A salt-of-the-earth sanctuary

VEGAN ICE CREAM: The vegan ice cream at Asiga is creating quite a buzz. A full flight, shown here, is priced at $15. There is also a three-flavor flight for $10. Customers will usually have a choice of around eight flavors from which to select. From left, Ms. Ginbis, roasted black sesame; Jean-Claude Pandan, flavored with pandan extract; Sea Salt Caramel, flavored with coconut, sugar, caramel and sea salt; Dragon fruit sorbet, flavored with local mango; and Spinmaster, a cotton candy-flavored frozen treat. Norman M. Taruc/The Guam Daily Post

Our kids give us the world, so we do our best to give the world back to them – and sometimes that starts with the simple pleasures in life, like a scoop of ice-cream.

When Ana Won Pat-Borja and Tano Lizama realized their son Pulan, now 3, was lactose intolerant, they began creating a plant-based alternative. Now the couple serve a rainbow of flavors of the vegan dessert at Asiga, their modern coffee shop with firmly grounded local roots.

The name Asiga – the CHamoru word for salt – is an homage to the locally sourced sea salt used in many of the cafe's goods, and to the former name of the area where the family lives on the southern side of the island.

In addition to the dairy free "ice cream," coffee made with high-quality fresh beans from a small-batch roaster in Hawaii, an assortment of vegan baked goods, gluten-free breakfast options and fresh fruit sodas set Asiga apart from the crowd.

Newly opened

Since they opened this spring, "so many people are coming in that can't do dairy, or have allergies," Lizama says.

But Asiga has plenty to offer for those with or without restricted diets. A full range of coffee drinks can be whipped up by trained baristas and the hardcore coffee lover can enjoy a worth-the-wait cup of "pourover coffee."

Whatever your fancy, just kicking back at Asiga is a great way to spent some quality time. The interior's sleek design highlights the use of natural wood in the décor. A hand-painted mural created by the owners, featuring a silhouette of their son, adds a source of color and warmth.

"I wouldn't call myself an artist, but we can get down if we need to," Lizama says humbly.

Supporting local growers

Asiga also serves to showcase locally grown produce, says Lizama. They strive to use seasonal ingredients sourced from local farms – even though he admits it would be less expensive to import certain items. Lizama says it is important for them to "show what Guam has to offer" and to support local growers.

From your Mini-Me's, to millennials and manåmko', Asiga is a salt-of-the-earth sanctuary where everyone can bring their loved ones to show them just how much they care, or indulge in a little self-love – with or without the dairy.

Recommended for you