“What is Davao Food?”
For ten years now, I have been blogging and sharing about Davao Food. And that is the question that people often ask me. Truth is, aside from indigenous dishes by the Davao tribes, kinilaw (ceviche), and grilled seafood, I still can’t define what Davao Food really is. Davao Food is a reflection of our “melting pot” culture. Melting pot is a term used to describe the various peoples of Davao. Davao is a proud home to its tri-people, a place where Christian, Muslims, and lumads (indigenous peoples) live and thrive peacefully. Add to that expats, international students, and other visitors from other nations. The Christians in Davao are mostly migrants from other regions of the Philippines. We have a good mix of Tagalogs, Bicolanos, Pangasinenses, Pampanguenos, Cebuanos, Warays, Boholanons, Ilonggos, and Filipinos from other regions. This mix of people is reflected in our cuisine.
Davao Food highlights the fresh produce — various meats, poultry, seafood, fruits and vegetables — of Davao Region, prepared, cooked, and presented in various regional and international cuisines. It’s not unusual to find a Filipino restaurant alongside a Japanese Restaurant, a Chinese Restaurant, an Italian Restaurant, and a Korean Restaurant all in the same street. And yes, we have restaurants specializing in Ilocano food, Halal food, Indigenous Davao food, Kagay-anon food, and other regional specialties. And there’s comfort food everywhere.
This can be overwhelming for Davao tourists. Even locals face a conundrum when choosing an establishment to visit. When people ask me where they should eat, I always ask them back several questions: “What cuisine are you looking for?,” “What’s your preferred price range?,” “Are you looking for a specific dish?”
With the advent of blogs, social media, and mobile internet, food tripping has become more convenient and, to a certain extent, entertaining. You see people post food on Facebook and on Instagram from dusk til dawn. But how exactly can you pick from all these crowd sourced information?
Start off, by doing a bit of research. Just because you saw a restaurant or a dish posted, it does not follow that the one who posted it liked or enjoyed what they posted. Don’t hesitate to ask by commenting on the post or by sending a private (or direct) message. Better yet, take time to research.