A week of Davao eats

I spent a week in Davao with a simple itinerary: attend the Davao Bloggers Society Christmas Party, co-work, and, most importantly, EAT. We can eat anywhere, of course, but ever since I joined the Davao Food Appreciation Tour in 2010 and 2015, I always want to go back to the city and sample some more. So while is not about an official Davao Food Appreciation Tour, this post is about an almost week-long food trip in Davao. So, close enough.

Many thanks to Mica and Andrew for pushing through with this food trip!

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Where to eat in Asakusa: Sometaro Okonomiyaki Restaurant

I’ve been fascinated with okonomiyaki ever since I saw it in the anime Ranma 1/2 in the early 90’s. It looked and smelled good, even in 2D animation, so I had to try it in real life when I visited Japan.

Okonomiyaki, for those who don’t know, is a Japanese savory pancake. There’s a variety of ingredients that can be used, so it’s really up to you and how you like it (okonomi) and then it’s cooked on a grill (yaki). Okonomiyaki is usually associated with the Kansai region (where Osaka is), but it’s really available throughout the country, and each region’s okonomiyaki does it a little differently than the others. Kind of like how regions do ramen differently, or–going closer to the Filipino’s heart–how each region has a different longganisa, or a different adobo.

The Tokyo okonomiyaki, then, was on my list of things to eat in the city.

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Dreaming of #BisayaNaFood

Cebu, Philippines is a place of rich history, beautiful beaches, and wonderful people. One of the capital cities of the Philippines, it is highly significant and one of the most populated in the country.

But, let’s be honest: when I think of anything, I think of food. And Cebu? Cebu is known for its delicious, scrumptious food. Mouthwatering seafood. Sweet, sweet, mangoes. Succulent lechon. Ooh-lala!

This week, my tummy has a date with Cebu. Continue reading

Happiness in a Cream Cheese Salmon Maki

A layer of vinegar-infused white rice. A sheet of nori. A fresh slice of salmon sashimi. These are some of my favorite things in my favorite cuisine. And when they’re all rolled together with an important addition of cream cheese, it becomes a mouthful of happiness called a Cream Cheese Salmon Maki.

I get giddy just thinking about it.

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The Triple Dark Chocolate Brownies from Annipie are perfect

Everybody loves a brownie. I have literally never met someone who didn’t love a brownie unless they were allergic. The way we like our brownies differ, though.

Some like them sweet or dark; with nuts or without. There are light ones, dense ones, and biscuity ones.

We all have our own definition of a perfect brownie. I, for one, love the rich, chocolate-y, melt-in-your-mouth kind, preferably with no nuts. Unless it’s soft walnut mixed in the brownie, or maybe almond slivers on top, just to add a little crunch, in case there aren’t any chocolate chips on it. It’s one or the other. I don’t want no nuts distracting me from my chocolate.

Because of our different preferences, it’s easy to find a brownie that everyone will like, but it’s a little harder to find a one that everyone will love and enjoy and smile like an idiot about.

I found one such brownie in Davao when I went there in May.

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Waiting for chug-chug-chugging

Before October 2014, I had never ridden a train.

I’m not talking about city subways or bullet trains (although, before October 2014, I had never ridden a bullet train, either). I’m talking about cross-country ones that you ride for hours, where you stay in little cabins with your luggage tucked beside you; ones that seem to make you say “locomotive” instead of “train” in your head.
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7,107 Islands

When a friend visited the Philippines recently, there was a question that people asked him quite a few times.

“Of the 7,107 islands in the Philippines, how many have you visited?”

He just smiled and said: “Two. The island where Manila is, and the island where Davao is.”

During a conversation with him later, he swung the question back at me.

“Definitely more than two,” was my easy answer.
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Not Just Durian

Almost everyone knows that when you go to Davao, you eat durian. But Davao is a land of good food. Really, really, really good food that people who usually take photos of their food before eating might just put their camera aside so they can dig in. I know I did. As evidenced in this post’s photo, I was so excited to eat at Mam Beb’s that I just stuffed my plate—who cares about presentation?

Every year since 2008, the Davao bloggers organize the Davao Food Appreciation Tour so they can, as the event name suggests, tour bloggers around Davao and sample the city’s best food. I joined DFAT 2010, where I learned that Davao eats and eats well in the wide variety of restaurants that they have—I don’t think I ate in two similar restaurants while I was there. I also got to try snacks and desserts in Davao and love, love, loved it! My mouth still waters just thinking about them. Good Davao food isn’t just durian. There’s salad and steak and ribs and pasta and tapsilog and pancit and mango squares and, okay, durian coffee and durian cheesecake.

The Davao Food Appreciation Tour 2014 is happening on May 16-19. If you’re planning to go to Davao someday soon (which you should), or if you’re already in the city and looking for new good food to eat,  take notes from the official DFAT FAcebook Page or follow the tumblog.

Don’t touch the walls

We were starting our tour of Angkor Wat when our guide, Khemra, points out the cordon that forces tourists to walk a foot away from the temple walls carved with the history and legends of Cambodia. He says that we cannot touch the walls in order to preserve it for the future generations.

“They are our heritage. Because of our heritage, tourists come. When tourists come, there is money for the country. When there is money for the country, we can take care of our heritage. When we take care of our heritage…tourists come.”

Khemra didn’t just ask us to take care of the ruins — he told us WHY we should take care of them. That’s something that stuck out to me. Sure, he told us of Cambodia’s rich history and culture almost as if he lived through it since the ancient times, and he told us of little trivia and tidbits while walking from one temple to the next. But, that — that little speech right there about  something that should be common sense, but it’s also something that everyone needs to be reminded of constantly — was one of the things that stood out.

Em Khemra, Licensed English Speaking Tour Guide
http://www.angkorunitedtour.com
E-Mail: emkhemra@hotmail.com
Phone: (855) 12 863 271
Also, try searching Tripadvisor for him. You’ll get good reviews like this one.