food feature: TAHO!

“Taho” is one of the most famous Filipino delicacy that you can see as it was being sold in the street usually every morning. This sweet food captures the taste of both young and old especially the children. Derived from the influence of the Chinese cuisine, this food is made out of fresh soya or soybean which is also used in making soy sauce. It includes “arnibal” (caramelized brown sugar) or sweet vanilla syrup with the combination of pearl sago bought from local market and are boiled to a gummy-like condition until it turns out to be transluscent white.

magtataho

The “Magtataho” are commonly seen strolling in the streets, parks, markets and other public places where people can see them easily. They usually carry these two metal buckets in a yoke. One bucket contains the soya while the other one has dividers and contains the syrup, the pearl sago and the coins separated on the other part of the bucket. You can have a taste of this delicacy for ten pesos (Php 10.00) or sometimes with five pesos (Php 5.00) depending on the size of the plastic cup. You can also bring you own glass where the vendor will fill it up with “taho” and the price will depend on the size of your glass. Anyways, you’ll never unmind the vendor for you can always hear him shouting, “Tahoooo! tahooo!”, several times as he passed you by. Nowadays, the syrup is available in many flavor choices like the strawberry (in Baguio), buko pandan and honey. 

Photos by: Sukito San

food feature: “DIRTY ICE CREAM”

Summer is fast approaching and seeing this colorful yellow pushcart in the street as you hear a spontaneous bell ringing only means one thing in mind… and that is the Pinoy version of the street ice cream to cool you down. One of the most popular food that I’ve grown up with is the Filipino “sorbetes” also known as the “dirty ice cream”. Actually, I really don’t know the real reason if why is it called “dirty ice cream” until now and no one can still give a definite answer about the origin of its alias and how and when it started to be called that way. It doesn’t really sound luscious especially when associated with a food. Most of all in an all-time favorite delight in the Philippines. I assumed that it was called as “dirty” because it was sold in the street, exposed in dirt, pollution and heat. Another reason might be because it’s not factory made and manufactured compared to the branded ice cream labels.

Based on the research… it’s been there since the 1920’s wherein the process of making and selling it in a colorful cart remains the same. Way back decades ago, dealers of the timeless ice cream bred their cows and milked them with their own hands to make sure that the freshness and the sanitation of the milk necessary to make this ice cream. To tell you frankly, it really tastes good and delicious. And when you have a taste of it… you will forget that you just bought it in the street. If I will rate it with 5 stars as the highest… I’ll be giving it 5. Yet, 4 stars on its sanitation due to the way it’s been sold although it’s one of its recognizable trademark. There’s a distinctive taste that makes it different from the other commercial ice cream and that I can suggest you should try for yourself. Nowadays, dirty ice cream’s yellow pushcart also sells burger buns for those costumers who want their ice cream being spread in a bread aside from having it in  sugar cone or plastic cups.

Anyways, it’s only in the Philippines and I’m proud that its been a part of my country’s culture specifically in local sweets and treats.

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