Since I started writing for restaurant reviews three years back, being unfamiliar with the best Filipino eateries in Davao City almost became a norm. Furthermore, the majority of restaurants I have tried in Manila, I can only count those that are embracing the traditions of Filipino cuisine. Traditional in a sense which all of its ingredients are native in this country. Even with the type of vinegar used which is essential in traditional Filipino recipes.

 

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There are far more traditional foods I haven’t found, perhaps forgotten due to having been away from Davao region for so long. Last month, I touched base with a topic of where foreign visitors can go to see the best local finds in Davao City. I suggested “Bistro Ni Tuding” as a great introductory of Filipino traditional meals. Their menu is friendly for those with delicate stomachs.

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Let me tell you about how I came about reviewing this impressive bistro along the old San Pedro street. I was initially looking for a budget-friendly luncheonette but got confused over one specific difficulty. Should I indulge my appetite or take mercy on my wallet? The dreary routine of working, eating the same meals every day, and repeat the following day need to take a pause. I need a menu that will satisfy nostalgic yearnings. FOOD that can bring my senses back to life.

Choosing from an array of food stalls was without the hindrance of sympathy on my budget. So, what the heck? Moving past a Pharmaceutical, I found myself looking up at a projecting sign with catchy Filipino granny name, “Bahay Ni Tuding.” I walked towards a small passage leading behind the commercial establishments. The bistro is actually inside a semi-residential lodge overlooking a wide parking area with huge trees around.

Guilt-Free Sisig

I won´t be economical with the truth about what’s in the picture. You are looking at pork´s ears, grilled, chopped, and then simmered in natural coconut sap vinegar. Sisig originated in Pampanga, through the years the recipe had changed over in multiple versions. Bistro ni Tuding’s version of sisig doesn’t leave your lips greasy. I am quite impressed that they are cautious with the oily viands. It gave me the impression that they are making an effort at making delicious traditional recipes (which are often fatty) into way less scary palate.

Sinfully Tasty Aligui Rice

Davao region has a high abundance of crabs. It is no surprise that Davao doesn’t have a problem serving crabs daily. My first impression looking at the pink-orange rice is it may have shrimp paste, similar to Thai’s Khao Kluk Kapi. But no, the pinkish color is actually “Tomalley” paste or crab fat. It has comparable lighter texture to lobster paste, but not as pungent as shrimp paste. You will love the unique flavor of the Aligui rice because it doesn’t taste overpowering. Still, I strongly recommend eating this in moderation because crab fat is high in cholesterol.

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The “Hometown Salad”

On the other hand, here´s one unusual dish the bistro is offering, they call it “Hometown Salad.” I was surprised by its smoky flavor and I love it! Then I was told by the waitress that it has strips of smoked Bangus (globally known as Milkfish.) Although the smoked fish is its dominant flavor, the salad has another indescribable character that I didn’t distinguish right off. Nothing like it I have tried with my past gastronomic adventures. The salad was drizzled with a light shrimp sauce.

Simply Delicious Organic Yogurt

Uncomplicated, sweet, and seriously addicting. I am showing you how densely good this yogurt is. I picked the middle picture, which has a coffee liqueur, sesame seeds, and red beans. As a matter of fact, they will give you options on what toppings you like. Also, if you like some alcoholic tang in it, they have various liqueur flavors to choose from. If you are wondering what the left one is, my guess is it’s with screwpine (Pandan) flavored sweet palm jelly (Kaong.)

They have a great selection on their menu and a different way of serving their French Toast. It doesn’t look like French Toast, it’s served in a mug! Also, while most curried recipes taste overwhelming, the bistro’s version is otherwise. The curry is deliciously light and creamy. The meat is succulent and slightly spicy.  

Showcasing The “Banig Art”

One of the attributes I appreciate about this residential lodging place is the consistency of Filipino-Mindanaoan theme. The wall decors are adorned with Banig details, even some of the beds are customized with Banig headboards. Therefore, the place feels homespun, reviews of guests on TripAdvisor tells the same. Therefore, “Bahay Ni Tuding” is a budget-friendly lodging place that offers great food.

Address: 160 San Pedro St, Poblacion District, Davao City, 8000 Davao del Sur

Phone: (082) 295 2487