Baguio eats: Head to this restaurant for a literal taste of blood

Barbie Salvador-Muhlach

Posted at Oct 31 2018 06:02 AM

BAGUIO CITY – The summer capital attracts all sorts of crowds year-round but more so during the holidays like Halloween. 

Of course a trip to the City of Pines won’t be complete without tasting the local flavors. For newbies and those who prefer the classics, that means anything and everything strawberry and ube. 

But for others who crave for something different, we have the perfect place for you: Café Yagam.

The restaurant is not exactly new. It’s been around since mid-2010. But while it has scored excellent reviews online, it’s still not as mainstream as the likes of Café Batirol and Café by the Ruins. 

For one, the location is a bit hard to find, especially at night. Nestled at the upper side of Baguio, the small café is in the middle of a residential area and away from the touristy crowds of the city’s downtown. The roads leading to it are also dark and quiet. 

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Cafe Yagam is tucked away in a residential area in Baguio. Photo by author

Needless to say, visiting the restaurant is already an adventure in itself. And with the interiors of a typical Baguio house, a dinner here feels less like eating out and more like having a meal in a local friend’s home. 

The menu, of course, boasts of Igorot cuisine. Here, you can sample exotic dishes like the Kiniing Burger. That’s 100% beef patty topped with kiniing. A smoked or sun-dried piece of pork, kiniing is basically a Cordilleran version of a ham. Traditionally, it’s made with locally raised native black pigs. 

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Pinuneg blood sausage is among the exotic dishes at Cafe Yagam. Photo by author

There is also the famous (or notorious) pinikpikan. This dish is made with a native chicken that was repeatedly “pinikpik” or lightly beaten to keep its blood within. Some say, the process violates animal rights while those who prepare it say, the chickens don’t feel pain as they slowly feel numbed because of it. The dish is usually served in chicken stock clear enough for you to see the blood clot on the chicken meat and skin. 

Another traditional dish on the menu is pinuneg. It’s basically pork blood made into a sausage and then grilled. It’s black, smokey and crumbly and very tasty too. Just don’t imagine the pig’s red, body fluid while eating it. 

Clearly, the exotic dishes are not for everybody. For the curious and the ones who crave for a taste of blood, it’s something to try. 

But for the others, they can always order something else. Like the strawberry cheesecake. Or ube. 

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Strawberry cheesecake. Photo by author