Sisig, ice cream, and lechon – at least one of these 3 foods is every Filipino’s favorite treat/s to indulge in. The ingredients for each of these would be particularly what you’d expect: assorted meats for sisig, milk, and cream for ice cream, and pork for lechon. But did you know that there are crocodile versions of these 3 exact foods? Yes, you read that right!
The Davao Crocodile Park & Zoo
Hearing about the existence of crocodile sisig, ice cream, and lechon must have made you wonder where they get the crocodiles they need to incorporate into their food. Well, the Davao Crocodile Park & Zoo, of course!
We’ll dive deeper into how crocodiles are made into these seemingly unrelated foods further on, but for now, let’s talk about the crocodile park.
The late Philip Dizon’s fascination with crocodiles eventually led him to acquire a business permit in 1995 to operate a crocodile business after learning how profitable these ventures are in the U.S. A decade later; he opened the park together with consultant Dr. Gilbert Buenviaje. Today, the park is a technologically advanced facility that specializes in crocodile farming and attracts tourists with its wide range of exotic animals. The establishment is also actively involved in scientific research, often hosting public lectures on its animals as well as their conservation.
Crocodile Ice Cream
If you’re looking for an exotic ice cream flavor, look no further than Davao’s Crocodile Ice Cream! It’s exactly what it sounds like – ice cream infused with crocodile eggs and a flavor with hints of crocodile meat incorporated into it. What a bizarre combination, one that seems to be a huge hit with people all over the country.
The mastermind behind this unusual concoction is chef and entrepreneur Bianca Dizon. The now-famous ice cream is the result of countless experiments conducted on crocodile eggs as a key ingredient that replaces regular eggs. The chef sourced these eggs from the Davao Crocodile Park & Zoo, making sure that the eggs they use are infertile.
Sisig is a dish reinvented by Lucia Cunanan into a world-renowned Filipino staple. It’s a perfect companion to cold beers on a hot summer day, and sparked a worldwide interest into Filipino cuisine. However, have you ever heard of Sisig using crocodiles as its main meat component?
At Riverwalk Grill, the crocodile’s belly meat is processed into cubes, seasoned with vinegar, calamansi juice, and finally, served with chopped onions on a sizzling plate! Customers love the dish, with a local taxi driver, Ramon Lee, saying that ‘the meat tastes like chicken.’
Adding to its extensive list of crocodile foods, the Davao Crocodile Park & Zoo has added a special item to their culinary catalog: crocodile lechon. This seemingly does not make sense if you’re only just hearing about it, but those who got the opportunity to sample this exotic dish beg to differ!
The crocodilian grilled dish proved to be an instant hit with locals and visitors alike. Most describe the taste as somewhere between chicken and pork, and it’s considered to be incredibly healthy, as it has little to no fat content.
If you ever see yourself visiting Mindanao, and particularly Davao, be sure to head to the Davao Crocodile Park & Zoo at Maa! You’re going to come across some highly exotic flavors and sights that you’re not likely to forget.