Davao is synonymous with good, affordable, inventive food and on my second visit, I was invited to try out a new food tour conceptualized by Etours.ph along with accredited DOT guide Samuel Libre, Jr. I’ve met Sam before, he was our assigned tour guide during Kadayawan last August . He did such an exceptional job that I got in touch with him right away when I planned my return to this busy city.

So here’s a peek at the different Food Tours you can choose from:

Organic Food & Urban Farming

Features a roster of farm-to-table establishments that offer delicious organic food. Our first stop is Echostore, a popular haven for all-natural products and healthy living. We tried the Father Franco’s Pizza All Meat (ham, bacon, smoked chorizo). Fr. Franco is a priest residing in Bukidnon who has built his brand called “Parde Ninno,” known for his bottled delicacies, pizza dough, and duck pate.

Compared to the Manila branches Echostore Davao City has a more homey feel with a larger floor space, the menu is different, and it has a varied selection of skin care products, drinks, and local chocolates exclusively available here.

Tucked inside a small, quiet property just meters from Abreeza Mall is Wynward Valley Organic Garden Bistro, a garden home owned by Chef Rodelio Carmelio Dalisay. Committed to growing veggies and crops organically without the use of synthetic chemicals and pesticides, they also teach students how to grow their own produce and prepare organic fertilizers.

Since I had just arrived from my 5am flight, brewed coffee is first on the list which is served black (sans milk and sugar).

Bestsellers include Blue Ternate Calamansi Juice, Seafood Chower, Chicken Fajitas, and Lean Beef Bread Pizza.

The Chocolate Trail

Got a sweet tooth? Then you’ve got to experience this chocolate and dessert tour! I was introduced to Sea Green Cafe, a quaint establishment that offers a pescetarian menu selection.

Must-try: the Tablea Cheesecake! Topped with small pieces of sweet mango, it was perfectly chocolatey without being too sweet. A winner in my book — and that’s very surprising since I am not a very big fan of chocolate desserts nor chocolate pastries.

The interiors are inviting, too, and I can imagine myself hanging out here in the afternoons having a warm cup of coffee while reading a good book. Tita Kira approves!

Eating Davao

Sometimes the most interesting things to try aren’t in high-end establishments. Such is the case of the Dragonball Coconut, a tiny family-owned stall along Telstar St. cor. Emilio Jacinto St. where they serve fresh coconuts upon order.

The unique thing is how they carefully carve the insides in order to form a ball of meat while keeping the refreshing coconut water intact.

There’s lots to find in the Bankerohan Market but I’ve heard the best and most popular sikwate stand is DelMar Painitan. Brace yourselves though as it is crowded and very humid inside the market, please dress appropriately.

Pair your sikwate (hot chocolate made of tablea) with the very filling Puto Maya (sticky rice cake). I have my sikwate with milk and sugar and I was so happy to be able to try the Davao version. If you recall, I always go to painitans in my hometown Cabadbaran Agusan del Norte.

Just when I thought we were done for the day (I was admittedly very full already), we went to Dood’s Ihaw-Ihaw & Seafoods Grill. Known for their very juicy and tasty Tuna Jowl (panga), Dood’s won #46 at the World Street Food Congress.

I was able to interview owner Bing Felix who says he only uses Big Eye Tuna fresh from GenSan. Most establishments buy a lot of tuna and freezes it for months since demand tends to be greater than supply especially during the holiday season. His secret to the juicy tuna is to get it fresh always but if he has to resort to freezing, he freezes it for a maximum of one month only. Of course he uses special secret spices, too, which is why his tuna is one of the tastiest I’ve tried.

Our tuna jowl was so cheap at Php 190, good for 3 people. Compare that to Manila prices of Php 250 and up, his tuna is quite a steal! You can also pre-order, have it grilled and wrapped so you can bring some back to Manila.

On your way home and feeling all exhausted and drained? If you’re near Roxas Blvd. there’s a nightly street market that offers cheap food.

The night market was set up so employees and students who are on their way home (and don’t want to cook) have the option to eat out and hang with friends. This is my second or third street food market in the Davao Region.

Expect a lot of fried and grilled food from the ever-reliable chicken intestines (isaw), pork BBQ, pampalamig (fresh fruit juices, sago’t gulaman), to interesting desserts like buchi filled with matcha, ube, chocolate. There are also Halal stalls.

The Ube buchi was my favorite! Buchi is a Filipino sticky rice snack filled with either sweet bean, ube, matcha, or chocolate. It was only Php20 for 3 pieces — sweet, chewy, and delicious! Also had 2 sticks of fried chicken skin — so unhealthy, I know. Minsan lang naman.

So there you have it! This is merely a preview of what Davao has to offer. I’ve been to Davao City three times (and around the Region once so far) and I am still not done trying all the food and coffee places.

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To experience the full food tour from Etours.ph, visit http://www.etours.ph. Contact them at  0949-827 1748 / 0977-8344716. For inquiries, you may also contact tour guide Samuel L. Libre, Jr. at 0917-1497130.