Maybe because I travel so much, I use durian sessions to keep track of time and places. Sometimes I’ll sit down to durian with old friends, people I’ve known for half my adulthood, and we make a new memory, one more for the log book of our lives together. Sometimes I sit with complete strangers, who become new friends and who keep touch on Facebook, each of their notifications a small reminder of that time and place.
And sometimes there’s both, at the same time, and the durian session quickly feels like one of those extended family meal like we have around the holidays in the United States. They’re both comfortable and slightly awkward.
That’s how I’ll remember the durians we ate at Rosario’s, a family-owned durian restaurant tucked off one of the main roads encircling Bankerohan public Market.
About Rosario’s Durian Restaurant
Rosario’s is a small sit-down durian shop tucked off one of the main roads encircling Bankerohan Public Market.
It’s owned by the Belviz family, who I featured in last week’s post in honor of the family’s patriarch and durian farmer-scientist passing away. The Belviz’s are one of the seminal durian families in Davao, responsible for introducing three durian varieties to the area and for encouraging and educating other durian farmers.
Their durian restaurant has been there since 1992 or 1993. It started as a durian drop-off spot, but as friends and customers started to loiter to chat and eat durian turned into a small cafe where they sell durian and other fruit as well as their durian products and chocolate.
Chocolate, by the way, pairs really well with durian. We highly recommend you try this at Rosario’s.
The shop is a small, inconspicuous place half-hidden by a green awning to protect the fragile fruits inside from the harsh tropical sun.
Stepping under that awning can be a relief.
It’s not that the market is chaotic exactly… it’s just that the market is chaotic.
Bankerohan is the largest outdoor fruit and vegetable market in Davao City. It sprawls for several city blocks, a messy tangle of fruit vendors and rubbish and traffic weaving around each other.
It’s exciting, and stimulating, and definitely worth a visit. But sometimes you need a break.
It’s not totally quiet in the durian restaurant. You can still hear the market, with it’s traffic and vendors vocally advertising their wares, but it’s away from the street, in an enclosed space, in the shade, and there’s a fan.
It’s a place for when you need time to just sit down. To watch the chaos from afar. To meet up with new and old friends.
And to do this:
The Durian Menu at Rosario’s
Choosing which durian to enjoy at Rosario’s may be the hardest part. They serve 9 different varieties, including three that were developed on their own farm.
Luckily, our group kept expanding, meaning we had plenty of tummy room.
We started with the classic Philippines durian, Puyat. Puyat is the durian you can find almost any time of year at most shops, because it’s the only one grown on a commercial level.
This one actually didn’t come from Rosario’s. An Israeli couple, Linoy and her partner, Itamar brought it. This isn’t usually the best practice when visiting another person’s durian shop, but if you buy enough durian typically no one minds.
The Puyat was a bit fibrous and had the classic Chanee-rosewater-and-something-metallic afterbite. It was a good starter, because it made the other durians shine.
Every durian has it’s time and peak season, and D101 was definitely peaking when our group visited Rosario’s. It’s one of the defining parts of that memory now, the way we oohed and aaahed as each opened durian revealed a more beautiful, luscious series of folded cream.
D101, when perfectly ripe, is one of the most fiberless durians, with a thicker slightly waxy skin that bursts when you bite in. It’s great.
Just catch it at the right time of year, with the right group of friends, and you’ll want for no other durian.
I got this durian not because it looked good; in fact it was a bit yellowed and had clearly been cut. The durian server warned me against it, looking at our growing pile of D101 shells and shaking his head.
But I hadn’t yet tasted a GD-69, and I wanted to try. GD-69 is supposedly one of the other most fleshy durians in the Philippines, and is often used for durian chips and jams and other products.
It tasted like Monthong, sweet and slightly like frosting, but nothing really special. I’ll have to try it again when it’s fresher and we’re not so distracted by the D101.
Rosario’s Durian Restaurant is an oasis right in the middle of everything. It’s a place you can get a breather and a belly full of durian at the same time, a pinpoint in the durian map of your life.
I recommend going with friends, so you can taste more durian types, and being open to what’s in season. Just because D101 was banging when we were there doesn’t mean it will when you go there, with your group of friends, to make your own memory.
Be open to the new experience, the new durian, the new friends, and the way durian turns us into a big, happy, overly-satiated, extended family.
(I’m still in touch on Facebook with everyone in the photos above)
Going to Rosario’s in Bankerohan
Rosario’s is on Mafori Street at the corner of A. Pichon Street in Bankerohan Public Market, just across the street from the Fruitasan covered fruit market. You can recognize it by the green awning half-hiding the shop from the street.
Use this durian map to find it, or find other durian places and stories of interest nearby. Each pin has a link to a blog post, so you can easily get the full durian scoop on the Philippines!