During our first night in Davao, we decided to go to the Matina Town Square, a complex of shops, restos and bars, for dinner. I had imagined it to be a fairly upscale place, which proved NOT to be the case - it reminded me of Tiendesitas!
Anyways, I had heard of Aling Foping's Halo-Halo (via Instagram), so even if i wasn't feeling quite well with a dry cough and cold, this proved not to be a deterrent to try their halo-halo.
The order process starts by getting the selection list (pictured below). Basically, you customize your halo-halo by specifying which six (6) ingredients you want it to contain. If you want to pile it on relentlessly (like moi), you just pay extra - PHP20.00 for leche flan (creme caramel) and ube (purple yam), and PHP14.00 for the other ingredients.
Then you pay at the counter, and after a couple of minutes' wait, they call your number and you get your customized halo-halo.
I really wouldn't say Aling Foping's is the best halo-halo ever, but it is quite good. It is chunky - you feel like you are biting into a lot of things, as compared to the more simple Kabigting's (the worst halo-halo ever, in my humble opinion) or Razon's of Pampanga. It is ideal for people who like to have lots of different ingredients.
We also dropped by BluGre Coffee, a homegrown coffee chain known for using the exotic fruit durian in their concoctions. By way of background, the durian is known for its awful smell.
This smell (or more accurately, stench) has been described by food writer Richard Sterling as 'pig-shit, turpentine and onions, garnished with a gym sock'. The New York Times allowed that 'when ripe, it can smell like a dead animal'. Hmm, not very inspiring, huh? :D
But on the other hand, the taste has been described as 'heavenly' and 'custardy'. So it can't be all that bad, right?
BluGre has two items on their drinks list which are infused with the durian flavor, namely: Durian Coffeeccino (hot), and the Durian Arctic Blast Ice Blended (cold).
We tried both drinks, and once you get past that distinct durian taste, they were actually good. We also ordered the Durian Dulce de Leche Cheesecake [sorry, no photo due to low-light conditions]; and it had good texture and a sweetish, pleasant taste. I wouldn't mind eating more of it in the future!
Moral of the story: (Tell your friends to) stay away from durian, but (let them) eat durian cheesecake.