Kusina Maria

Food Blog + Food Shop

Jonathan’s Cupcakery

Jonathan's Cupcakery at SM Lanang Premier

Jonathan’s Cupcakery at SM Lanang Premier

The cupcake madness is not yet over. And here in Davao City, the place to go to for delicious cupcakes is Jonathan’s Cupcakery. They serve up delicious homemade cupcakes at affordable prices. All their cupcakes are rich and bursting with flavor.

They have staple flavors such as the Vanilla Bean, the Mocha, the Chocolate Vanilla Bean, the Red Velvet, the Triple Chocolate, and the Chocolate Surprise. My favorites are the Mocha and the Chocolate Surprise. Both are rich and decadent with just the right sweetness. The Triple Chocolate is a treat for chocolate lovers.

Jonathan's Cupcakery

Jonathan’s Cupcakery

Everyday, they have a couple of extra flavors. Some of my favorites are the Dark Beer and the Chunky Monkey which is Banana Peanut Butter. Check them out every chance you get, you never know when a delicious new flavor is going to be on their display case.

Each cupcake only costs P50.

For your fill of cupcake goodness, visit Jonathan’s Cupcakery at the Atrium of SM Lanang Premier. For inquiries and information, like their page at this link.

Sumo Sam Legacy

Sumo Sam's Crunchy Tuna Roll

Sumo Sam’s Crunchy Tuna Roll available only in Davao branches

What is the Sumo Sam Legacy? Sumo Sam was created to fill a gap in the market. It’s designed as a casual dining Japanese restaurant that’s not fast food nor expensive high end dining.

Sumo Sam offers a Japanese menu that’s accessible and not too Japanese. For one, the menus are in English with dishes that have descriptive names. Goes to show that Sumo Sam is not as high brow as some people think.

Sumo Sam presents Japanese dishes and Japanese cuisine in a way that most Filipinos can fully enjoy…. fresh ingredients, strong yet balanced flavors, and beautiful presentation.

For the SM Premier brand, Sumo Sam created the Sumo Sam Legacy Restaurant. It offers the same value for your money delicious Japanese food with a little bit something extra. Every month, a featured chef will create a special Japanese dish using the freshest Davao ingredients. This dish will be featured in the Sumo Sam Legacy restaurant and will only be available for a limited time.

It was exciting to meet and converse with Sumo Sam owners, Marvin Agustin and Raymund Magdaluyo. Magdaluyo is in love with Davao City and is very much excited to create and present new Japanese dishes using ingredients found in Davao’s markets.

Sumo Sam's Mt Apo Roll

Sumo Sam’s Mt Apo Roll

Sumo Sam Davao, franchised by Carlo Lorenzana, is the first franchise outside Luzon. And in less than a year, they already have 3 branches in Davao City. Including the uniquely branded Sumo Sam Legacy at SM Lanang Premier.

The Davao branches have unique dishes such as the Mt. Apo Roll, the Crunchy Tuna Roll, and the Brown Rice Kamameshi which are only available in these branches. The Mt. Apo Roll is a unique maki roll which has durian cream as one of its components. They also have the Davao Rolls which has Malagos Cheese. And one of my favorites, the Tuna Crunchy Roll has fresh tuna and some crunchy tuna chicharon in a densely packed roll. A few pieces will make you feel full.

Aside from these unique Davao-inspired Japanese dishes, the usual Japanese fare such as tempura, soba, yakitori, and the ever famous California Maki are also available at the Sumo Sam Legacy Restaurant.

It’s a good sign that a restaurant chain is adapting to local cuisine and use local ingredients. I am also excited by the monthly featured chefs and their dishes as this will give diners something new to try and enjoy. I’m sure a lot of Davaoenos will relish the experience of casual but thoughtful Japanese dining.

In Davao City, Sumo Sam is located at SM City Davao Annex and Abreeza Ayala Mall. The first ever Sumo Sam Legacy is located at the Fountain Court of SM Lanang Premier.

Max’s 4Sharing Beef Meals

Max's Fried Chicken

Max’s Fried Chicken, a classic Filipino dish

When I was much younger, every Manila trip would not be complete without a meal at Max’s Fried Chicken Restaurant. It was always a feast of sorts. We’d order Chicken, Pancit, or any of their delicious dishes. Each one complements the chicken well. As I grew older, my friends and I would do the same. This time usually ordering chicken with sinful Crispy Pata or Kare-Kare.

No doubt about it, Max’s brings to mind memories of home-cooked meals shared with relatives and friends. And with that in mind, Max’s has designed the Max’s 4Sharing Meals that are meant to be shared among four family members or friends.

Max’s recently launched their Beef 4Sharing Meals. It consists of 1 Whole Fried Chicken, Adobong Beef sa Gata or Beef Kaldereta, 4 cups of Rice, and 4 glasses of Iced Tea. All for the price of PhP 899. This definitely makes the Max’s dining experience easier to manage.

Max's Beef Caldereta

Max’s Beef Caldereta

I was able to try both the Adobong Beef sa Gata (Beef stewed in coconut milk) and the Beef Kaldereta (Filipino Beef Stew in Tomato Sauce). And I must say both go really well with the chicken. After all, Max’s creates and serves only dishes that goes well with their chicken. Both also have rich sauces and generous servings of beef.

Between the two, my top pick is the Adobong Beef sa Gata. First off, I’m a fan of gata (coconut milk). And I definitely love all kinds of beef stew. Combine the two together and you will find me very, very happy. Max’s Adobong Beef sa Gata has a rich, mildly spicy sauce with generous chunks of beef and some sayote (chayote) to add a bit of crunchiness and freshness. Plus, I sense a hint of vinegar (the base for all adobo) which cuts through the richness. It’s a unique take on adobo which is usually made with pork or chicken. In some regions, adobo is made with gata and I find that very yummy. So this one is a really, really good version of the very Filipino adobo.

Max's Adobong Beef sa Gata

Max’s Adobong Beef sa Gata

If there’s more of you in the group, it’s easy to order an additional dish or another 4Sharing Set. So what are you waiting for? Celebrate those bonding moments with family or friends over a 4Sharing Meal at Max’s Fried Chicken Restaurant.

Max's Fried Chicken Restaurant

Max’s Fried Chicken Sarap Kapiling

In Davao City, Max’s Fried Chicken Restaurant is located at the Second Floor of Abreeza Ayala Mall.


Binignit by Mama Da's

Binignit by Mama Da’s

One of the classic Filipino merienda treats is the Binignit (in Bisaya) or Guinataan (in Tagalog). These coldy, windy, rainy days are the times when a lot of us miss it. I know I do.

Binignit is a stew made from coconut milk with some fresh and processed sweet fruits such as gabi (taro), bananas, ube (purple yam), kamote (sweet potatoes) and langka (jackfruit). For texture, some add sago (tapioca pearls). My favorite ingredient which some scrimp on is the bilo bilo. These are rice ball made from glutinous rice. To thicken the stew or to further add texture, some add ground glutinous rice to it.

It’s a thick sweet stew with a hint of sourness from some of the fruits. It can be eaten hot especially when it’s cold. But it can also be eaten at room temperature. Some prefer to eat it cold. I don’t as it loses some flavor when chilled. It is great as a snack or as a dessert.

After some searching, I finally found a great place to eat Binignit. The place is Mama Da’s. It serves a delicious and generous bowl of Bignignit for only P20. And their version includes jackfruit seeds. Another treat that reminds me of my childhood. Yummm…

Whenever I want to eat Binignit, Mama Da’s is the place I go to.

Mama Da’s is located at Torres Street, Davao City. They are open from 9 am – 7 pm, Mondays to Saturdays.

Puto Bumbong

Puto Bumbong with Queso de Bola, Brown Sugar, and Grated Coconut by Via Mare

Puto Bumbong with Queso de Bola, Brown Sugar, and Grated Coconut by Via Mare

I had always heard of Puto Bumbong as a kid. It was always mentioned in Filipino Christmas Carols and in several local television shows. However, it was only in college that I was able to taste puto bumbong.

In Ateneo, when the Christmas season came, a stall in the cafeteria or a booth in the Quad would sell puto bumbong and bibingka. I was not very interested in trying it. Purple puto (sticky rice cake) was something weird to me but the image of melted butter, sugar, and grated coconut beckoned. And I immediately fell in love.

Puto Bumbong is unique because it is made from a variety of sticky rice called Pirurutong which has a purplish color. Thus, the weird purple color of the rice cake. Some makers don’t use this unique variety anymore just use regular sticky rice with some purple food coloring. It is cooked inside a bamboo tube, hence, it’s shape.

It is best served hot from the bamboo tube and smothered with lots of butter (or margarine), sugar, and grated coconut. I suggest using muscovado (raw sugar) or brown sugar for added flavor. It is best eaten with hot brewed coffee or hot native chocolate (sikwate).

Puto Bumbong is most popularly served during the Christmas season as it is often served outside the church during misa de gallo. But some restaurants, such as Via Mare, serve it all year round. One reason why I try to drop by Via Mare every time I’m in Metro Manila.

I have yet to find a restaurant or store here in Davao City that serves puto bumbong all year round. If you know of any, drop me a line. It’s a good reason why I’m looking forward to the Christmas season… puto bumbong everywhere. And you can eat it as breakfast, snack, dessert, or midnight snack.

Arpochi’s Sweet and Spicy Crabs

Arpochi's Sweet and Spicy Crabs

Arpochi’s Sweet and Spicy Crabs

I absolutely love crabs. (Among other things.) So when I was invited to eat at Arpochi here in Davao, I didn’t hesitate. And I don’t regret it even if I overate.

The first branch of Arpochi is in Marbel, South Cotabato. They also have a branch in General Santos City. And just last year, they extended their seafood expertise to Davao City. Arpochi has a very bare but very delicious menu with only a few items, but all of them prepared first hand by the family that owns and manages the restaurant. All three branches are owned by family members of the original branch. So you are sure to get the same taste and quality at every branch.

When we ate at the Davao branch, I was overwhelmed by the huge crabs they served us. It was prepared with their signature Sweet and Spicy recipe. And it didn’t disappoint at all. The crab was perfectly cooked, the meat was not dry or soggy. It was juicy and sweet, seasoned with a lot of pepper and garlic, drenched in an unforgettable sweet sauce. Not too sweet though.

I rarely touch the food I eat but I happily ate with my hands while eating at Arpochi’s The crabs and the sauce were too tempting so I ate more than my share. ;)

Arpochi’s Sweet & Spicy Crabs is a delight for all seafood aficionados. They also serve prawns, chicken, squid and other dishes but people flock to Arpochi’s for the crabs. So you must absolutely try Arpochi’s Sweet & Spicy Crabs when you’re in Davao City.

The Apochi’s Davao Branch is located along Palma Gil Street, Obrero, Davao City. It might take a while to have your delicious crabs prepared so don’t hesitate to call them up to reserve seats and to order in advance. You may call them at +6382-3058246. They are open Mondays to Sundays from 10 am to 10 pm.