Famously known as the Summer Capital of the Philippines, the city of Baguio continues to graciously accommodate the influx of tourists primarily wanting to experience the cold weather. Aside from the cozy temperature, the city prides itself with its lush greens, scenic views, and its rich history and culture. As interesting as these notable facets of the city are the food delicacies that are also available near the city’s staple tourist destinations; with most found at the Baguio Public Market. Here are some of both the popular and underrated specialties fit either for pasalubongs or just enjoying good eats while in the city.
La Trinidad has been well-known for its vast strawberry farms and the fruit has always been associated with Baguio. Strawberry-picking is a known tourist activity in the farms which also informs people on how to identify the ripe, sweet ones, the harvest periods, and all that. Strawberries are best enjoyed in a variety of ways; the famed delicacies are strawberry jam and preserves – perfect while enjoying a nice cup of coffee or tea with hot bread, strawberry taho (soy/beancurd pudding) – a twist to the known Filipino comfort food – which is best for quick snacks after long tours, and even strawberry wine!
Peanut and Cashew Brittle, and Other Nut Treats
Similar to the fame of strawberries, peanut brittle is also a well-known specialty of the city and is one of the most requested pasalubongs from Baguio. Its sweet and salty combination effectively satisfies your cravings for when you’re up for that sugar fix. A variety of brittles are available in the city – from the usual stacks of flat crisps, those with whole peanuts glued together by that sweet caramelized sugar, and of course, those with cashew. In line with this, there are also a wide variety of nuts – usually fried with garlic – available in the same areas.
Lengua De Gato
Literally translated as “cat tongue”, these thin cookies actually come in the shape of a cat’s tongue. Its milky and buttery goodness is fit for that light afternoon snack, but it comes with a bit of a problem – it will be hard to stop munching. Same goes with all the cookie variants that can usually be bundled to avail of the promo offer three or seven for 100 pesos.
Mika’San Choc’o Flakes
There is something about this snack’s simplicity that makes easy to chomp. The usual breakfast cereals are made interesting by being glazed with either milk or white chocolate. Surprisingly, the brand seems to have solely been known to make these creamy, crunchy goodness. They also now have the choc’o pinipig.
Good Shepherd Convent’s Mountain Maid Training Center specialties
The center is the home of the velvety Ube jam. Apart from that, their bestsellers comprise of the peanut brittle, strawberry jam, Alfajor cookies (with caramel filling) and the Snow Balls – a treat that looks like a cookie covered in confectioners’ sugar that softly crumbles when you dunk it in your mouth. They have a wide variety of food products that not only contribute to the tourist traffic for the city’s tourism but also in social enterprise by helping the economically challenged youths from the six tribes of Cordillera – Benguet, Ifugao, Mt. Province, Kalinga, Apayao, and Abra.
This is another cookie variant, but this one’s an underrated choice since the stacks at the market can be a tad overwhelming. However, Butter Oats has slowly been creeping into the pasalubong lists of many. Its moist, buttery texture, and satisfying sweetness will surely make you crave for more…until you realize your holding your last piece.
Tantamco’s Ube Jam
The Tantamco store in the Baguio Public Market is one that does not boast of its products but can just count on word-of-mouth because of the quality of its bestselling Ube jam. Compared to most of the Ube jams, their Ube jam has this thick and chunky consistency that is rich in flavor. You can avail of the jam while it is warm and fresh – you have to literally keep the jars ajar first to let it cool down if you intend to store it for a while or for the long trips back home. They also have other jams which are also of the same high quality – pineapple jam, guava jelly, blueberry jam, among others.
You can find bottles of pure honey everywhere, but you have to be careful and to know what is pure and what appears to contain “extenders”. Nonetheless, this is one of those specialties for the health conscious.
Herbal Teas and Fruit Wines
If you are tired of getting the usual, herbal teas and fruit wines area great products to explore. One of the widely available teas is the Turmeric tea which is also gaining traction in the Metro Manila markets with its health benefits. The fruit wines are surprisingly refreshing and quirky drinks suitable for those moments of reminiscing memories in the City of Pines.
There are several known stalls in the Baguio Public Market that sell these scrumptious meat treats that is a staple Filipino food – may it be for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It is just up to you how much of these and what flavors are you willing to bring back home and binge.
The climate of Baguio is also very conducive for vegetable farming and when you get to the local markets, you can avail of fresh vegetables for a price very much lower than those that are already delivered to the Metro Manila markets.