Roxas Night Market: A Must Visit

Table of Contents

When in Davao City and in the mood for food and shopping, go to the Roxas Night Market for the best food and cheapest bargains. The spot become hugely popular among locals and even visitors of Davao City due to its accessibility and the variety of things you can find.

Roxas Night Market is Nirvana for the seasoned bargain hunter and avid street food eater. I dragged my husband to the busy street one Friday night to do both. The Roxas Night Market is located smack in the middle of Roxas Avenue, home to Ateneo de Davao University, Aldevinco Shopping Center and a good number of restaurants, cafes and hotels.

Getting There

Commuting to Roxas Avenue is quite straightforward from anywhere in Davao City. Almost all jeepney routes pass by or through the street so it’s easy to get there. I recommend not bringing a private vehicle to Roxas because parking is very scarce and you wouldn’t want to park in a dimly-lit alley. Police guard the place and secure it but still, play it safe.

The post-pandemic night market is more closely guarded by the local government. Minimum health protocols like wearing of face coverings and social distancing are strictly imposed.

Food You Will Find at the Roxas Night Market

Roxas Night Market is not quite like the night markets like Manila’s Soderno and Mercato Centrale. It is more like Cebu’s Colon Night Market which can be described in the native dialect as “inato”. Roxas Night Market has no elaborate displays of food and goods. Instead, there are makeshift stalls and food carts, small tables and low stools and lots of items to choose from. Items used to be dirt cheap at the Roxas Night Market but inflation and the recent pandemic has lead to higher prices of food and merchandise for sale.

You will find and enjoy the following at the Roxas night Market.

Grilled Food

Sugba is the local term for grilling. If you’re in the mood for a heavy meal, there are stations that offer grilled fresh seafood served with rice and your beverage of choice. Chicken and chicken parts like the liver, gizzard and intestines are also served hot off the grill. Roxas Night Market caters to Muslim visitors and some vendors are also Muslim so pork products are quite uncommon .

You should also try pastil, a rice dish than can be consumed on its own but is best with any grilled treat. The rice is topped with a tasty oily mixture of chicken meat then wrapped in banana leaf that adds aroma. Beware though, chances are you might end up ordering three more helpings after your first. It’s that good!

We recommend starting with seaweed salad made of guso and freshly sliced cucumbers, tomatoes and onions. The vinegar dressing makes this “abre-gana” (appetizer) perfect for the meal to come. An order of kinilaw (local ceviche) made of the freshest tuna is also perfect.

Fresh off the Fryer

Street food all over the world are expectedly greasy, salty, and yummy. Prito is the local term for frying and fried goods are blockbuster items at the Roxas Night Market. Take your pick from fried dumplings, chicken, chicken skin or innards (intestines, liver, or proventriculus). There’s something that will capture your taste buds. Also, the dips are addictive, especially the spicy ones.

Rolls of all sorts are also available for casual snacking. The classics lumpia shanghai (meat filling) and lumpia ubod (vegetable filling) are served alongside new offerings of shrimp rolls, dynamite (filled pepper) rolls, cheese sticks and buchi. Buchi is much like the Korean mochi made of rice flour, filled with ube, cheese, matcha, bean paste or jam, rolled in sesame seeds then deep fried to gooey perfection.

The all-time crowd favorite kwek-kwek is also on offer. The dish is made of hard-boiled egg or balut, slathered in a weird-looking orange batter then deep-fried to a crisp. Kwek-kwek is the perfect dirty low-carb treat with some seaweed, cucumber slices and a vinegar-based sauce.

New foreign-inspired treats like corndogs, potato-swirls, steamed dimsum, and shawarma are also available.

Ice Cream, Coffee and Other Treats

Once you’ve had your fill of grilled and greasy food, you will for sure be looking for palate cleansers. You can find all sorts of beverages at the Roxas Night Market: bottled water, soda, fruit juices, and yes, coconut water straight from the fruit. Slices of fresh green mangoes, papaya, guava, and jicama among others are sold in cups with skewers for easy eating. You have an array of seasonings from plain rock salt, spiced salt, and sinamak vinegar.

The famous Mang Danny’s ice cream is still available at the night market even after Danny has passed in 2020. Other frozen treats like charcoal ice cream (said to help whiten one’s teeth) and popsicles have entered the scene. Coffee and boba milk tea carts have also set up shop at the night market.

Shopping at the Roxas Night Market

After having your fill (or first round) of street food, there’s a lot of shopping and walking that can burn off all those calories. You can find all sorts of merchandise in the shopping section of the night market: thrifted items, phone accessories, high-quality souvenirs, novelty items, and even stickers.

Filipinos are very fond of thrift shopping and Roxas Night Market provides a great venue for this. Being a self-proclaimed expert bargain hunter, I have scored great finds like dresses and shoes for my kids, all below P100 (roughly USD $2).

Locals get access to (questionably) authentic luxury brands Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and Prada. If you look hard enough, you may even find rare sneakers from famous brands like Nike and Balenciaga. Again, shop at your own risk. We cannot guarantee that these products are not knockoffs, some vendors may not even know the difference.

Visitors should visit the Roxas Night Market at least once while in Davao City. Good thing it is open all nights of the week, although the best time to go is during the weekends when the vendors are in full force. See you this weekend!


Related Content

Recent Posts

Stay up to date

Sign up to receive travel tips, resources, and news:

We will never send spam. Your info is kept private and secure.