Eating memories and Kusina Davao’s siopao

Pork with salted egg (P30) is my favorite but the chicken siopao (P20) is also good

The trademark logo stuck at the base of the siopao

It wasn’t in my plan but the moment I saw the restaurant’s sign, Kusina Davao, a flood of memories came rushing in, forgetting all about the durian infused coffee I sipped earlier after arriving from the airport. Wow, pork with salted egg siopao and I can almost savor the hot steaming white bun before me.

I like siopao. No. I love siopao. Bola bola (meat ball) is a must have but if there’s the special kind, I would definitely would have it. These stuffed buns can be found anywhere in the Philippines and its origin is, without doubt, Chinese: it is the Hokkien term for baozi. It is perfect as an on-the-go food and sating too.

I can’t exactly remember when I discovered Kusina Davao’s siopao but, in my two years stay in Davao City as a telecoms engineer, it must have been those moments when I just wander around the city and try new things and eats. In this case, I just loved their siopao that I’ve been coming back often and sometimes buy several to bring as my lunch when I go trekking in Marilog.

Outside this popular food place, it just looks like another ordinary and old restaurant

Kusina Davao's interior. CLICK TO ENLARGE

Kusina Davao is one of those chinese owned, old city restaurants that have been there for years. The age is palpable. The tacky decor is still there. While wooden tables and chairs used to populate the dining area, it has now been replaced with plastic. The servers and cook seemed to have many experiences already. But I like these kind of atmosphere. Dated yet it has charm.

The restaurant is open 24 hours and the patrons are mostly middle aged men who come here to have lunch or dinner or snacks. Or have a beer or two with their friends. Me? I just come here for the siopao.

Miss, duha ka pork with salted egg and coke. (Miss, 2 pork…)

I told the waitress. Within a minute, two steaming hot buns were placed on my table. I picked up one and delicately peeled the paper emblazoned with the restaurant’s name found at the bottom. I took a bite. Soft, moist and hot but not too hot to burn my lips and tongue. Another bite and this time, I got to taste the ground meat stuffing. Sweet but the right kind of sweetness. Savory, not dry and well seasoned. One more bite and I had a portion of the salted egg.

What I do like about this is the contrast of flavors. The salty and creamy taste of the salted egg’s yolk compared with the sweet meat filling. Eating it, portion by portion alternated with sips of the cold cola until all has been consumed. Perfect. Ready for my second and last bun.

This is stuff that I can always have as comfort food and for only P30 (less than a dollar), it is a cheap and filling fare.

This trip was made possible with my win in the Wandering Juan Travel Blog Awards, Culture and Heritage Category. Visit the official site.

Estan Cabigas is freelance photographer, blogger and writer based in Makati City, the Philippines. A true blue Cebuano, he makes stunning images and meaningful photo stories. His work has been published in local and international publications including National Geographic Magazine, Geo (Germany), Sunday Times Magazine (London) and other publications. He is also a peripatetic traveler and has traveled to all 81 Philippines provinces. I'm open for work, collaborations and inquiries, including hotel, restaurant and site features and reviews.

4 Comments

  1. bertN
    September 11, 2010 @ 9:43

    Siopao is also one of my weaknesses when it comes to food. I’ll remember to check out Kusina Davao, if and when I get a chance again to visit Davao again.

  2. estan
    September 11, 2010 @ 13:58

    @bertN, you should 🙂

  3. Jaja
    October 15, 2010 @ 16:03

    I remember having merienda here with my parents after they pick me up from school. Their siopao was famous long before Kuilans and Tevang came. Love your website. Keep it up!

  4. estan
    October 15, 2010 @ 19:54

    @jaja, thanx 🙂

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