Balbacua et al, At The Maya Kitchen

The 4th stop of The Maya Kitchen Philippine Food Tour takes us to Davao, to sample Balbacua, Kinilaw nga Bariles, and PakFry. Culinary historian Pia Lim Castillo and Chef Datu Shariff Pendatun are the ones in-charge of this exciting culinary tour. 

About a decade ago, I've had my first taste of balbacua in Baguio. Yes, that popular summer destination in the north serves balbacua at the equally popular Ili-Likha. That soup was so memorable and comforting that it was lovingly-kept in my food memory bank. As for Chef Datu Shariff, I've had the pleasure of attending the luncheon that he hosted- The Coconut Cuisines of Muslim Mindanao, organized by the Culinary Historians of the Philippines. Talk about serendipity, right?

Balbacua is a comforting soup made with ox trotters or beef cheeks. Think kare-kare parts (except not tuwalya), the collagen-y ones. Then imagine goulash minus the beans and sausages. Really, just thinking about it makes me want to have a bowl or two. 

According to Chef Datu Shariff, balbacua is usually served on the roadside eateries (carinderias, canteens) or bus terminals in Davao. This hearty soup can also be paired with rice. Yum!

Next on the table is Kinilaw Nga Bariles (tuna fin loin). So good! Refreshing and light. This cleanses the palate after that hearty bowl of balbacua. 

Big chunks of tuna seasoned with salt, then mixed in vinegar, onions, chilis and ginger. Of course, we all know that there's an abundance of tuna in Davao so big chunks of tuna kinilaw is possible. 

Lastly, Chef Datu Shariff demonstrated how to prepare another Davao favorite- Tuna Buntot "Pakfry." This dish reminds me of Quezon Province' Sinaing na Tulingan. The tuna tail is cooked in vinegar and spices, then deep fried. It was suggested to have the cooked tuna tail settle overnight in the fridge before frying. This will make the pakfry more flavorful. 

This Philippine Food Tour Davao edition by The Maya Kitchen was really a nice experience especially for foodies.