Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Wow Davao! Part 2: Where we ate

Davao City is huge! It is said to be one of the largest cities in the world in terms of land area at 2,443.61 square kilometers. And 4 days are not enough to truly get to know this vast city, especially if you spend 2 days at the Pearl Farm. That's why I did not write authoritatively  "Where to eat in Davao", rather where we ate, though we did not have a bad meal anywhere there except at the airport.

We arrived at around 7pm and after checking in at Ponce Suites, the nearest restaurant I wanted to go to was Ah Fat, behind the Victoria Plaza mall.  Writer and blogger Margaux Salcedo recommended it. As I wrote on my Facebook post, the place has zero ambiance but the food was delicious! Ma says it's like a Binondo Chinese restaurant. No frills, no pretensions.
Steamed crab in garlic(P350)
 Steamed crab with garlic. I loved the taste of the sweet, sea-salty crab meat and the liquid on which it rested. I don't know if it was the by product of the steaming but I could also taste hints of oil and egg. Though I think it wasn't a good time to catch crab. Payat (Thin) my mom said.

Ho to tay (P180)
 Ho to tay soup. Unlike other restaurant versions, this had lots of ingredients: squid, shrimp, seaweed, etc.
Sweet and sour Lapu-lapu (P180)
The sweet and sour lapu-lapu was pillow-soft, it was unbelievable! It was like eating a cloud of neon-orange fish!
Live scallops look like rocks in the aquarium. They also have live fish and shrimps unaware of their fate. 
Margaux Salcedo also recommended the pecan pie at nearby Farfalla, a pasta restaurant. Too bad they had run out when we came for dessert. In contrast to Ah Fat, this one had loads of ambiance with the classy interiors and English-speaking waiters.
 We had to settle for a serving of berry panna cotta (P110) Subtle and creamy.

Macchiato (P65)

Cappuccino (P65)

Farfalla does have to do something about its signage. We had a hard time looking for it though I knew it was just supposed to be a few steps away from Ah Fat. We were about to give up when I saw that it was just beside Ah Fat but it was completely overshadowed by the bright sign of the hair salon above it.
A friend recommended a barbecue place near Ateneo de Davao called Pastil sa Ponce because of the mouth-watering pastil, which she said was a sauce mixed with ground chicken, but nobody we asked knew where it was. We finally found some kids who took us there on their pedicab but it was closed and my Mom was already looking irritated.  So I suggested we just go to People's Park  and a guard recommended Penong's. They have a lot of branches in Davao and the place is always full. It's just like those Chicken Inasal restaurants which offer unlimited rice servings but the food was much better!
 I highly recommend the Halaan (P95) the shellfish was so plump and juicy, I have never seen or tasted anything like it

 Grilled catfish (P92) If you're in a hurry, don't order this as it takes a longer time to cook.
Chicken Inato with pork barbecue (P80) Yup, this was good. I had some from my mom while waiting for the catfish.
The only problem with such a popular restaurant is that paying for your bill takes an unusually long time. i don't know if it was because they had only 1 cashier or if they had trouble computing my Papa's senior citizen discount but when the total came to a measly P325, who was I to complain?
(Hmm...looking at the bill again, I think they made a mistake and forgot to charge us for some of the food we ordered...sorry, but it's their fault!)


Mama said we should try out bariles or grilled tuna heads. She couldn't recall the name of the place so our taxi driver suggested the Buhangin area behind SM City Davao. It was a row restaurants by the sea that reminded me of a stopover we made in Roxas between Puerto Princesa and El Nido, complete with a gate to keep seashell vendors away. We chose a place called Dindi and Elizabeth Carinderia.
We had a very Visayan meal of Su-To-Kil or Sugba-Tola/Tinola -Kilawin.
Kilawing Malasugi/Swordfish (P280) soured with nipa palm vinegar

Tinolang Talakitok (P285)  mildly seasoned  and refreshing trevally fish in soup

Sugbang Kitang/samaral (P240)

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