Honoring my Mother: Savoring Memories like fried chicken

I was once told that the restaurant where my friend and I had dinner the other night was a local branch of one of the oldest restaurants in the country.

But of course, I already knew because, this long ago back in the 70s when I was still playing with a band in Manila, we used to frequent another of its branches near Malate and Roxas Boulevard, and ordered nothing but their famous fried chicken.

Truth be told, the distinct flavor of Savory’s had not changed a bit since I first tasted it. Because of this, our dinner slowly began to elicit memories of what I loved about Manila then, and looking at the framed pictures of that old city on the walls, naturally segued to realizing how much I have missed the old Davao too.

I remember my childhood as being wrapped around the taste of Mang Caloy Millete’s fried chicken down at Molave. It had the same peculiar flavor, look and taste as Savory’s, but this was proudly our own, and the thought continually played in my mind during the course of our meal.

Davao at that time wasn’t the busy metro it is now, and as you knew almost everybody then, the places to frequent and have a meal with your parents and fam were likewise well-visited and popular with any true-blue Davaeño of the time. If you wanted Halo-halo, there was the Three Sisters at San Pedro. The best ice cream could be had at Merco near the junction of Claveria and Uyanguren (still called Acacia because of the gigantic tree near the road). For Chinese fare, the whole area near Uyanguren was the ideal place. Also, walking distance from Apo View was the immortal Dencia’s, where Filipino, American and Chinese cuisine was always served hot. Luz Kinilaw was already at its birth throes, but visitors have begun to take heed. Lastly, for fried chicken, you simply headed on without a second choice and proceeded to Molave down Claveria.

Nowadays, if one just focused on this BFF (best fried fowl), things will surely take a turn from simple to complicated. With the number of styles at preparing fried chicken, as done by the same equal number of food establishments operating in the city, one might as well daringly try them all and declare himself as fried chicken connoisseur non-compare. Consider this; there’s spicy, greasy, crunchy, original (?), as well as medium-rare (with blood still in the bones) and of course, the super-dry and tasteless variety they peddle at the sidewalk and inside subdivision streets nowadays.

While some may say that it’s just nature taking its “course,” the sad truth is, the meals of my youth, to my utter distaste, have slowly been overrun by the unsavory and impersonal fast-food-fast-life world of today. Much like life. And love. Whatever.

May I have the bill please.

Posted in Opinion