They say a trip to Davao won’t be complete without grabbing a bite of durian, a popular Southeast Asian and Davao food delicacy distinguished for its strong pungent aroma and exotic flavor. Love it or hate it, the “king of fruits” is a trademark product of this bustling city in the South which is a must-try among many foodies and travelers.
But there’s more to Davao City than durian. Aside from being home to this spiky tropical fruit, the ”Crown Jewel of Mindanao” also showcases a variety of fruits and delectable cuisines. From street food stalls, homegrown restaurants, dessert places and local markets, this multicultural city has a lot of delicious treats to offer that will surely tantalize your taste buds!
One of the best times to visit the ”City of Royalties” is during the Kadayawan Festival, Davao’s grandest and most colorful celebration of the rich, diverse culture of the indigenous peoples that inhabit the city. The origin of this vibrant revelry traces back to the days when ethnic tribes held their ritual of thanksgiving to the Supreme Being “Manama” for a bountiful harvest.
Dubbed as ”The Festival of Festivals,” it is an annual festivity celebrated every third week of August where locals and tourists witness fun-filled events such as the floral float parade (Pamulak sa Kadayawan) and street-dancing (Indak-Indak sa Kadalanan). It is also a great time to go food tripping, souvenir hunting and sightseeing with your friends to fully appreciate the city’s abundant agricultural and floral gifts of nature. Not to mention, the hospitality of the Dabawenyos.
Before exploring the must-see tourist attractions of the ”King City of the South,” let’s begin our Davao escapade with a culinary adventure to remember! In this food guide, we listed down some of the best-tasting food that you should not dare to miss during your stay in Davao City.
Everything Durian in Davao Food
Hailed as the ”Durian Capital of the Philippines,” Davao food industry takes pride in having an abundance of this bittersweet delicacy which is available in fruit markets there all year round. Other people describe the big thorny fruit as something that smells like hell but tastes like heaven. It is commonly grown in Southeast Asian countries like Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia.
Despite durian’s reputation of having a powerful stench that perfumes the streets of Davao, it is adored by many people because of its unique taste and health benefits. When you visit the city, don’t miss sampling the fresh fruit pulp for the first time to complete your whole Davao experience. However, durian may not be everyone’s cup of tea so if you find the custard-like flesh to be too overwhelming for your own palate, there are other durian-flavored products that you can try and bring home to your relatives and friends.
The Durian candy is a bestselling pasalubong from Davao. From the typical hard durian candies sold in transport terminals to the soft and fleshy durian yema that you’ll find in local stores, these sweet delights are well-loved by both domestic and foreign travelers. They come in different forms: bars, sticks, balls and cubes. Aside from candies, durian can even be made into jams to go perfectly with your favorite breads and pastries. For lovers of tasty and creamy durian delicacies, Apo ni Lola is a household name in Davao City.
Owned by the grandson of Lola Abon,—the family matriarch who started a candy-making business in the 1950s that sparked the popularity of durian sweets—the shop is famous for its durian yema candy. There are also other products to choose from such as durian tarts, pie, hopia and piaya that you can take home to satisfy the cravings of your loved ones. For those who aren’t big fans of Davao’s signature tropical fruit, Apo ni Lola offers equally delicious Davao food and treats made from mangosteen, langka and other yummy flavors!
Durian cappuccino, anyone? If an exotic blend of strong coffee and sweet durian bits sounds interesting to you, choose to get your caffeine fix at Bluegré Coffee, a homegrown café that brought the coffee culture to the Dabawenyos. Its signature brew “Durian Coffeeccino,” a hot cappuccino concoction that pairs espresso with durian fruit pulp, is a must-try on the menu even if you’re not adventurous enough to eat the actual fruit.
The coffee’s rich aroma conceals the pungent smell of durian that makes it more appetizing for many visitors and locals. Savor the unique taste of the “king of all coffees” with other durian treats or you can sample the café’s specialty cakes, pastries, pasta and panini. Aside from Bluegré’s Davao City branches, the coffee shop can also be found in many places around the country like General Santos City, Cagayan de Oro City and even Metro Manila!
Durian Cheesecake & Sans Rival
Dessert-lovers can’t help but drool over the Durian Cheesecake and Durian Sans Rival from Lachi’s, a much raved about place to eat cakes and pastries in Davao. Don’t forget to drop by and have a slice of dessert heaven (with hints of tasty durian) after filling your tummy with the restaurant’s home cooked-style meals. Who can resist the layers of crunchy meringue, coated in rich buttercream frosting, cashew nuts and a unique tinge of durian that gives a nice spin to the classic sans rival?
Another bestseller among Lachi’s desserts is the durian-infused cheesecake that strikes a perfect balance between the smoothness of cream cheese and the flavor of the funky-smelling fruit. For non-durian lovers, you can order the Crème Brûlée Cake, Symphony Torte and New York Style Cheesecake.
Local Fruits in Davao
Davao is the home of the “king of fruits” but aside from this monarch, other local fruits are also abundant in the city due to its vast land, beautiful weather and fertile soil. This largely agricultural city is also tagged as the “Fruit Basket of the Philippines” with its bountiful harvest of tasty and nutritious fruits such as pomelo, mangosteen, marang, rambutan, lanzones, mango, banana and pineapple.
Davao City has farms and plantations that supply products to local and international markets. Its top export products include durian, banana, pomelo, coconut, pineapple and mango. So if you’re looking for fresh fruits, you can drop by the Bankerohan Market and Magsaysay Fruit Stands. Those who are in the mood to indulge their taste buds with Mindanao’s healthy treats may also visit an eat-all-you-can fruit shop in Davao to buy assorted fruits!
Craving for tuna and other fresh seafood? Go to Marina Tuna Seafood Restaurant and treat yourself and the whole family to its one-of-a-kind 10-way tuna experience. Various parts of the fish are used to make delectable dishes, so you can go from your traditional comfort food like kinilaw, grilled tuna belly and sashimi to the not-so-usual eye soup and tuna sperm sac if you’re feeling more adventurous!
The tuna is being cooked and served in 10 different ways: tuna sashimi, tuna kinilaw, tuna eye soup, tuna kare-kare, grilled tuna belly, crispy tuna tail, grilled tuna panga (jaw), sizzling tuna bihod (eggs), sizzling tuna bagaybay (sperm sac) and sizzling tuna tendon. Tuna is a must-eat Davao food when you’re in Davao so don’t pass on the chance to enjoy the fresh seafood catch from this well-loved restaurant!
Street Foods in Davao
Explore the bustling local street food scene in Roxas Night Market, where you can score some good eats like skewered isaw (grilled pork or chicken intestine), balut (fertilized duck egg), sinuglaw (combo of grilled pork belly and fish ceviche) and fruit juices. But the real crowd darling was Mang Danny’s Ice Cream. People would patiently line up for hours in front of his cart every night just to get scoops of their favorite “dirty ice cream” or sorbetes.
After Mang Danny’s passing last year (as reported by SunStar Davao), his children continued his legacy of bringing the delicious ice cream to his avid customers who can visit the different branches of Mang Danny’s Famous Ice Cream in the city. The cold treats are available in yummy flavors like durian, charcoal, avocado and ube. You can also try their milkshakes and waffles and add it to your Davao food adventure!
Crocodile Ice Cream
Another frozen dessert in Davao City that made the headlines is the crocodile ice cream. The exotic Davao food treat is made from crocodile eggs (instead of chicken eggs) combined with other ingredients like milk, cream and sugar. This bizarre-flavored dessert is a bestseller in an ice cream shop located in Davao Crocodile Park, the home of crocodiles and other exotic animal species in the city. You can try this creamy delight in different flavors such as crocodile durian, crocodile pandan and crocodile dragon fruit!
It’s fun to be messy! Ready to pig out on some hot and flavorful crustaceans in a bag with your bare hands? If you’re a certified seafood lover, Blue Posts Boiling Crabs and Shrimps should be on top of your list of places to eat in Davao. The specialty dish of one of the city’s most sought-after seafood restaurants is crab, but you can also order shrimps and mussels. Diners can choose their cooking preference, whether they like their seafood boil cooked in the restaurant’s signature Cajun sauce or they prefer it garlic fried.
For those who crave for a twist of Indonesian or Malay flavors in their dish, they can get their seafood cooked with sambal paste. Other mouthwatering options are the garlic lemon butter sauce and salted egg. Customers will then choose whether they like it regular, mild or super spicy. Add extra corn on cob, potatoes and sausages, and your scrumptious meal is complete! Aside from the crabs and shrimp boils, you can also try the sinuglaw, buttered cereal shrimps and garlic tuna belly on their menu. For dessert, pomelo salad is the way to go!
Cacao and Chocolates
Recently, Davao City has officially become the “Chocolate Capital of the Philippines,” while the entire Davao Region has been declared as the country’s “Cacao Capital” under a new law. It is also home to the world-class Malagos Chocolate, which has bagged several international recognitions. In 2019, Puentespina Farm—the cacao farm of Malagos Chocolate—was again on the receiving end of a prestigious award as it was even given an “heirloom cacao” designation by the Heirloom Cacao Preservation Fund. For your next trip in Davao, add the Malagos Chocolate Museum to your itinerary especially if you’re a certified sweet tooth who would love to taste the sweet Davao food.
The country’s first chocolate museum will let you enjoy a delightful “tree-to-bar” experience. It is also where you can learn about growing cacao and making homegrown chocolates as part of the tour in a 12-hectare nature-themed park. You can even make your own chocolates in the laboratory and of course, grab a bite of chocolatey treats! Its signature dark chocolate bars, chocolate craft beer, cacao juice, limited edition heirloom bar and other crafty gift sets are perfect for pasalubong.
Asian-European Fusion Cuisines
If you’re looking for an authentic Davao food fine dining experience or a venue to host your events, check out The White House Fusion Cuisine and Wine Lounge, which is nestled inside Camella Manors Northpoint’s project area. The old heritage house turned restaurant offers a plethora of Asian-European fusion dishes like its famous Yamamomo Cheesecake and Smoked Toro Tempura Roll with Ponzu Sauce. But aside from the food, what lures locals and tourists to this place is its cozy atmosphere that exudes elegance and old charm that reminds you of home.
The White House is also surrounded by a pine-themed residential condominium adorned with imported Caribbean pine trees from New Zealand. This affordable condo in the Philippines tucked in the heart of Metro Davao can be your next home in the “King City of the South.”
Resort-themed Condo in Davao for Foodies & Travelers
Northpoint Davao by Camella Manors, an RFO condo in Davao, is the first and only vertical pine community in Mindanao. The British-Kiwi themed condo property is located at JP. Laurel Avenue, Bajada, Davao City. Its strategic location in Southern Mindanao’s regional center gives it the advantage of having high potential returns on investments.
Calming views with a dose of health benefits await you in the condo property as Northpoint’s luscious trees give off an average volume of 78,000 pounds of oxygen per year. These natural greeneries are complemented by the British architecture of the 5,220-sqm condo village.
This condo for sale is just a 2-hour flight away from Manila and a 15-minute ride from Davao International Airport. Northpoint is considered as a “10-minute community,” where business hubs, places of worship, health centers, universities, malls and a future commercial strip of its own are within reach. It’s also a haven for those who want to continue their gastronomic adventures in Davao!
Northpoint’s resort-style amenities are top-notch. Indulge yourself and your loved ones in its salinized pool, kiddie pool, fitness gym, sky courts, atriums, kids’ playground, clubhouse terrace, function area. For your peace of mind, 24/7 security is also provided.
Northpoint also has a solid bedrock ground. Its soil structure has a foundation that can resist a 7.2 magnitude earthquake.
This affordable ready for occupancy condo was also awarded as the Best Residential Development in Davao during the Philippine Property Awards 2016.
For reservations and inquiries about the property, visit the Camella Manors’ official website. Come home to Camella Manors Northpoint now!