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Crocodile Ice Cream: Davao's exotic delight

Ice cream is undoubtedly one of the favorite frozen desserts – a perfect dessert for a hot summer afternoon and a great go-to comfort food. In fact, TasteAtlas recently listed ice cream as among the most popular frozen desserts in the world.

Its versatility with endless variations and flavors offers every ice cream lover endless options to satisfy their cravings and confuse their taste buds.

From simple and classic flavors such as chocolate and vanilla, tropical flavors like mango and passion fruit, to the most complex and exotic flavors such as the Squid ink ice cream in South Korea and the bizarre crocodile ice cream in Davao City.

Recently, exotic-flavored ice creams have been stealing the spotlight on the stage of seemingly endless ice cream possibilities, and Davao City's Crocodile ice cream is no exception.

This unique ice cream has been playing the curious mind of the people who heard it for the first time, leaving them puzzled as to how come a not-so-desirable-looking reptile fits onto an ice cream cone.

For about 12 years, crocodile ice cream has been offering an exotic yet daring culinary adventure among tourists in Davao City.

Being only served in Davao City, this decadent ice cream is a must-try when when you’re in town.

The crocodile ice cream was a product of ice cream fascination by a Davao City-based entrepreneur and chef Bianca Dizon when they opened the Sweet Spot Ice Cream shop in 2011 within the premises of the Davao Crocodile Park & Zoo in Maa, Davao City.

Dizon revealed that the crocodile ice cream was the result of extensive research and countless experiments, particularly on using eggs as a key ingredient in making ice cream.

Durian-flavored crocodile ice cream (front) and Pandan-flavored crocodile ice cream with crocodile meat bits (back) are consistently among the best-seller. (Photo courtesy of Sweet Spot)

“Apparently, there are 13 kinds (eggs experimented), but mostly birds. But there was one, crocodile, so I told my dad, he said we have a lot of infertile eggs. So ‘yun (that was it) we experimented, and the outcome was edible, masarap naman (it's delicious),” she explained.

To have variations of crocodile ice cream in terms of flavors, she then further experimented incorporating local fruits, chocolate, among others, and came up with their three signature crocodile ice cream flavors – durian, chocolate, and coffee, all are sourced locally.

However, the fascination did not stop there; She experimented by adding small bits of crocodile meat to the ice cream.

“There’s another flavor where we put crocodile meat by bits, bits of crocodile meat. We add like pandan baka malangsahan sila (We add pandan as flavor because people might smell or taste stale or fishy),” she explained.

At present, all of their crocodile ice cream flavors, including the pandan-flavored crocodile ice cream with crocodile meat bits, are constantly their best-sellers.

She noted, “Curious talaga yung mga visitors dito because maybe they’ve heard about it, they’ve seen it on YouTube. 

(The visitors here are really curious because maybe they've heard about it, they've seen it on YouTube). They look for this, and so far, wala talagang bad reaction (so far there is no bad reaction at all).”

Dizon clarified that the process of making crocodile ice cream is just the same as how regular ice creams are made.

The ice cream crew at Sweet Spot Ice Cream attends to the orders of the visitors and tourists who want to try the crocodile ice cream.

“The way we cook it, the way we prepare it, lahat (all) the same except the eggs that we use,” she said.

Dizon mentioned that what sets a crocodile egg apart from a regular chicken egg is its viscosity, a quality she believes contributes to the creamier and thicker texture of crocodile ice cream compared to regular ice cream.

“The only difference between the crocodile egg and the regular egg is yung viscosity 'nya, medyo thicker lang yung crocodile egg compared to the regular egg (The only difference between the crocodile egg and the regular egg is its viscosity, the crocodile egg is a bit thicker compared to the regular egg),” she explained.

As to health benefits, Dizon affirmed that “crocodile meat is one of the healthiest meats that we can eat because crocodile is all lean, they have very little fat and high in protein.”

She said that crocodile eggs are healthy alternatives, as they are high in lecithin, a naturally occurring fat that helps lower high blood pressure, can improve cholesterol levels, and may reduce your overall risk for heart disease.

“If you’re talking about how you can use it in culinary, you can use it basically like the way you use chicken egg – you can fry it, scramble it, to use it for baking,” she said.

Furthermore, contrary to popular opinion, Dizon emphasized that they followed strict rules in terms of utilizing crocodile eggs and meat for their food and non-food products.

For instance, they are only using the infertile crocodile eggs to not compromise the population of crocodiles in the farm, thereby repurposing eggs that might otherwise go to waste.

“Hindi pwede fertile kasi counted yan, gina-record talaga yan lahat (We can't use fertile crocodile eggs because it's all counted),” she said.

The Sweet Spot Ice Cream shop at Davao Crocodile Park & Zoo that serves crocodile ice cream.

At the Davao Crocodile Park & Zoo, where they obtain crocodile eggs from both saltwater and freshwater crocodiles, Dizon mentioned that they conduct a manual examination of all crocodile eggs to distinguish between fertile and infertile ones. Furthermore, Dizon revealed that they adhere to specific guidelines regarding when and how many crocodiles to butcher for their meat.

“Meron kailangan talaga. hindi pwede yung ganito lang size sa crocodile i-katay, hindi pwede dapat may certain age and length (They are really necessary. It is not possible to butcher this size of crocodile, it must be according to a certain age and length),” she pointed out the importance of establishing their own guidelines on slaughtering crocodiles.

Some visitors and tourists make a stop at Sweet Spot Ice Cream to take a bite of the famous crocodile ice cream.

Over the years, the crocodile ice cream has become a significant attraction at Davao Crocodile Park & Zoo. Interestingly, they have chosen not to establish additional crocodile ice cream shops outside the park but rather maintain the primary ice cream shop within the park. A serving of an 8oz cup of crocodile-flavored ice cream is priced at P120.

For Dizon, the crocodile ice cream is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure that everyone must experience at least once in their lives.

“Just feel adventurous because we only live once and you can only find this in Davao,” she said.

Indeed, a visit to Davao City would be incomplete and less memorable without checking off one of the must-try experiences in the city - indulging in crocodile ice cream. (ASO/PIA-XI)

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Antonino Oblianda

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