It’s August again! And yes, people of Davao know what that means — Kadayawan Festival! Yay!
Kadayawan Festival is an annual celebration in the city of Davao every third week of the month of August. It is said to be a celebration of life, a thanksgiving for the gifts of nature, the wealth of culture, the bounties of harvest and serenity of living. The festival focuses on the multicolored mix of Davao and Mindanao’s indigenous communities as well as migrant settlers, whose identities make up the rich cultural heritage of this island.
Every year, the number of people who flock in the city for the festival continue to rise. All the more it is expected to shoot up this year as it is known to be the hometown of the new President of the Philippines, Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte.
With that having said, I am sharing my personal picks for the top 5 food places to check out while in Davao to add up on your itinerary (because duh, what is a festival without food, right?). Now let’s get the list started:
5. ROXAS NIGHT MARKET
I know Mayor Sara Duterte just recently ordered the closure of the night market due to the violations committed by the vendors but I’ve been hearing chikas (for the lack of better word) from the people of Davao that it will be back anytime soon again just in time for the Kadayawan Festival proper (hence its inclusion on the list).
Roxas Night Market is a long stretch of cheap treats in the center of Davao. Half of it is dedicated for the preloved stuff (ukay-ukay), and the other half of it is for street foooooood. Proven, isaw, butchi, dumplings, chicken and pork bbq, dirty ice cream, name everything you have in mind — the night market has got you covered! The price starts at only 5 PHP!
Personal picks: Durian (because it’s season; you can get it at only 30 PHP per kilo); Mang Danny dirty ice cream (the famoussss dirty ice cream in the city); and butchi (the chocolate butchi which you could get for only 20 PHP for 3 pieces).
4. ESPETADA: HOUSE OF HANGING CHICKEN
Before anything else, let’s admit it: no one hates chicken. Everywhere in this world, there is just a great competition when it comes to presentation of chicken dish. In Davao, I have discovered a new place that serves real good *coughs* chicken without hurting your wallet — the Espetada, the first and only house of hanging chicken in Davao City.
For as low as 150 PHP, you get to enjoy an Espetada set meal of your choice which is part of their specialties. Based on my experience, I could say that the chicken was prepared very carefully as the meat was really tender and juicy. Unlike in other chicken houses that you go wherein you get to have a chicken that was obviously rushed to cook that you could see blood when you slice the meat, you do not have to worry about that in Espetada.
Espetada is located at #5 Belles Bldg., Sobrecary St., Obrero, Davao City. Open everyday from 11 am – 11 pm.
3. BACKYARD BURGERS
The best local burger I’ve ever had! Okay, I just had to welcome you with that haha. And yes, I am serious with that.
Backyard Burger is a homegrown burger house in Davao. From its name, you could get a hint why I call it THE best — backyard! Probably rooted from the idea of backyard-prepared food, the burgers are not commercial-tasting unlike those we get from other burger places. The patty is thick, and very tender and juicy. The sauce is flavorful. The bun is fresh. Burger price starts at 99 PHP with free iced tea.
There are currently three Backyard Burgers branches located at Obrero, Quirino, and Quimpo Boulevard (Ecoland). Operating hours: 12 nn – 10:00 pm.
2. THE FATBOY’S KITCHEN
The Fatboy’s Kitchen is a Davao-based order and catering service that offers homemade comfort food. With the outpouring support and demand to put up a physical store, they finally opened one just last month after a year of just operating online.
The Fatboy’s Kitchen is best known for its kare-kare, and its different versions of empanada but make sure you don’t limit your choice to these two. Aside from them, try the BBQ Bourbon Chicken, Patatim, and Shortribs Caldereta.
You may find The Fatboy’s Kitchen on Facebook at /thefatboyskitchenph and on Instagram at @thefatboyskitchen. The restaurant, The Empanada Factory, is located at F.S. Dizon Road, Bacaca, Davao City.
1. CLASSIO MOBILE WOOD FIRED OVEN PIZZA
The super demanding Mass Communication student life has got me (almost) NPA — no permanent address. For almost every night, I stayed at different 24/7 coffee shops in the city. Since most of the time I’m in Green Coffee Bajada (because of oreo cheesecake + fast internet connection), I got to discover a not-so-typical pizza place, Classio Mobile Wood Fired Pizza.
I am proud to say that I found it way before it got really famous (bragging haha). I think its pop-up type of setting was what got me interested to check out the place. Every Tuesdays – Saturdays from 7 pm – 1am, Classio just arrange plastic chairs and tables fronting their mobile wood fired oven.
Usual pizzas would more or less have a crispy dough, and contain a lot of toppings. Classio pizzas have chewy dough, less toppings, and original sauce. Price starts at 140 PHP with a size of a paper plate. Personal favorite: bbq flavor.
Classio Mobile Wood Fired Oven Pizza is located along JP Laurel (fronting Caltex).
So there you have above my top picks for the food places to check out in Davao. There are a lot of other good food places in the city but I just narrowed the list into the ones I find myself always going back to. If you have other suggestions, hit the comment section below.