At the malls, I have tried different versions of humba: the Chinese pale version, the Ilonggo version, even the vegemeat version. In Digos City, I remember dining at a nameless carinderia where they cooked humba with lots of vinegar — and eggplant.
By Bejay Absin
DAVAO CITY – Whenever there are gatherings in the house of my friend Darling Curay in nearby Panabo City, a big plate of humba (stewed pork) would complete the dining fare. Darling is known in Panabo as a choreographer who can put on great shows. But to close friends, she is admired for her humba, which she prepares using her very special recipe.
I had been longing for Darling’s humba. But the distance between Panabo and Davao (about an hour’s drive) does not permit us to see each other as often as we want. So I tried to search elsewhere for the perfect humba, or at least an approximation of Darling’s.
A friend, Dennis Gutierrez, took me to Bankerohan market one night. There, we were served humba at Ellen’s Eatery. It was, for lack of a better word, delicious. It had just the right amount of fat, meat was marbled and the sauce tasted strongly of garlic, onion and bay leaf.
The one thing that set Ellen’s humba apart from the rest I have tasted was the tomato sauce. It must have been tomato sauce because the sauce had a “tomato glow” in it. When asked, Nanay Ellen just smiled – and asked us if we wanted more rice. The humba went well with carabeef soup cooked in abundant chili.
At the malls, I have tried different versions of humba: the Chinese pale version, the Ilonggo version, even the vegemeat version. In Digos City, I remember dining at a nameless carinderia where they cooked humba with lots of vinegar – and eggplant.
But nothing compares with Darlings humba. She had one peculiar way of serving it: she wouldn’t serve it immediately; she would instead put it in the ref and reheat and serve it the next day. I couldn’t forget how it went well with kapeng barako.
It must be said that humba is not the only thing that can excite your palate here in Davao. I and another very good friend, June Sanches Obenza, would go food hunting, as it were. A recent discovery is Thai Ming, found at the NCCC Mall. We went there on a Monday, when they were serving Thai salads. I have to say those were the best salad I have had: meat, pomelo, egg, seafood – all in one serving with Thai Ming’s “secret spices.” Other offerings were beef meat salad and vegetable salad in peppery cream sauce.
Occasionally, I would go food tripping with other friends. With Genevieve Guino-o, I shared my love for puto maya and tsokolate, which is aplenty at the Bankerohan market. When I’m all by myself and I crave for great food in big servings, I go to I Love Sushi or Maki Boy or Café Ilustrado. Asian Fusion, found at the Taboan of the Matina Town Square, is a favorite food place with another friend, Geejay Ariola.
Davao may not have a cuisine it can call its own but cuisine from all parts of the globe somehow find their way here. (Bulatlat.com)