Visiting Baguio City now doesn’t just mean enjoying the cool air and having a stroll in a place surrounded by pine trees but it has now become a must-visit place for foodies since the city now boasts of news-worthy cafes and restaurants. Of course, there’s still the “favorites” but for me, there’s the thrill in checking out the new ones.
One such cafe that I got to visit on our latest trip to the City of Pines is Cafe Yagam. The place is kinda hard to find since public jeepneys doesn’t pass by the place and some of the cab drivers doesn’t know the place. But don’t fret because I’ll give directions on how to go there. Let’s talk about the food and the cafe first.
Like most cafes, Cafe Yagam used to be an old-house converted into a cafe. It also has a transient area for Japanese guests, but then, that’s a totally different story. Cafe Yagam serves traditional Cordilleran fare and really, really good Arabica coffee. I am not a coffee drinker but I do appreciate ‘good’ coffee. Read more about my coffee 101 here — All About Arabica and Robusta.
What’s nice about the cafe is its rustic interiors that makes it a perfect place to chill out, eat good food, have coffee, or simply just check out the place to buy coffee beans, and other stuff. And did I mention that the place is perfect for Instagram photos also?
So here’s what we ate:
Pinikpikan with Etag, P200.
Pinikpikan is similar to tinola except that the chicken has a smokey flavor and the broth tastes rich and flavored with Etag, or salted cured pork. I love the Etag since it reminded me of bacon although the taste is different. To differentiate it from tinola, Pinikpikan only has sayote and doesn’t have malunggay or sili leaves and that gingery taste. The broth is rich and creamy though but I forgot to ask how they did that. The serving portion is good for sharing and it comes with red rice and dessert.
It's not a visually appealing dish but once you have mustered enough courage to try it, you’ll note its similarity to ginataang puso ng saging with suso, or “agurong.” A bit spicy and there’s also a hint of bitterness to it. Serving portion is good for sharing and it is served with red rice and dessert.
This is similar to lentil soup but uses white beans, kiniing (meat), and vegetables. It has pechay and carrots. Broth is rich and thick because of the beans. I find this dish comforting especially with Baguio’s chilly night air. It is also served with red rice and dessert.
Pinuneg, P200 (Pinuneg Platter, P150).
Now here is my favorite food find- Pinuneg. This is blood sausage mixed with some ground meat and spices, served with red rice, a side dish of stir-fried pechay, and dessert. We’ve been going to Baguio a lot but this is my first time to try and heard of Pinuneg. I was told that Cafe Yagam popularized Pinuneg in Baguio City that there are now several restaurants that serves it on their menu. You can also order a platter of Pinuneg and pair it with cocktail drinks or an iced cold beer.
This is ground sticky rice like mochi but is flattened like lengua and then rolled. It doesn’t have any sugar nor other flavorings. The one that was served to us was purple so I’m guessing they use ‘purple’ rice. It is paired with latek and tagapuot, which is white coconut cream. The way to eat Kiniwar is get a portion of the sticky rice, add some tagapuot and latek. Two thumbs up! I suggest that you pair this dessert with the dark roast coffee.
This is sticky rice with latek (fried coconut bits) similar to the Tagalog’s “sinukmane,” or popularly known as biko.
Overall, The Kitchen Goddess had a very memorable dinner at Cafe Yagam with my Baguio-blogger friend (baguiocityguide.com), Ms. Carla Rosito, owner of Cafe Yagam, and our respective families.
Curious about Cafe Yagam and how to get there? It’s easy, tell the cab driver to bring you to Gibraltar Road (that’s the road leading to Minesview Park, then when you see Hotel Elizabeth, enter that road and pass by the gated condominium, and just a few feet after you’ll see Cafe Yagam on your right.