Ellen’s Tuna Queen
As my first entry to this travel/food blog, I will write about this Davao’s best kept secret that blown me away.
Many have heard about this house-turned-carinderia hidden inside DBP village in Ma-a, but only a few has actually come to know the place because first, it’s out of the way for some non-serious food trippers and second, they are just too hungry to look for it. Lucky me, when the time came that I can no longer hold my curiosity, my brother was free to drive and have dinner with me at Ellen’s Tuna Queen. Apparently, he already knew where it was so it just took us less than a 5-minute drive from my spa to the home of the famous Paksiw na Buntot ng Tuna.
Upon entering Ma-a Road from McArthur Highway, look on the left side of the road opposite NCCC Mall’s Vehicle entrance, turn to the street corner after Ortiz Dental Clinic and there’s only one house there that looks like a restaurant. For sure you will find cars parked outside, and that’s it, you’ve arrived.
The place is quaint and homey, air-conditioned and clean creating an authentic lutong-bahay ambiance.
What’s more impressive is Ellen, the owner herself is there supervising if not doing the actual cooking. It feels like coming to your favorite auntie’s home and dining on her specialty.
We ordered Lechon Kawali and the Paksiw na Buntot ng Tuna.
The Lechon Kawali was so crispy! and more delicious if paired with the pickled papaya that comes with it. But you don’t come to the place for the Lechon Kawali, the Paksiw na Buntot ng Tuna is the queen of the house! I don’t eat paksiw but this is the biggest exception! The tuna is soft and moist, cooked just right and no overpowering vinegar taste and smell. Just a hint of sourness and saltiness that made me want to slap my brother’s hand ever time he gets some, for P120 per tail, I had to share it with him. I swear I can finish one serving by myself and 1 rice cooker of steamed rice. I don’t think there’s another restaurant who serves it so just for that reason alone, the place is worth the travel if you’re coming from the north part of Davao. If I just knew about it months ago, I could have brought my friends there who came all the way from Kuwait and US to visit me, I’m sure they’d love it too.
I read that the halo-halo here is popular too but my palate wasn’t too impressed. You can skip it and just drive directly to the nearby MTS and have Aling Floppings Halo-halo instead.