Lockdown Favorites

April 18, 2021

This post seems to be overdue, however, I suppose that might not be the case. We are exactly in the same circumstance as last year, still at square one, unchanged. (However, I won’t make this as a socially and politically laden piece; there’s a more appropriate platform for that.) Despite the circumstances, people still find reasons to buoyantly go on, while their smattering of absurdism is uncloaked and put to a test. In the last few months, scads of food trends transpired, either as a result of people’s world-weariness or their unleashed creativities. Common themes include brewed coffees, hybrid foods, local takes on international cuisines, and concept stores. Accordingly, below is a curated and digestible guide to the best food trends that Cagayan de Oro City has to offer.


Salt & Sweeter

Moist and fluffy banana loaf, crunchy walnuts, and chunks of sweet chocolate bars are some of the reasons why Salt & Sweeter’s Chunky Chocolate Banana Bread is a must-try! The generous symphony offers that uplifting and homey consolation, brought by home-baked goodies. Aside from the banana cake, its cookies (which come in chocolate chip walnut, red velvet cream cheese, or double chocolate flavors), double dark crinkles, lemon loaf, and pizzas are certainly not to be missed as well.

Beleán Bakehouse

Unleash your inner European spirit with sumptuously authentic pastries from this online patisserie. Springing from the owners’ ardor for buttery and flaky croissants, their treats are baked on the same day they are delivered. Thus, the quality and freshness are favorably guaranteed. (Just how it perfectly pairs with our favorite caffeine!) One can choose among a variety of savory and sweet croissants which includes classic butter, pain au chocolat, almond, bi-colored hazelnut, ham and cheese, and tuna melt. Alternatively, if you are looking for a more refreshing selection, their Danish pastries are topped with either fresh and sweet peach, strawberries, or mangoes.

Dale's Taqueria

Another foodie find that offers a fusion of different culinary elements and tradition is Dale’s Taqueria. It brands itself as the only California-style Mexican food in the city. With an authentic menu that is similar to its Mexican contemporaries and that is reflective of the owner’s passion for cooking, its offerings are truly a feast for the palate; a perfect mix of savory, spicy, salty, and sweet flavors. They specialize in burritos (which come in breakfast, chicken, Cheetos fried chicken, carne asada, birria, and luchador varieties), tacos, quesadillas, loaded fries, and chicken wings.

Why Dough

There are already a lot of mainstream doughnut chains that have opened their branches in the city. Nonetheless, what sets Why Dough apart from them is its artisanal take on this beloved staple, sealed with a touch of freshly baked, homemade goodness. The irresistibly soft dough, topped with either toasted coconut, torched sugar, or cocoa dust, is filled with your own choice of salted dulce de leche, cheesy brulee, or rich coffee hazelnut. They also offer other saccharine classics like food for the gods and walnut fudge brownies.

Bean Park Café

This Seoul-inspired café is a true testament that not even a pandemic can stop the third wave coffee scene from flourishing in the city. With a clean, minimalist theme and occasional vibrancies of pastels and neon, its concept is very reminiscent of street cafes I have been yearning since last year to visit in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Ho Chi Minh, Hong Kong, Tokyo, among others. (No need to travel outside the country, yes?) And, what better way to complement the soothing visuals found inside the café, than the sundry comfort foods! They serve espresso drinks, hand-brewed coffees, iced coffees, milk- and tea-based beverages, lattes, baked creations such as cookies and cheesecakes, and classic snacks like kaya toast, twin onigiri, and Seoul street toast.

Babu Kwan

Babu Kwan has since been synonymous to pioneering halal-certified fusion cuisine in the city, combining integral elements of Moro, Filipino, and other Asian style of cooking. With a well-curated menu of diversified fares and an elaborately embellished Mëranaw-inspired dining area, the restaurant is a go-to place, should you crave epicurean harmony of Asian flavors, or simply crave your auntie or grandma’s comfort dishes. Recently, they reopened their dine-ins and introduced some new modern options, such as baked sushi, breakfast silog meals, burger and sandwiches, noodles, pastas, and maki rolls. Added to those, the classic staples, like randang, chicken satay, chicken piyaparan, and balolons, are worth the try.

Tuesday Café

This new café, with an al fresco cum food truck concept, has been a trendy spot to friends and families alike, as the ambiance is perfectly laidback, whether during blustery afternoons or placid twilights. Although quite outlying from the city center, it is still such a noteworthy place to take a break and chill, or to take Instagram-worthy photos (I suppose this is the most important one :D), while enjoying both their classic and hybrid selections of perfectly brewed coffees or refreshing coolers. They serve Spanish latte, café con panna, coffee masala, emerald isle, matcha, granny smith and blue Milano coolers, monte cristo, creamy chicken pesto, seafood pasta, among others.

Bowerbird Coffee

I was able to feature Bowerbird Coffee before when they opened their artsy hole-in-the-wall around the uptown area. The shop was very much reflective of the amount of creativity and passion that the owner put. After their uptown branch closed, they were catering for various events and were opening fleeting pop-up stores. Thus, their passion for brewing splendidly good-quality coffees never ceased. Last October, they opened their newest branch, now in the downtown area. And, they never fail to deliver, since their coffees and drinks remain topnotch. Their coffee series include iconics (such as cappuccino, cortado, and flat white), perky white (such as café mocha and café tableya), manual brews, cold brews, and latte, while their sparks series may come in rose garden or green spark.

KinLove

One of the food trends that became such an instant hit in the middle of the pandemic was cold brew coffee. Although their aesthetic packaging or containers are enough to catch one’s attention, the most sensible reason for this fad is, perhaps, due to people’s pining for good coffee from their favorite go-to coffee shops, which were mostly unavailable at the start of the pandemic. KinLove is one of the online merchants that satisfied this pining. While it has been primarily known for selling tasteful, customized floral arrangements, they also ventured out to delectable cold brew coffee and drinks. Some of which include iced latte, iced double chocolate, matcha latte, moringa lemonade juice, and milk teas.

Café Perhaps

Located along the busy streets of the city’s downtown area, this recently opened café is very redolent of café culture in many different Asian cities. As you enter the premises, you would walk through the gravel-laden path and would be welcomed by the minimalist, concrete interiors, elaborated by neutral-toned fixtures. It is indeed a wonderful perch to start off the day right with a cup of Joe or to ease off from an eventful day at work. You will find an impressive spread of espressos, tea and soda, frappuccino, boba teas, rice bowls, pasta and fresh salads, pastries, and other finger foods. An aptly named category on their menu is the Spesh, a range of specially curated drinks, which includes Dalgona candy latte, Gangnam caramel, café sua da, among others. 



Have you been to any of these concept stores, or have you ordered from any of these online merchants? What has been your favorite food trend these past months? I would love to hear about your thoughts in the comments section below. 

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