One of the best things about traveling to new places? Trying out the authentic, local cuisine you won't find anywhere else.
The Cordilleran diet is rich in salty, savory meats and crisp vegetables. Immersion may be the ideal way to experience and understand another culture, but you don't necessarily have to trek the mountains in order to taste authentic Cordilleran food. In fact, you don't have to go any further than downtown Baguio!
1. Café Cueva, Ili-Likha Artist Village
If you find yourself on Session Road and at a loss for where to have lunch, just make a right turn onto Assumption Road and head over to Ili-Likha Artist Village. You'll find authentic Cordilleran food at Café Cueva, as well as healthy options for those concerned about their cholesterol levels and blood pressure. Café Cueva gets its name from its original location in the village which made it look like it was inside a cave ("kuweba" in Filipino).
As Filipinos, we love our rice, but you'd be surprised how some Filipino food goes quite well with the right kind of bread. Café Cueva's kiniing wrap is an excellent example. Kiniing is meat that has been salted and smoked often over eucalyptus wood. This process preserves the meat and gives is a distinctly strong flavor. The kiniing is served with vegetables in Italian ciabatta bread.
Café Cueva, Ili-Likha Artist Village
2600 Baguio City
(02) 74 442 4880
Daily, 8AM - 8PM
2. Farmer's Daughter
Culminate a trip to Tam-awan Village with a hearty meal at Farmer's Daughter. It's one of those places where you know offers truly Cordilleran. They do not serve fusion dishes, only honest-to-goodness, authentic Ibaloi fare. The restaurant is unapologetically traditional in the best way, thanks to the fresh ingredients and coconut shell bowls.
Don't be shy about asking questions before you order. There is a good variety of protein-rich dishes to try. Whatever meat viand you decide on, however, be sure to order pakpako salad on the side. This humble dish uses ferns instead of lettuce, as ferns are more readily available in many areas. It makes for a crunchy and refreshing side dish to balance out the strong flavors that usually come with Cordilleran meats.
Long Long Benguet Road
Awan Village Baguio 2601 Benguet
(02) 74 428 1253
Daily, 9AM - 8PM
3. Café Yagam
Merienda is part of everyday Filipino life that we sometimes neglect when work gets hectic. Make it a point to slow down in the afternoon and enjoy it while you're in Baguio. Visit Café Yagam and sample their kiniwar and freshly brewed coffee, which is especially comforting in rainy weather.
Many Filipino cuisines incorporate rice into desserts and snacks like suman, puto, kutsinta, and sapin-sapin, to name just a few. Kiniwar is the northern version of glutinous rice cake. They serve it hot with tagapulot (unrefined muscovado sugar) sauce and ladek. The top layer of ladek, which is also called latik, gives the indulgence in this dessert.
25 J.Felipe Street
(074) 442 3805
Daily, 11AM - 11PM
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