Will tell you more later about my milestone trip to Sagada which is one of those places in the Philippines on my bucket
(fucket?) list I guess not many will believe me that I traveled so far to sample the cuisine, because everybody else goes to Sagada to go trekking, spelunking and to feel the cold, cold breeze. I did all those too, but the most enjoyable part for me was being ensconced in some remote coffeeshop just enjoying the good view (there was plenty!)
Here’s a sample, taken at Gaia Cafe and Crafts. Note the rice terraces in the background.
I guess one appeal of Sagada is that it will never have a McDonalds or Jollibee constructed for a good number of years. Its laws prohibit “outsiders” (non-residents or natives of Sagada) from owning land or businesses. So what’s happening is that the locals are showcasing the best of what they have to offer in terms of food.
The vegetarian adobo (P100) at Gaia, an organic restaurant, was divine. I never thought a meat eater like me could love this – gluten chunks instead of pork, mountain-fresh carrots & potatoes with the perfect braise of naturally-brewed soy sauce and vinegar. I enjoyed this with their guyabano-soy milk smoothie (P60).
Dessert was “Sweeter Fries” (P85) – more popularly known hereabouts as kamote cue, but placed a notch higher with anise-flavored muscovado sugar & black sesame seeds. So good that everything on the plate was wiped out, except the steel fork that came with it
Once, while walking uphill in the cold breeze, we chanced upon a sign for Rock Inn. It felt like we were already walking for an eternity when we finally arrived. It was quite far! But somehow, I just felt refreshed enjoying the beautiful gardens and rustic interiors in this place. Here’s Cafe Bodega, their open-air coffeeshop.
I normally don’t like ingesting dairy products (woe is me!) but their Full House Yoghurt (P115) was love. A healthy dose of yoghurt with granola, bananas and strawberry preserve. Sagada is Yoghurt Country and this was the best bowl I tasted.
Note: I just don’t recommend their other breakfast specialties like tapsilog. Overdone eggs and small servings for the price (P190 per plate).
Misty Lodge was my other favorite restaurant, mainly because it was near the place we stayed. Their cozy atmosphere and yummy yoghurt cheesecake (P85 a slice) are highly recommended.
They also have steaks, pizzas and gourmet burgers. (price point: P170 to P250)
Other great eats:
Don’t leave town without tasting this pie at The Sagada Lemon Pie House. And it’s only 25 pesos.
The Yoghurt House also had good, generous food servings but staff tend to be rude. Tourists tend to overrate them for lack of knowledge on other out-of-the-way restaurants in town. Veggies are abundantly planted high up in the Sagada mountains and this vegetable plate with eggplant dressing was the freshest ever.
For a place so remote, Sagada’s cuisine turned out to be quite sophisticated. I will surely miss eating here.