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Durian, Durian and more Durian
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by: Celebrity Recipes
 

Visiting Davao is always a treat. The province never ceases to amaze. From a sleepy province, it is evolving to a progressive city. If you chance to fly there in August to November, you’re in for an olfactory and gastronomic delight with the durian. 

They say, “Once you have tasted durian, you will never leave Davao.” That seems to be true for people who find joy eating the pale yellow flesh that has an appealing creamy custard-like texture and a very sweet taste that comes form the hard, prickly rind. While others go to the extent of saying they would rather die than smell the fruit’s stink. Infamous as it is, durian is banned in hotels and public transportation. One can’t even hand-carry fresh durian in airplanes. 

To eat durian is an acquired taste. And Davaoeños were able to fully maximize their enjoyment of durian. From the simple candy to coffee, here are the variations of the durian… 

  • DURIAN CANDY
    A visit to Lola Abon’s Durian Candy factory is a treat. In an old house in San Miguel Village, the durian candy was born. Lola Abondia Raakin in the 50’s made the pastilles de leche for her family. “In her kitchen, she mixed with her ladle, a carajay with six cans of milk,” shares Dolly Lumbab, granddaughter of Lola Abon who is now managing the family business.

    Soon after, a friend of Lola Abon suggested to include durian in the pastilles since the fruit is indigenous in Davao. Thus, the durian candies were born. Lola Abon’s candies evolved to other delicacies such as macaroons, empanada, barquirons, etc. Preserves, jams and jellies are some of the bottled variation of durian.

    Others followed suit and true enough the candies that trace its history in the kitchen of a grand mom, are now a veritable industry in Davao.

  • DURIAN PIE
    In
    the kitchen of the Guin-o family came the durian pie. Ms. Virginia G. Sanz, proprietor, traces the history of the pie…”Durian smells and tastes like heaven. We decided in 1970 to present durian with less of the smell yet with its real freshness in a baked pie. It is no different from the buko pie of Laguna. The tourists basically enjoy the product.”

    Indeed
    the pie with its yummy crust with the creamy durian filling is another treat. The durian cake followed suit. Check out the pies at their shop on Iñigo Street. Eat it while it’s hot.

  • DURIAN ICE CREAM
    Since the
    fruit is indigenous in the area, it can be in anything and everything that you can imagine. While in Davao, trek to the supermarket and check out the frozen section. And viola! Durian ice cream!

    Even the big name brands came up with the flavor called
    Durian Delight. Over at the Durian Park, freezers also have durian ice cream.

  • DURIAN CAPPUCCINO
    Undoubtedly
    Blugre Coffee is the only specialty coffee shop in Davao. An offshoot of an apparel line, Blugre is owned and operated by Renato ‘Gatchi’ and Larry Gatchalian, Jr. Originally from Manila, the husband and wife team transferred to Davao in the mid 90’s and opened Blugre, a unisex apparel store.

    "The
    coffee shop business started in 1998. It was actually a spin-off our Blugre apparel store. We came with the coffee shop as part of the services for our clothing customers. It turned out great because of the timing and it was an instant success. Kaya iyung coffee na ang naging main business namin. And we are happy to say that it is going strong,” Gatchi says.

    The
    durian cappuccino hot beverage is called ‘gatchpuccino.’ “Frankly, that is my only contribution in the coffee shop. Kudos go to my wife for coming up with a good line-up of food and drink—everything is her recipe. My wife has her version of coffee and that is the cold drink—larcepuccino,” adds Gatchi.

    While in Davao, try the gatch puccino in any of its branches in G-mall, SM Landco and Matina Town Square.

There are now more ways to savor the fruit that smells like overripe cheese or rotting fish. But if you prefer to eat it fresh, wash your hands with the durian seed to get rid of the smell.

Enjoy! 

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December 22, 2014

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