4 Must-Try Fruits In Davao!
Whenever we visit Davao City, the first thing that we might probably think is that the city is home to some of the best fruits in the country. Like their sweet and juicy Pomelos, the Exotic and a bit intimidating Durian, healthy yet expensive Mangosteen, and a whole lot more! It gained the title Philippines’ Fruit Basket for being one of the world’s leading producers and exporters of fruits. That’s why whenever you’re around Davao, you can’t help but take home some of the best fruits in the country at a more affordable price.
Since it is Kadayawan Season once again, the city is filled with delicious fruits all around, with several fruits in season! That’s why you should take this chance to try them all. We are all lucky since AirAsia now flies to Davao City 21x a week from Manila and 4x a week from Cebu. The World’s Best Low-cost airline is also planning to increase flight frequency to the city soon! Davao fruits are just one of the reasons why you should visit the city.
During our fruit market trip to Magsaysay Park, we talked to one of the fruit sellers. One of them is Marilyn. She was enthusiastic about sharing her knowledge and passion for Davao’s local fruits. Here are just some of the things that we’ve learned. The fruits of Magsaysay Park are priced a bit higher compared to the fruit stands of Bankerohan Market. But it is not recommended for tourists, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the fruits you’re getting.
The Durian fruit is commonly avoided by tourists unfamiliar with the fruit’s taste due to its strong and intimidating smell. But did you know that there are a lot of Durian varieties that you could try that have less intimidating taste and smell?
You might also wonder why Durian is very abundant in Mindanao. It is because the flower of the Durian tree is pollinated by bats, which only blooms at night. Davao is home to Monfort Bat Sanctuary, the largest Bat Sanctuary in the world, with more than 2M bats.
She mentioned that there are around 11 Durian Varieties that she knows and named 9 of which are:
Each variety has a different flavor and scent intensity. But she mentioned that if you’re new to eating Durian, it is best to try the Puyat variety. The said variety is also being exported to countries like Japan and Korea. Since it is one of the least intimidating varieties and, as they say, “beginner-friendly”.
The Puyat variety is also being sold frozen and sealed. Ready to be transported to Manila. So if you like to try one, this variety is definitely for you.
She also shared a tip on buying Durian. The cheapest option is not always the best one you could buy. In Durian, you literally get what you paid for. The better and higher quality Durians are commonly priced a bit higher than the cheaper ones. To capture the best Durian, Durian farmers need to harvest them at the right time when they’re not too ripe. That’s why it’s more expensive since they need to climb the Durian trees instead of just waiting for the fruit to fall down, which is a common practice among other Durian farmers.
If you’re up for a more authentic experience, then you’re ready for a stronger and bolder flavor from the Native variety. She also mentioned that the Native Durian varieties are over 100 years old.
Since we’re already there, I’ve bought one container of the Puyat variety Durian. Here’s how I would rate it.
- Taste: The Puyat Durian taste is a bit similar to how langka (jackfruit) would taste. Although there are some hints of Durian, it is milder than other varieties. I tried Durian taho at our hotel in the Royal Mandaya. I am not sure about the variety they used, but it tasted different from the Puyat one. The Durian taho tastes nutty, with a very minimal hint of sweetness, and has this garlicky aftertaste. That’s why I was surprised at how the Puyat variety tasted like.
- Texture: The texture of Durian has this soft and silky texture. Somehow similar to mashed potatoes.
- Scent: The Puyat variety scent also reminds me of langka (jackfruit). But make it a little stronger.
Based on my experience, the best Pomelo I’ve tried was from Davao. It just basically gives me a better experience, from peeling the fruit to eating it. Based on some research, the Davao Pomelo is a cross-breed between the Chinese Pomelo and the native orange.
According to Marilyn, the fruit is in season from December to February. It is also the best time for tourists to buy some as the prices go as low as P500 per box or lower, from the usual P700+ box for the rest of the year. She also mentioned that the fruit is essentially available all year round, with some Pomelos being exported abroad.
Here are just some of the best qualities I love about Davao Pomelo.
- Easy to Peel: I noticed that the Pomelo from Davao is much easier to peel than the Chinese variety in Metro Manila.
- Juicy texture: The Davao Pomelo also has a juicier texture, and you can feel the sweet juice burst in your mouth as you bite it, leaving your tastebuds a slightly bitter aftertaste.
The Marang fruit is commonly mistaken to be a Langka. I was one of them, to be honest. From afar, they look very similar. With its thorny exterior and its size, it is common to interchange the two. However, when you take a closer look at it, the Marang has finer and closer-knit thorns compared to the Langka. If you use your imagination enough, Marang actually looks like a greenish-brown hedgehog.
Regarding taste, Marang is milder than even the Puyat variety of Durian. Some would say that if you want to try Durian, you should practice with Marang first. But in my case, I tried the Durian and Marang yema. I prefer the Durian more than Marang. But for the fruit, Marang would make it to my must-try too.
If Durian is dubbed to be the King of fruits, Mangosteen got to be its Queen. The Mangosteen of Davao is quite popular to tourists as well. The purplish green fruit has this thick peel that, when squeezed when ripe, pulpy white fruit comes out with small seeds inside. It is quite similar to the santol but tastes better. The Mangosteen flavor is mainly sweet, with hints of tanginess at the right amount. The combination of the two flavors makes it so good!
Some locals mentioned that the dried Mangosteen peel is full of nutrients that it could be made as tea due to its perceived health benefits that help regulate blood sugar, among several others.
Marilyn shared with us that the Mangosteen is in season from August to September. But like the Pomelo, it is available all year round but at a more expensive price.
Davao is blessed with fertile land and a suitable climate for vegetation and farming. So it is no wonder why the region is home to fruits like pomelo, banana, pineapple, papaya, and rambutan, alongside numerous vegetables and, of course, exotic fruits like durian, mangosteen, and marang.
So be sure to try out and take home some of these delicious fruits on your next visit to Davao!