Dumaguete City is a beautiful seaside town with a diverse and rich cultural heritage. The city prides itself as being a modern community yet it still keeps its old traditions alive.

The best way to immerse oneself in a particular region’s culture is to eat like a local. And that’s exactly what we did during our recent trip to Dumaguete City. Its food scene offers a good mix of traditional and modern cuisine, catering to the myriad tourists that flock the city. Being a waterfront settlement, expect seafood to be abundant, readily available and affordable at Dumaguete.

First off, begin your day with a filling breakfast in one of the painitans at the Dumaguete Public Market. We chose Sison’s Painitan at the farthest end of a row of stalls. Painitan is a place where workers and just about anybody else can have something “mainit” or warm to fill their bellies and energize their bodies in anticipation of a long day of work.

Dumaguete City
Sison’s Painitan

Food here is very basic — a shot of thick native chocolate drink, a cup of brewed coffee with condensed milk, a scoop of puto (sticky rice cooked in coconut milk and a little salt), a piece or two of kabog (similar to suman or steamed cassava roll wrapped in banana leaf) and maybe bread with either margarine or peanut butter.

Dumaguete City
Breakfast of budbud kabug, puto and tsokolate

A word of caution though, this is not for the posh or luxe traveler but it’s probably the most immersive gastronomical experience that one could get in Dumaguete.

Dumaguete City
Budbud Kabug

Don’t worry though, if this is not your thing, because there are many other restaurants in Dumaguete that serves good breakfast food. Head over to Sans Rival Cakes and Pastries, Gabby’s Bistro, The Rollin’ Pin, Jo’s Chicken Inato, Hayahay Restaurant for a variety of Filipino and continental breakfast meals.

When we arrived from our Manjuyod trip, we asked the receptionist at Golden Gate Suites for recommendation on where to get the best and most affordable seafood meals in Dumaguete. Without second thought, she said we should try Lantaw Native Restaurant, about 15 minutes away from downtown Dumaguete via tricycle.

Dumaguete City
Lantaw Native Restaurant

One thing striking about Lantaw (“to foresee” in English) is its interiors embellished with Filipino decorations. The entire ceiling is covered with bilao (native woven tray) while the main counter featured the entire forepart of a jeepney. It’s a big, high-ceilinged restaurant that is perfect for casual diners or those holding an event.

Dumaguete City
Inside the spacious interiors on Lantaw
Dumaguete City
Our seat

We ordered a feast — grilled tanigue, cheesy baked oysters, garlic buttered prawns and kangkong adobo. Dessert, meanwhile, is moist and warm bibingka ala mode. We have nothing but praises for these amazing dishes. Quality, taste, freshness and price were all noteworthy. Every visitor in Dumaguete should put Lantaw Native Restaurant in their itinerary.

Dumaguete City
Baked oysters
Dumaguete City
Grilled tanigue
Dumaguete City
Adobong kangkong
Dumaguete City
Garlic Butter Shrimp
Dumaguete City
Moist and warm bibingka a la mode
Dumaguete City
Buko shake

After a savory meal, a good dessert should always be in order. For your sweet fix, have a slice of sans rival or a piece or two of silvanas at Sans Rival Cafe & Restaurant, perhaps one of the most recognizable landmarks in the city. Pair it with a cup of coffee and you’re good to go.

Dumaguete City
Sans Rival Bistro
Dumaguete City
A brief history of the restaurant printed in their menu
Dumaguete City
Sans rival, silvanas and coffee

The night scene at Dumaguete is not as bustling as, say Boracay, save for a few bars that feature live acoustic music. In the evening though, Rizal Boulevard comes alive with stalls selling Dumaguete’s most famous street food — tempura and seafood roll.

Dumaguete City
Tempura and seafood roll

Tempura is not the japanese dish that we are all familiar with. It’s more similar to kikiam, both in taste and form. The seafood roll, meanwhile, is a tasty morsel made of fish and vegetables. Tempura is Php4/piece while seafood roll is Php7/piece. Sauces are a choice of sweet, sweet spicy and spicy vinegar. There are tables set up at each stall where patrons can comfortably eat. Drinks, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, are likewise sold.

Dumaguete City
Evening street scene along Rizal Boulevard

These are just a handful of restaurants to check out in Dumaguete. There are many more places to explore in the city, just ask around especially tricycle drivers who never run out of good recommendations. Just always remember to eat like a local in order to best experience the culture and uniqueness of the place you are visiting.


Related Posts:

  1. A Review of Anika Island Resort, our home in Bantayan Island
  2. Atmosphere Resort & Spa: A Luxury Resort with a heart for the Environment
  3. Negros Oriental Diaries: Where to Stay in Dumaguete City
  4. Negros Oriental Diaries: Manjuyod Sandbar and Dumaguete City
  5. Journeying through Bantayan Island
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Author: Ivan Jose

Narrating stories from the perspective of two souls who are both devoid of pretensions or appetite for anything ostentatious. This blog is about living life, pursuing passions, realizing dreams, appreciating culture and history, and just being happy.

16 Replies to “Negros Oriental Diaries: Dumaguete City Food Guide

  1. You tasted the food of all kinds! I completely agree on your point to eat like locals to know the city better. Really great variety of food but I would like to have that chocolate drink!

  2. I loved the first place you mentioned (Sison’s painitan) for a very basic breakfast. I like to experience life as a local and try to avoid the tourist trap when i’m travelling to different countries and this place speaks of local eateries.

  3. Good post, thanks for showing the underrated eating spots in dumaguete along with the already famous restaurants. Try visiting our website dumagueteneo.com. You can book tours there and find restaurants, see listings on houses for sale. It’s cheaper and easier for the people to get around and know the town. Thanks for sharing!!

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