KEx Tour ‘18 Chronicles: Part 1

November 30, 2018

Cagayan de Oro has, by its looks and by the numbers, blossomed into one of the country’s most pivotal socioeconomic hubs. Along with such momentum in development, the culinary scene has contemporaneously thrived to make its strides in regaling the local and outside markets, alike. To showcase this exemplary elaboration, the CDO Bloggers Network spearheaded a, hopefully, annual Kagay-an Experience Tour wherein homegrown restaurants and cafés were featured. Content creators and bloggers from Iligan City and Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon were also invited to take part in this remarkable food crawl.

Again, most of the places we visited were homegrown, espousing the appreciation to local culinary fares while promoting businesses which trace its roots from the city. Since the city has been a cradle of different ethnicities from Christians, Moros, Lumads to foreigners, the Kagay-anon cookery has been heavily influenced by the interactions of this group, creating a thin line between the original local finds from the hybrid versions of nonnative dishes.

Bigby's Café and Restaurant

Setting, once again, the “Come Home to Bigby’s” theme, this proudly homegrown Kagay-anon restaurant has continuously been offering much pursued comfort foods, from steaks, salads, pastas, and sandwiches, to refreshments and hefty desserts, that usually come by generous amounts of serving. Along with its sister restaurants, Boy Zugba, The Nest, and Missy Bonbon, Bigby’s never falls behind on its approach in providing both quality and quantity among its distinguished array of specialties and on its harmonious conception between an adventurous life and the comfort of being at home. On the other hand, they presented their seasonal all-time favorite Christmas Pineapple Ball Ham. A sure feast to the palate, this premium quality ham is an fusion of flavors among the tender pork meat, luscious pineapple glaze and syrup, and broiled vegetables at the sides.

Cucina Higala

Branded by the City Health Office as “The Best Restaurant in Cagayan de Oro,” Cucina Higala boasts Mindanaon heritage cuisines on its menu, through its own renditions of dishes hailing from the island. Among its bestsellers are Surol Chicken, a chicken stew with coconut milk from Camiguin; Sinuglaw, a raw fish dish, mixed with coconut milk, aromatic vegetables, and  grilled pork, from Cagayan de Oro; Humba, slow-cooked pork on sweet black soybean sauce, still from Cagayan de Oro; and Beef Rendang, a Mëranaw beef stew on charred coconut milk, paired with palapa. Sweet treats include Sizzling Binaki with Caramel Sauce, Old-fashioned Tablea Chocolate Cake, and Mango Mambo Cake.

Pane e Dolci

To take a break from the ordinary (Or shall I say from the feast-like servings of the previous restaurants), we took a halt at this coffee shop, known for their pasalubong-perfect Sylvanas, a cookie version of the Sansrival, made by delectable buttercream perfectly sandwiched in between two cashew-meringue wafers. We also had a crash course on the differences among first, second, and third wave coffees, with a special exhibition on manual coffee preparation of cappuccino and caffè Americano.

Boy Zugba

A kusina Bisaya-themed food destination, specializing in upscale Kagay-anon home-cooked meals, setting a mood for new dinning experiences for big groups such as barkadas and families. This hole-in-the-wall is known for its wittily constructed menu, inspired from karenderias and eats at home, a modern take as a down-to-earth food destination. Dishes presented were Sinuglaw de Cagayan, served in a hollowed bamboo branch; Sospa (Sisig Oh! Salad Pa!), a hybrid recipe of kiping and sisig; Pork Barbecue and Chicken Inasal; and Bandihadong Krispy, a set of calamares, fried chicken, kropeck, and lumpia.

Krispy Kreme Limketkai

In line with the Yuletide season Krispy Kreme in Cagayan de Oro launched their 2018 holiday doughnuts which comes in two waves of product line-ups. The first wave includes Peppermint Cake, Santa, and Holiday Glitz in strawberry and lime flavors, which will be released from Nov. 16 to Dec. 31. Meanwhile, the second wave, to be released on Dec. 1 to Dec. 31, will highlight Holiday Sprinkles, Rudolph, Snowball, Holiday Bright, and Holiday Tree. All of which are adorned with Christmas trinkets and symbols, made even more special by Krispy Kreme’s doughnuts dipped in varieties of chocolate and icing.

Chingkee Tea

This quaint tea house is known for its authentic Taiwanese milk teas and fruit teas, suited for everyone’s liking. Flavors include wintermelon, black sugar, honeydew, cookies and cream, taro, caramel, blueberry, among others. One can also enhance their milk tea experience with the available add-ons such as rock salt and cheese, ice cream, pearls, chocolate pudding, coffee jelly, and nata de coco. In addition to dainty and refreshing thirst-quenchers, fit for small talks or as a solitary companion, Chingkeetea is known for its genially enviable interiors. Its Velez branch, for instance, is saturated with wood and rustic notions and autumnal schemes, a definite feast for all senses.

The Kagay-an Experience Tour was a dedicated approach in promoting and exploring the best finds in the city. And, what are other great ways to get the hang of a place than its food, right?

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