June 20, 2024

There’s a new place in town called the Valley Bread Café where you can get authentic Cordillera cuisine that is usually served during a cañao. It is located along the busy stretch of Km. 4, La Trinidad, Benguet.

La Trinidad has transformed into a bustling center of modern buildings and eating places minus parking spaces. There are a number of interesting foods stops in this place that might interest adventurous eaters or homesick natives who want to taste “watwat” food that is served only during family feasts and festivals.

The Cordillera breakfast is a what you should try. This offering has slices of blood sausage or pinuneg and pulpog or slices of grilled pork. The blood sausage is perfectly blended with some onions and ingredients that keep the same texture as those boiled in the large woks during the weddings or parties.

The grilled meat is upscaled. This has been sliced and served with a light vinegar sauce. It would be appreciated more glistening with a little pork fat that will make it truly scorched from the wood pits. This has slices of green onions to give it a little bite when eaten. A sweet light soy and vinegar dip accompanies the meat to perk it up.

The scrambled egg is deliciously poached and garnished with white onions that give it a sweet crunch. This is served with a cup of white rice. There were suggestions that this should come with options of boiled sweet potato or red rice just like in the mountain feasts. I would agree and also ask if the taro or gabi could be included.

The beef tapa breakfast is of regular appeal because this comes with a sunny side up egg, cup of rice and tender beef slices marinated in soy and perfectly fried with a little garlic. A side dish of cucumber, tomatoes, and onions salad in a sweet vinaigretteaccompanies this to balance the savory salty meat.

The corned beef breakfast may sound common too, but I swear that this homemade salted beef brisket is a wonderful version of corned beef with enough beef fat to make it the tenderest and delicious portion of meat. This breakfast fare has eggs and a cup of rice.

Appetizers here include binubudan. This is a typical preparation of boiled casava or red rice that is sprinkled with yeast to ferment it. This tends to make the casava a little mushy and sweet with the fermenting starch, likewise the red rice. This is not served anywhere else but only in this café.

Another Cordillera fare that is not found just anywhere is the paco or fern salad. Here, fresh fern leaves are mixed with some tomatoes, onions, and bell peppers with a sweet vinaigrette dressing. In the mountains this is lightly sauteed in oil and salted or blanched and served with tomatoes.

The watwat soup is said to come with the meals. This is made from the broth of the singed meat that is boiled in large vats and served to the community. At the opening, this seemed to have been forgotten as part of the regular meals.

Of course, coffee must accompany the meals here. They also have the French press included as alternative to brewed coffee. With the rich sources of coffee beans, it would be expected that the roasted beans come from local sources too.

It is not just the food that makes this café different. There is a part in the basement that has open air dining. The era of murals has been added to the walls as décor from a local artist who has captured the different tribes in the artwork.

Most of all, this place showcases the best of the breads and pastries from Valley Bread. This is one worthy foodie stop.