With the thriving Japanese community in Baguio, it’s no surprise that Japanese cuisine is easy to come by – and it receives a lot of love. While Japanese-style fast food can often satisfy your cravings, once in a while, it’s nice to spoil yourself and spring for the real thing. Chaya is a popular spot among locals and tourists alike, offering authentic Japanese food in a warm, homey environment.
Chaya’s salmon sashimi (a half order is five slices) comes with a side of tamago and a chunk of wasabi for those who like to add a little kick. The fish is seasoned before it’s served to you, so don’t drown it in soy sauce. Some light dipping in the soy will bring out the flavor nicely. Since Baguio is a landlocked city, many places that offer seafood do so sparingly. But Chaya gives you your money’s worth, even if you only get a half serving.
“Oyakodon” literally translates to “parent-and-child donburi”. It’s a soupy dish with chicken and egg served on a bed of rice. It’s soupy not in the sense that lugaw or arroz caldo is soupy; rather, the soy-sauce-and-stock mixture is poured on top of dry rice. Chaya makes the chicken bite-sized and extra tender. Mix it all together well before eating for maximum enjoyment.
Gyudon is a great dish for picky eaters. Nothing exotic, just straightforward, thinly-sliced beef over rice. The beef is coated in slightly sweet sauce and topped with an egg. Chaya’s gyudon consists of soft, flavorful beef and lots of onions. Like the oyakodon, it’s best to mix everything together before indulging. Both rice bowls come with a bowl of miso soup to warm you up and push everything else down.
Chaya has a selection of desserts that can be found on the last page of the menu. However, even if you don’t order any, your server will give you a small scoop of green tea ice cream when you ask for the bill – a sweet ending to a fabulous meal.
Chaya is located at 72 Legarda Road in Baguio City. Like their Facebook page for more photos and updates.