The Heavenly Food of Benguet

Although the Cordillera mountain range supplies 80% of the Philippines’ daily vegetables requirements, the folks here actually prefer to eat meat, smoked, boiled and grilled using the simplest cooking techniques often with long preparation times. The fresh and healthy dishes plus the cold weather and amazing environment is perfect to have a break and just relax. Enjoy the good food.

Our first stop in Baguio was at Good Taste. We had a brewed Arabica coffee, molo soup, fried rice with longanisa and egg on the side. That’s enough for each of us to go on our day. Next stop is Cafe by the Ruins.

The thatched wood interior of Baguio’s most beloved restaurant is awash in foliage and sculpted wood. Its wide reaching menu is equally appealing, from the homemade breads and spreads to organic salads, imaginative sandwiches and superlative dishes such as the shrimp and mango curry and Baguio bagnet. Cafe by the ruins was originally established as a hangout for artists’ and to showcase their works.

I ordered their Espresso ala Ruins which is a single or double shot Espresso. I’m a bit sleepy at the time and need something strong to wake up my soul.

Fresh strawberries and cream. A plate full of strawberries and other fruits with whipped cream. I was surprised that they served us this because I didn’t order anything aside from the coffee but it turns out one of us has a tooth for sweets.

After a short coffee and sweets break at Cafe by the Ruins we continued our main objective in Benguet. The next morning on our rented Airbnb house, the host prepared us a breakfast before we check out. And of course, coffee is always welcome so Direk Lino and Brian, which is our head barista at Luna prepared a small coffee session.

First was a pour over coffee using Peaberry beans, mild grind and poured to perfect temperature. Look at that sexy kettle and the flow of water. Next up is via Moka Pot using the same beans but fine grind this time.

The Moka Pot, also known as a macchinetta or literally a small machine, is a stove top or electric coffee maker that produces coffee by passing boiling water pressurized by steam through ground coffee.

Our breakfast for the day is a sliced egg roll with fresh vegetables or also known as Rolled Omelette sliced into bite size. Rolled Omelette is typically made with one or two types of chopped vegetables, most commonly with scallions and carrots. The filling options are endless, you can opt for or a combination of onion, mushrooms, zucchini, broccoli, bell peppers, cabbage, ham, bacon and cheese.

Chicken balls are also served with homemade tomato sauce. Not shown is vegetable salad with Nutella as dip sauce. The dish consists of small chunks of fried chicken breast meat covered in a crispy batter coating.

After we checked out on our homestay in La Trinidad, we headed straight back to Baguio for Chocolate de Batirol. It is a Filipino Cafe specializing in hot, thick, bittersweet tsokolate drink made from local cacao beans.

The chocolate drink is made traditionally using a metal pot where you use a wooden rod aka batirol that you rotate by hand to mix and make it deliciously thick. There are three variations of Chocolate de Batirol, namely; Baguio Blend with Strawberry, Traditional Blend and Choco Mallows. We ordered their Traditional Blend and paired it with Suman sa Lihia.

The suman is a moist sticky rice cake topped with coconut and brown sugar. This is a popular merienda in the provinces and this Baguio version of suman is much more thick in taste than from other provinces. I love the location of Chocolate de Batirol, it is like a garden shack with at the entrance of a forest. This sums up our visit in La Trinidad and Baguio and I will definitely visit these places again whenever I’m in Benguet area.

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