Sunday, June 7, 2009

Some of my favorite things in Davao Part 1

I went to Davao, Southern Philippines for work but found enough time to engage in my simple joys. More than a year ago, I discovered their wet market called "Bangkerohan". I make it a point to go to the market wherever I go because this is where you really feel the pulse of the town...and where you discover great things to eat.

Before our prelude-to-a-buffet-breakfast-at-marco-polo-hotel, we dropped by a small stall that agreed to do freshly-made peanut butter according to our specifications. This is another story.

Growing up on "tsokolate eh"or Chocolate Espresso, I never knew that I could enjoy that heavenly brew in Davao. Somewhere in the small alleys of the market they call "painitan". I guess it means to "heat something--like coffee or chocolate!".

And so this opportunity allowed me to indulge (again) in 2 cups of thick tsokolate, with a hint of brown sugar sans milk. I felt milk was taking the zing away.

My friend and I, bought bread from the local bakery and a local delicacy-- I failed to ask the name. It was as fluffy as puto (steamed rice cake) but had a charred top like a bibingka (rich rice cake cooked via hot coals).

The norm is to eat "puto maya"which is neither a puto (steamed rice cake) nor a maya (native bird). Other stalls use white sticky rice, but I like the one that is reddish which they call "tapul". It was cooked with coconut milk, sugar, hint of ginger and anise. I like it served in a packet made of banana leaf.

This lovely brew I can get to make in my own home as they also sell "tablea"(chocolate tablets) which would also be wonderful for "champorado"(sticky rice chocolate porridge).

I also bought for starters 1/2 kilo of cocoa beans. I was instructed to dry-roast it in a pan, the way you would dry-roast chestnuts. And the skins would be easier to peel. Afterwhich, I can grind it into a paste and mold it in the fashion of "tableas". I will update you on this mini project of mine.

Whenever I get the chance to visit Davao-- this remains to be my personal ritual.

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