Kusina Maria

Food Blog + Food Shop

Davao Gourmet Collective

Jam Foods USDA Tapa at the Davao Gourmet Collective at SM Lanang Premier

Jam Foods USDA Tapa at the Davao Gourmet Collective at SM Lanang Premier

There is no better way to celebrate Kadayawan than with food. And the best place to do exactly that is at the Davao Gourmet Collective (DGC). For Kadayawan Festival 2015, DGC will be presenting a unique Kadayawan Food and Music Fair.

I had the privilege of attending the sneak preview of the Davao Gourmet Collective and here are my highly recommended picks of must-try dishes at the Kadayawan Food and Music Fair.

SOUL Kitchen Co

Soul Kitchen Co at the Davao Gourmet Collective at SM Lanang Premier

Soul Kitchen Co at the Davao Gourmet Collective at SM Lanang Premier


Being healthy is the en vogue to do right now. And the best way to be healthy is with fresh, wholesome food. Grab a salad or a wrap from Soul Kitchen Co for a healthy start to your Davao Gourmet Collective food trip.

Alibaba Shawarma

Alibaba Shawarma at the Davao Gourmet Collective at SM Lanang Premier

Alibaba Shawarma at the Davao Gourmet Collective at SM Lanang Premier


Try their Shawarma Wraps and Shawarma Pockets all made from scratch.

JAM Foods

Jam Foods USDA Tapa at the Davao Gourmet Collective at SM Lanang Premier

Jam Foods USDA Tapa at the Davao Gourmet Collective at SM Lanang Premier


Their Tapa made with USDA Certified Beef is probably the best tapa. It is perfectly salty and a bit sweet with a whole lot of beefy taste.

The Crazy Cook

Satay by The Crazy Cook at the Davao Gourmet Collective at SM Lanang Premier

Satay by The Crazy Cook at the Davao Gourmet Collective at SM Lanang Premier


Satay is a popular Malay dish. It’s spicy and tasty. And the dipping sauce is wonderful.
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Kadayawan Specials by Chef Alex Destriza

Sous Vide Beef Tenderloin with Bistek Sauce with Chorizo Pumpkin Risotto, Kangkong 2 Ways, and Glazed Carrots and Onions by Chef Alex Destriza of Marco Polo Davao

Sous Vide Beef Tenderloin with Bistek Sauce with Chorizo Pumpkin Risotto, Kangkong 2 Ways, and Glazed Carrots and Onions by Chef Alex Destriza of Marco Polo Davao

Davao is known for many things… the durian, the Philippine Eagle, Mount Apo, the Waling-Waling, and of course, our diverse and bountiful harvest which we celebrate with a unique Thanksgiving festival every August. This thanksgiving is called Kadayawan Festival.

For the Kadayawan Festival 2015, Marco Polo Davao has prepared something a special tasting menu prepared by their newly appointed head chef, Chef Alex Destriza. Chef Alex has crafted two Kadayawan Specials Set Menus to showcase Davao’s fresh bounty of fruits, vegetables, livestock, poultry, seafood, and dairy, and livestock.

There are two Three Course Sets you can choose from.

Set A starts with a uniquely luscious Sweet Corn Bisque with Lapu-lapu Croquette, and Ube Tarragon Cream.

Sweet Corn Bisque with Lapu Lapu Croquette and Ube Tarragon Cream by Chef Alex Destriza of Marco Polo Davao

Sweet Corn Bisque with Lapu Lapu Croquette and Ube Tarragon Cream by Chef Alex Destriza of Marco Polo Davao

The Sweet Corn Bisque base is subtlety sweet and creamy but not too rich. The perfectly deep fried Lapu-lapu croquette provides umami flavor and a crunchy texture. These two components are tied together by an Ube Tarragon Cream. All three components blend perfectly together to produce a unique soup experience. The dish is as delicious as it is pretty.

The soup is followed by a memorable Sous Vide Beef Tenderloin with Bistek Sauce with Chorizo Pumpkin Risotto, Kangkong 2 Ways, and Glazed Carrots and Onions.

Sous Vide Beef Tenderloin with Bistek Sauce with Chorizo Pumpkin Risotto, Kangkong 2 Ways, and Glazed Carrots and Onions by Chef Alex Destriza of Marco Polo Davao

Sous Vide Beef Tenderloin with Bistek Sauce with Chorizo Pumpkin Risotto, Kangkong 2 Ways, and Glazed Carrots and Onions by Chef Alex Destriza of Marco Polo Davao

The beef is succulent and tasty. It is served medium rare, the right way. The Bistek Sauce is the right combination of salty and sour with a hint of sweet and peppery. My favorite of the three sides in this dish is the Kangkong served two ways. The Adobong KangKong below the beef is the element which brings the meal back to the simplicity of Filipino cuisine. This is paired with deep fried Crispy Kangkong, a favorite appetizer of Filipinos. Together with the Chorizo Pumpkin Risotto and the Glazed Carrots and Onions, all the components form an elegant plate that highlights the most popular flavors of Filipino cuisine. Bistek. Adobo. Deep fried. All in one dish.

Your Kadayawan Specials Meal will end with another unique marriage of flavors: Biko Pandan with Chocolate Mousse and Caramelized Pecans.

Biko Pandan with Chocolate Mousse and Caramelized Pecans by Chef Alex Destriza of Marco Polo Davao

Biko Pandan with Chocolate Mousse and Caramelized Pecans by Chef Alex Destriza of Marco Polo Davao

Biko is a traditional Filipino rice cake made of glutinous or sticky rice and cooked in coconut milk. In this unique iteration, the Biko is flavored with Pandan and served with pandan jelly on the side. Hence, the name Biko Pandan. It is complemented by a Dark Chocolate Mousse that is decadent but not overwhelmingly rich. I would have never thought the two would go so well, but they do. After all, Filipino rice cakes (commonly called “kakanin”) are usually served with Native Hot Chocolate. The Caramelized Pecans add another layer of sweetness and crunch to the beautiful plated dessert.
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Lechon Liempo by Don Durian

Lechon Liempo by Don Durian

Lechon Liempo by Don Durian

No Filipino celebration is complete without the most wanted lechon. And the most coveted part of any lechon is the belly. In recent years, Lechon Belly Roll has become a popular Filipino food trend.

Lechon, for those not in the know, is spit roasted whole pig. Lechon Belly Roll, however, is just the pork belly section, rolled and roasted. Like the traditional whole lechon, a Lechon Belly Roll is seasoned and stuffed with spices.

There are numerous food establishments that serve lechon belly roll in Davao. One of those that is fast gaining popularity is Don Durian. Don Durian is a home-based business that specializes in Lechon Liempo and Lechon Manok.

Lechon Liempo by Don Durian

Lechon Liempo by Don Durian

Don Durian’s Lechon Liempo is tasty, juicy, and tender. You can taste the spices and herbs in every inch of the meat. It is the right blend of salty and spicy with a touch of umami. More importantly, the meat is perfectly cooked. More importantly, the meat is perfectly cooked. And each bite of the meat is tender and the skin is gloriously crisp.
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Classio Mobile Wood Fired Oven Pizza

Classio Mobile Wood Fired Oven Pizza

Barbeque Pizza (with Pastrami) by Classio Mobile Wood Fired Oven

It’s Friday! Celebrate the weekend with a slice of pizza at Classio Mobile Wood Fired Oven.

Clasio is the only food truck in Davao with an actual wood fired oven. The wood fired oven gives off a nice smokey flavor and crunch to the pizza crust of Classio Pizzas. Their pizza sauce is perfectly tangy. It complements their various toppings perfectly. And yes, there’s a good amount of cheese in the pizza, as well.

My personal favorites are the All Cheese Pizza and the Mortadella Pizza.
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Chicken Skin by Espetada

Chicken Skin by Espetada the House of Hanging Chicken

Chicken Skin by Espetada: House of the Hanging Chicken

A few months ago, Espetada: House of the Hanging Chicken created a buzz on social media. After two trips to this trending foodie destination, I can conclude it’s a quaint foodie experience in Davao. And super cheap, too.

On my second trip to Espetada, I saw something on their menu that made me excited. There, in the Extras section of the Menu was listed Chicken Skin. I ordered 1 serving to satisfy my curiosity and I was pleasantly surprised.
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Vikings Luxury Buffet features Street Foods of the World

Pork Satay (Indonesian Spiced Skewers) by Vikings Luxury Buffet - Street Foods of the World

Pork Satay by Vikings Luxury Buffet – Street Foods of the World

There is a saying for travelers that goes: “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.”

When visiting a city or country, you can find their best kept culinary secrets, not in high end restaurants, but in street food sold by ambulant vendors. Street food represent a part of a locality’s culture and is usually prepared and made from abundant ingredients in that area.

Now, you do not need to go to Rome to do as the Romans do. Take a culinary trip around the world this August at Vikings Luxury Buffet. Street foods from around the world take the centerstage at all Vikings Luxury Buffet branches.

From Southeast Asia to Europe and the Americas, your palate will be tickled by hometown favorites of various countries.

Start off your journey with a street food popular in Rome and in the rest of Italy.

Suppli (Italian Rice Balls) by Vikings Luxury Buffet - Street Foods of the World

Suppli by Vikings Luxury Buffet – Street Foods of the World

Suppli comes from the Italian word “sopresa” that means “surprise.” And it lives up to its name. It looks like an ubiquitous meatball. It is actually a ball of risotto (Italian short-grained rice) mixed with eggs, tomato sauce, meat, and mozzarella cheese. Each ball is dredged in bread crumbs and deep fried.

The result is a crunchy ball with a soft, savory center with a hint of salty, sour, and sweet. The rice has a bit of bite that makes the ball more interesting. It is typically eaten as a snack or as an appetizer. Vikings’ Suppli is so delightfully tasty that you will be addicted to it. It looks and sounds a bit weird but it will certainly please you.

From Rome, cross the Atlantic Ocean and visit the Americas with these skewers from Brazil called Espetinho.

Espetinho (Brazilian Kebabs) by Vikings Luxury Buffet - Street Foods of the World

Espetinho by Vikings Luxury Buffet – Street Foods of the World

“Espetinho” is a Portugese word meaning “little skewer.” It also pertains to a popular kebab dish that is made from diced spiced meat. It can be made of beef, chicken, sausages, fish, and shrimps. Vikings version of this is made of shrimps, fish, and mushrooms. It is served with a sweet, sticky sauce with a hint of saltiness. The sauce complements the spiced kebabs well. It’s awesome when eaten with rice.
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