From exquisite landscapes to extraordinary treasure-trove experiences, Davao City speaks of nature’s beauty and the trappings of modern life all at the same time. And when it comes to unique, extraordinary food offerings, the city has a long list of must-see restaurants that can sate the rumbling stomach.
The long list includes various seafood cuisines and other delectable nourishments that one can choose from without having second thoughts.
One particular eatery in the downtown area which carries an intriguing name stands out as it has become a talk of the town for locals and tourists alike. It has become a favorite stop-over for travellers, too.
The name of the eatery is “Bulcachong”. It carries a tagline that says, “Rapa sa Toro, Sarap para sa lahat.” In Pilipino that’s “delicious carabao dish for everyone”.
The restaurant offers a unique dish that one must partake to capture its essence. The dish is also named bulcachong, a concoction whose secret is known only to its master chef—Chong.
Bulcachong is a buffalo meat recipe which can be similar to bulalo (Filipino beef shank and bone marrow stew) but is uniquely different when it comes to appearance, aroma, and taste.
The chunks of meat are meticulously cooked for three hours until it becomes very tender. It is then mixed with various ingredients that include atsuete (lipstick plant or annatto); a natural coloring, and a minute amount of flour which makes the soup orange and thick. It has a strong aroma which fills every nook and corner of the restaurant.
But what makes bulcachong particularly different and loved is its gingery taste which gives an extra spicy kick that lingers in the partaker’s mouth for at least a minute. It is not the most appetizing description to a dish but certainly a Davaoeño favorite. In fact, it has become a must-try exotic food like that of thefamous durian fruit.
For a first timer, the first reaction is to back out due to its strong aroma, but as the thick soup slushes down the throat and the extra soft meat melts in the mouth, the wonders work by itself where the partaker finds himself or herself keep stuffing more into his or her mouth until his or her stomach can take no more.
And what’s the other secret? The calamansi juice which can be poured over the soup which makes it all the more mouth-watering that one opts to order again.
The master chef, Chong, commonly mistaken as a Chinese, is a Filipino. He is a gourmet cook and he likes preparing esoteric dishes such as the bulcachongwhich have gained popularity among locals and tourists alike over the years. He cooks the way he lived his life—meticulously and very properly.
The bulalo special which is good for 3-4 persons is sold at Php300. For thebulcachong, which serving is normally good for one person, there are two dining options. One can choose to dine outside the restaurant amid fresh air at Php75; or inside with an air conditioner which is served at Php90.
The main store is open for 24 hours. Its peak hours is from 2:00 a.m. to 4:00 a.m. It has become very popular among locals who look for a hot soup to bring them back to a sober state after a night of drinking session.
While there are many restaurants and eateries that mushroomed all over Davao City, the Bulcachong restaurant continues to thrive because of its secret ingredient that no one has succeeded in imitating yet.
Since the Bulcachong restaurant was built, many locals would tried to mix and blend several ingredients just to come up with the exact exotic but delightful taste of the bulcachong but only to no avail. The secret ingredient, Chong said, will remain a “secret” in him and his most trusted co-chef who have worked for the restaurant for 18 years now.
After dining at Bulcachong, one, for sure, leaves with a satisfied and delighted stomach and exclaim: “Lami ah uy!”
That means: “unbelievably delicious!”