There were times when statuses and memes with these messages flood my facebook news feeds. Guys, according to them, prefer to have a relationship with girls who they can treat with street food; girls who they can date with sticks of isaw (fried chicken intestines) or proben, who they can date without their budget compromised. The same is also true with girls. And Davaoeno ladies and gentlemen just know where to find them- Roxas Avenue.
Roxas Avenue in Davao City can be described as the city’s street food hub. It is where gastronomes up for a food trip flock. It is a hodgepodge of different kinds of street food; some have already existed while some are products of Davaoenos’ ingenuity.
As soon as the clock hits 6:00 in the evening, Roxas Avenue or better known as Roxas begins to get busy. Street food vendors are done setting up their stalls. People from all walks of life-students, professionals, even foreign guests start to swarm these stalls that are lined up on the street side. The stalls and the space for the food seekers occupy almost half of the road. The remaining space is intended for jeepneys and other passers-by.
Me and my workmates, who happens to be my closest friends often agree to make our way to Roxas especially if we can’t decide where to eat for dinner or when we simply crave for proben. And sometimes, I go there alone for no other reason but eat.
According to Psychology, you tend to consume more if you have a lot of choices. And visiting this place might just prove this theory right. When you visit this place, you just can’t stop to pop as if you are stress-eating. Anyone who goes here for the first time would perhaps be overwhelmed with the food’s variety. Plus, everything is so cheap. The prices peg at five pesos to twenty pesos average. I can even blame this place for my seemingly inevitable weight gain.
Most of these indulgences are fried so if you are worrying about calories or gaining weight, you might just forget it at the sights and aroma of these and you’ll end up singing ‘Hakuna Matata’! If you plan to lose weight, you can just ditch reading further.
So here are some, if not all, of the food you can find in Roxas, aside from your ‘forever’.
On top of the list is the synecdoche of the boys’ ideal girls’ favorite food, Isaw or skewered chicken intestine, covered with flour or cornstarch and fried. Done in the same manner are the Proben or chicken proventriculus and the Gizzard, basically a chicken gizzard. Usually, stalls selling also have chicken skin, fat and feet or the Adidas in their menus.
Kwek-kwek and tokneneng are also quite famous. Who wouldn’t recognize the boiled chicken eggs or balut coated with orange batter and deep-fried? They come with cubed cucumber and guso (or technically, Eucheuma), sprinkled with either salt or cheese and drizzled with vinegar or suka. Tokneneng is made out of quail eggs. Other than orange, some stalls serve them fancy in multi-colors. For gastronomic adventure-seekers, Balut or penoy, the Filipinos’ popular steamed duck eggs are never absent here.
If Goku is not a food lover, he would be disappointed if he looks for the Dragon Ball in Roxas. The Dragon Ball you can find in Roxas is “a ball of mixed ground seafood like squid and shrimp wrapped in shredded lumpia wrapper.” It is great for gastronomic adventure, made even delectable when dipped into chili sauce.
The Buchi you can buy in fast food chain Chowking can also be bought in Roxas, with an additional twist. The gooey Buchis are filled with chocolate. For chocolate lovers like me, this is a must-try. The moment you bite it, the hot choco lava just oozes out. (This is the tastiest description I ever have. I am having goosebumps as I write this.). You have can have 3 pieces for 20 pesos.
Lumpia, chicken and sharks’ fin dumplings are also available. But the sharks’ fin dumplings does not really contain shark’s fin, because if they do, I would report them to authorities. Good heaven, they are not.
Finger foods like Siomai, Kikiam, Tempura, Fish Ball, Squid Ball, Cheese Sticks, Crab Sticks and Nuggets, and Fries can also be found here. Once you decide to buy a plate or two of it, the vendors will fry it for you. It won’t take long. It is good if you want enough just to satisfy your cravings. It cost 20 pesos at most.
There was also a new way to serve potato-based foods other than the common French fries. It is the Potato Twister. I borrowed the name from the commercialized potato sliced using a special kind of machine to make it spiral. It is then fried and sprinkled with either cheese or sour cream. The first time I saw it was in the mall. I never thought the street food vendors knew the secret behind its spiral form.
Hungry now? Wait, there’s more.
In case you are not fond of fried street food, perhaps you are a fan of grilled ones, or you might just become one.
Grill stations or those stalls serving grilled pork, pork fats, chicken intestines (isaw), chicken thighs, hotdogs, fish and even large pusit or squid also have their own space in Roxas. They can grill your choice for you while you wait on the table intended for their customers. Again, each skewer starts at five pesos. And oh! The rice? Same price.
Does Mang Danny’s Ice Cream, the intriguing ice cream for having unbelievable queues every evening to the point of grabbing the attention of the national media, ring a bell to you? He was featured in GMA Network’s Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho. Mang Danny’s ice cream became viral for some time and now, he has offered a break in one of the malls here in Davao. But his journey to fame started in Roxas. His dirty ice cream is a pride of Roxas, I must say. Mang Danny is just one of the ice cream vendors in Roxas.
Dirty ice cream and vegan ice cream also have their places in Roxas Avenue. For the vegan options, you can choose for pistachio or taro among others. Good thing, I was lucky enough to taste his ice cream after waiting for almost three hours in a very long queue. Lining up for Mang Danny’s ice cream is a risk. You might be waiting for hours but will still not get a scoop.
To seal the meal, drinks like Buko Juice, Gulaman in Ube, Halo-halo and Buko Pandan flavors are also at bay. Sometimes, vendors of the abovementioned food choices sell these drinks as a complement. You can have a cup for five or ten pesos and not without a refill. If you want a more textured drinking experience, you can try the fruit or flavored shakes.
Oh! You’re on a diet? I think pineapple can burn the fat after the meal. Good news, you can eat sliced pineapple in Roxas, again for five or ten pesos. Aside from that, there are the droolworthy green mangoes, or the watery singkamas (turnip), guavas or papayas. Mix them with salt and vinegar or bagoong. My saliva is building up now.
So now? Have you found love? Come to Roxas. If you still can’t find your ideal girl or guy here, I am sure this will be your new found love. Who knows, someone will ask you to be their ideal man or woman while you savor a skewer of isaw.
The foods are perfectly safe to eat since the vendors are required by the City Government of Davao to undergo Food Safety and Sanitation Seminar. For you to be sure, eat in the stall where you can see their certificate of participation in the seminar. Bon Appetit!
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