Thursday, September 16, 2010

davao etc.

If you were to say "Davao" to me right this minute, these are some random things that would come to my mind:

1. Super ornate and intricate tribal costumes.

2. Yummy tuna panga (literally, "jawbone") at Antonio's Bar & Grill in SM City Davao.

3. Really perplexing signs.

4. Dinner with family at the Mongolian Garden Restaurant along Torres.

Both Antonio's and Mongolian Garden are great for family meals. They have a wide variety of grilled and fried seafood and meats-- real crowd pleasers. At Antonio's there were only two of us and we ordered just the tuna and their special fried rice, but at Mongolian Garden, we had a tiny family reunion and went all-out with some deep-fried catfish, barbequed chicken, clam soup, grilled squid and very sticky barbequed ribs.

In general, Pinoys are suckers for inihaw (grilled stuff) and this is very apparent in Davao City. Every street corner has a joint with a smoking hot charcoal grill. Aren't those black specks carcinogenic? Ah, but it's not the same without that deliciously unhealthy carbon. DavaoeƱos seem to prefer most of their dishes on the sweet side, including their barbeque. Also, I think they invented the concept of "unlimited rice". At Penong's, a popular open-air grill, you couldn't order just rice. They only had unlimited rice on the menu. It cost PHP15 (about 30 cents US) and get this-- there was a no-leftover penalty! Almost every restaurant we saw offered unlimited rice. Otherwise, they had a buffet of some sort-- usually priced at less than PHP200 (US$4.50). Why dontcha just give it away, why dontcha?

The food is so cheap that eating is the cheapest thing you can do in Davao. Bored? Go to a buffet. Too hot to do anything? Have some unlimited rice. Want to just hang around and discuss your latest existential realizations about how your parents screwed you up? Grab some inihaw.

So those things are what I think of when I think of Davao, but for sheer ubiquitousness, you can't beat the durian. I will forever remember Bunny Rabbit's facial expressions (contortions) as he was eating it.

He looked like he wanted to die.

Image by Marang (the person not the fruit).

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