UNLESS you’re someone who loves to walk around (even if you have a car) you won’t have a chance to try some of the tastiest street foods around this southern city. To do this, you also need to be someone who don’t mind being seen by friends nibbling on a grilled chicken’s feet, bar-b-qued intestines or that ever-present fried boiled egg called “kwek-kwek” and downing all of them with that iced cold “buko” juice that can put to shame even Coke’s own “sakto” drinks. If you’re the type who’ll dine only in elegant five-star restaurants, you can lose your “glamour image” if seen eating some street foods—are you?
MACARONI. Our own favorite (even if you disagree with us) are the cold macaroni salads being peddled at the corner of J,P. Laurel Avenue and Cabaguio street right at the street corner that brings you to the Davao Medical Center (DMC) or “regional hospital” which is, of course, the old name of the present Southern Philippines Medical Center. A cup of that delicious home-made salad mix cost only ten pesos (P10). But its so frustrating that the only time we can ever try one is when we find ourselves walking by that corner.
KWEK-KWEK. The first time street vendors came out with this street food was more than ten years ago, if we’re not mistaken. We remember paying only five pesos only for one piece of hot kwek-kwek, complete with fresh sliced cucumber (pipino) and fresh seaweeds. Yes, that’s the combination that completes your lunch or dinner for only five pesos.
But the price has gone up to seven pesos— and now to ten pesos, but it’s still great for students and employees with limited allowances on their way home from school or work who hardly have anytime to cook when they get home (specially when there’s nothing to eat at home). All they do is gobble up one egg dipped in spicy vinegar and salt, take it with seaweeds and cucumber— and they can call it a day..
FRUIT SLICES. For only five pesos, you can balance your meaty diet with fresh slices of pineapple, mango, papaya or guava packed in tiny plastic bags and sold by street vendors along Ilustre street, San Pedro street along with cold buko juice and fruit salads. Nice thing about these pineapple vendors, you’re allowed to choose any pineapple off their big pile and slice it open right in front of you. We’re sure somebody trained them to use that curve knife that they skillfully use to curve out the fruit core, from its thick skin and cut the slices into small chunks. They provide you with a small sharp bamboo stick which you can use to pick the chunks up into your mouth. They do the same thing to papaya, mango, guava, etc. You can find many of these fruit vendors near schools ( UM, Ateneo, PWC, USEP, UPMIn) because students always look for them !
STREET VENDING. Probably realizing by now that food street vending is such a huge market to ignore, big name brands are beginning to sell McDonald’s, Pure Foods, Dunkin Donut, Coca-Cola, etc. like they were street foods. They’re even pulling their prices down to the levels that many students can now afford to pay. We’ve seen the “McFloat” being sold for P10 in small cups along the street in front of Holy Cross College, We’ve seen how Pure Foods is selling a stick of delicious hot dog for only P12 apiece.. We’ve seen how Dunkin Donut making efforts to find street sides to sell donuts alongside other street foods in Davao. If you’re a marketing man, you can’t ignore where the market wants to buy their food…..
—- Boyaks / FOOD GUIDE