A tour of Dumaguete will never be complete without a morning fill of sticky rice and ripe mango paired with native hot chocolate. Where else can this divine breakfast be best available in the city except at the eateries in a public market.
Every time I visit Dumaguete for a summer theater workshop, my artist-friend and hostess would always schedule a weekend morning to enjoy budbud in one of the painitan (morning eateries) at the public market. Budbud is a native delicacy similar to the Thai sticky rice which is actually glutinous rice simmered in coconut milk and sugar. Budbud kabog, a variation with millet that accentuates the flavor of coconut milk, comes as a roll with blunt sweetness typically wrapped in coconut or banana leaves. The painitan is known throughout the city as serving this traditional delicacy complimented with slices of sweet ripe mango and native hot chocolate.
Many locals and visitors who take advantage of the early morning breeze of coastal Dumaguete jog or walk back and forth along the picturesque boulevard. At 5 am or even earlier, people start to arrive in their exercise outfits and soon after, would start their exercise regimen. Most of them would go straight to the painitan to have their carbo reloading after sweating it out. That’s why it’s best to go to the eateries early so as not to catch the horde of hungry folks who will easily occupy all the benches and chairs.
If you arrive past 7 am on weekends, don’t expect to be seated soon. Worst, there’ll be no more budbud, mango or chocolate available. But don’t worry. In case there will be a shortage of budbud, the eateries also serve local breads, fried eggs, hotdogs, and native coffee. If worse comes to worst, just do some shopping and then cook your own breakfast at home or go straight to an open fastfood chain such as Scooby’s, Jollibee, Chowking or McDonald’s. But mind you, nothing beats the taste of Dumaguete’s traditional budbud breakfast.