Unpretentious Filipino Dishes

Disclaimer: This is the full feature from The Royal Chef column on Edge Davao.

There is no we in food…only I — said the hungry you. Or should I say, the hungry me. Filipinos as we are, food is but a collective event that involves mouths, dishes and recipes of the past, present and future. Yes, food is a plurality that, in the Philippines, signifies a celebration — on a daily basis.

With Davao’s booming economy — not to mention, increase in traffic volume — it’s no wonder that many food establishments are popping like mushrooms from every nook and corner of the city. From home grown local restaurants to international food destinations, Davao is slowly becoming a foodie paradise for everyone to enjoy. One delicious resto is Kuya J Restaurant.

It’s bright, clean, homey and very relaxing interiors allows you to enjoy the experience holistically. Setting the tone, you’d find the place to be comfortable. More so, when they start cooking your dishes and laying them on your table. Now the fun begins.

Kuya J specialises in native, local dishes cooked according to how your palate craves for them. Their menu boasts of Filipino favourites that highlights the many fresh, local produce we have. From crunchy greens to fresh meat and gifts of the sea, you’d love that all elements are well-represented.

Take for instance their Ensalada Espesyal. Textured and packed with flavours, this dish is a real palate teaser. Served aesthetically in a leaf turned into a boat (or is it a box? I don’t know!), the combination of vegetables create an amazing depth of taste that’s very inviting. The addition of itlog na maalat (salted egg) on top is the ultimate cherry on top.

Something old yet new to the palate? Try their Lumpia Fresko – fresh, crunchy and green. Yes, slices of crunchy fresh veggies wrapped in their signature malunggay infused lumpia wrapper, is a real showstopper. Taste wise, you’d find that the filling is kind of sweet and salty – just enough to wake your senses. Add the peanut sauce and you are sure to smile as you take a bite. This is truly a fresh take on a classic favourite.

Since Kuya J Restaurant originated in Cebu, it’s no surprise that they have a plateful of Baked Scallops on their menu. Packed with oozing cheesy goodness, their baked scallops are rustically appetising and instantly sets you on a craving frenzy. Each scallop is soft yet tender to the bite. Seasoned enough to highlight the rich flavour of the sea, it’s not nakakaumay – the melted cheese complements verily with the taste of scallop and flavour of the sea.

Mainit na sabaw ba ang hanap? Then better order a bowl of their Pochero Bulalo Tagalog. That’s pochero and bulalo merged into one. This clear broth soup is very rich and flavourful. The taste of beef is prevalent as a result of long hours of boiling. Meat wise, chunks of beef with marrow will surely have you asking for another cup of rice in an instant.

On a beef frenzy? Then better give their Beef Kare-Kare a go. Rich peanut sauce, fork tender ox tail and salty bagoong is the ultimate Pinoy dish any time of any day. The sauce is already slightly salty but with the addition of bagoong, the pairing becomes inevitably delicious. Best thing about this dish? Every ingredient used contributes to the taste of the dish.


What’s one dish that can never be absent in any dining experience? Chicken. Fried chicken to be exact. Hence, Kuya J’s Fried Chicken is a true bestseller. Crunchy on the outside yet delicately tender on the inside, the chicken is not dry and not stiff. With or without any condiments, their fried chicken is a hit.

Kuya J Restaurant (Davao) is located at the SM Ecoland Annex and SM Lanang Premier Ground Floor (in front of the water fountain).
Follow them on Facebook: @KuyaJResto
Twitter: @KuyaJResto
Instagram: @KuyaJResto

Want to know my latest food finds? Follow me on Instagram @iamleebai and I’ll make you hungry in a snap. For missed features, you can read them on my blog
Happy munching, #royalistas!


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