Eating Japanese at Chaya

Green Tea Shake and Ebi Tempura

I know the country is in a state of grief, but we had to be in the mountains of Baguio for Brandon’s entrance examination to a Manila university over the weekend. He’s done 2 exams now and he still has to tackle one next week. He chose to take this particular exam rather than entering a mountain bike competition in Nuvali. The dad has paid the biking race registration fee earlier, but doesn’t mind losing the money for his son’s priority. Yes, we let the children make their choices.

Let’s get on with the main story. I discovered Chaya through a friend. I googled the exact address earlier, so it wasn’t really difficult locating the Japanese restaurant, though you could easily mistake it for a house because it is partly concealed and  past the busy area of  Legarda Road.


Chaya is cozy. The typical diners are tourists and Korean students. The menu consists of modern Japanese dishes. We ordered a medley of light seafood and vegetable dishes. I found salmon calpacho that resembles Italian carpaccio. It was a lovely way to set the palate in motion, but to be honest, the sushi was fairish. I was expecting something grand since the owner, I believe, is Japanese. The ebi (shrimp) heads scared Alexa. The Chaya salad, a bed of greens with an assortment of sweet and tangy local fruits such as passionfruit and strawberries, was the best of the bunch. They gave us free delicious green tea ice cream set off with sweetened red beans.

Service is good and friendly.

Japanese DiningSalmon Calpacho/CarpaccioAssorted SushiChayaUdon

The dad’s hot udon soup.

Noodle SoupChaya SaladChaya fruit salad and miso soupChristmas ThemeGreen Tea Ice Cream with Sweetened Red BeansCold Green Tea

Cold green tea garnished with local sweetener known in Ilocos as balicucha.

Bokeh Flora

Chaya 72 Legarda Road, Baguio City Tel: (074) 424 4726 CP No.: 0916-439 4141

Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2013

Hot stop: Café Leona

Café Leona in Vigan satisfies our craving for Japanese food, more beyond sushi and sashimi. We had hot ramen and soba on a rainy afternoon.

The hubby's Ebi Shitake Ramen. Chinese-style noodles with shrimp tempura and shitake mushrooms in piping hot miso soup.

Hot soba (buckwheat noodles) soup with assorted tempura and seaweeds - sweet and savory!

Delicious and comforting!

A sure bet for additional warmth – mouthwatering uni or sea urchin and melt-in-your-mouth unagi kabayaki or barbecued eel.Café Leona has a varied menu. Japanese food occupies two pages. You can find donburi, katsudon, kamameshi rice, miso soup, gyūdon, sukiyaki, tempura, teriyaki among many others. Surprisingly, a big balikbayan group in the café were also ordering Japanese food. The kitchen is evidently always well-stocked and they never scrimp on ingredients. We always leave with a full and happy belly.

Due for delivery, a P1100-- sushi and sashimi party platter.

Café Leona Calle Crisologo, Vigan, Ilocos Sur, Philippines

Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved