the world, in terms of land area; it is known to have the second-cleanest water in the world; and it is known to be one of the safest places in the country. However, people often over look the fact that Davao has also become a melting pot of international and local flavors; offering something to fit every person’s palette and fancy.

Davao seems to take everybody on a culinary adventure, as it offers a tour of the world, from table to table and plate to plate. A culinary trip to Asia is possible with the authentic flavors of Korea at Somang, Korean Shiktang, and Gamjatang. Exotic Thai flavors are offered at Krua Thai and Bangkok Wok; while delicate Japanese tastes may be enjoyed at Tsuru, Zakoya, Tadakuma, and Nonka, among others. If shabu-shabu is what you crave for, Tong Yang gives you the perfect hotpot experience, while Banana Leaf offers a fusion of Southeast Asian flavors and Hanoi gives you an introduction to the world of Vietnamese cuisine.

If Chinese is more your thing, there are a lot of places to choose from. Mandarin Tea Garden and Dimsum Diner are two of the most popular Chinese fast-food chains in the city; which give you your dim sum fix any time of the day. If family style Chinese-dining is what you crave for, Ahfat Restaurant, Grand Emerald Seafood Garden, Sen Ton Whan, and Marco Polo Davao’s Lotus Court are all worth a visit.

After a trip to Asia, visit the sun-kissed flavors of Café Mediterranean; or try Persian fare at Majid’s Kabab, Turquoise, and Kash Kabab. You could also try the Syrian offerings at Zabadani or Indian cuisine at Taj Minar.

If European cuisine is what your tummy rumbles for,there are also a lot of places you could visit. Claude’s Café de Ville dishes out sophisticated French food, while Farfalla, Spirale, Picobello Ristorante Italiano, Salutti, and La Pizzeria Nel Traliccio give you the best Italian pastas, pizzas, and more. If a different pizza-dining experience is what you crave for, a trip to Eduardo’s Pizza, Italian Job, Boyd’s or Coco’s is sure to get you satisfied. If Spain is on the itinerary, Hola Espana at Damosa Gateway gives you the best of Spanish cuisine. Tiny Kitchen could help ward off your paella cravings, while Swiss Deli, Haggar’s Place and De Bonte Koe offer a host of European favorites.

Samplings of American-style burgers are also worth a visit at the surprisingly affordable Harley’s, the socially-conscious Al’s Diner, and the most popular local burger chain: Space Burger. If you’d kill for the crunch and zest of Mexican food, Dos Amigos at the Habana Compound is sure to give you a run for your money.

Whenever your tummy rumbles, and your appetite allows, you must try the several buffet restaurants in the city. Buffet Palace offers countless Filipino-Chinese favorites, while Nanay Bebeng highlights home-style Pinoy fare. Chippens is also quite popular, especially for their seemingly never-ending dessert table, and Iron Horse is king when it comes to affordable seafood and grilled fare. Glamour is the place to be for eat-all-you-can crabs, while C-Tres and Apung Kula are turning out to become the new buffet favorites.

One can never leave Davao without sampling its take on the Pinoy barbeque. Penong’s, Colasas, and Banok’s all offer sumptuous, perfectly marinated barbecued meats, all served with unlimited rice. An interesting barbeque experienced is also promised at Lyndon’s World’s Worst Ribs and Awful Chicken. Some other Pinoy favorites include the cowboy-inspired Ranchero Grill and Roadhouse Café; fusion dishes at Café El Gato, Antonio’s, and Kusina Selera. More Pinoy favorites include Dencia’s, popular for their congee and tokwa’t baboy; Nanay Conching’s and Dusk ‘Til Dawn for the best Native Chicken; and Marina and KC Fishing Restaurant for the freshest seafood in the metro.

If you have a sweet tooth, a quick visit to Davao’s pastry experts, Lachi’s and Bistro Rosario should be on schedule. Aling Foping’s halo-halo at the Matina Town Square is also worth a visit, if only for the smoothest shaved ice (in a halo-halo) in town. Cute and colorful cupcakes from Baby Cakes, sinfully indulgent cinnamon rolls at Annipie, and heavenly mini-desserts at Sugar Munch are also worth a try, while gigantic servings of ice-cold treats are available at Ice Giants. If a healthy frozen dessert is more your style, you can drop by I Scream Fro Yo, for affordable frozen yogurt, near Dover Lanes, or simply visit all the fruit stands at Ponciano Street.

Truly, Davao gives an answer to all the food-related cravings one may have. It takes but a simple trip around town to satisfy a soul’s hunger for a culinary adventure to places and regions one can only imagine visiting; but regardless of where your culinary trip may take you, or whatever it is you choose to fill that spoon with, Davao dining is always enjoyed with a serving of hospitality…and that is probably the sweetest ingredient of all.