Taho: A Philippine Snack Food Made Of Tofu

Tahô  is a Philippine snack food made of fresh soft/silken tofu, arnibal (brown sugar and vanilla...

Tahô  is a Philippine snack food made of fresh soft/silken tofu, arnibal (brown sugar and vanilla syrup), and pearl sago.This staple comfort food is a signature sweet and can be found all over the country. The Indonesian and Malaysian equivalent of this snack is tauhue.

Through early records, it is evident that tahô traces its origin to the Chinese douhua. Prior to the Spanish Colonization, Chinese were common traders with the native Malays, influencing Philippine cuisine.

Most tahô vendors prepare their goods before dawn. The main ingredient, fresh soft/silken tofu is processed to a consistency that is very similar to a very finevcustard. Brown sugar is then heated and caramelized to create a viscous amber-colored syrup called arnibal. Sago "pearls," purchased from the local market orpalengke, are boiled to a gummy consistency until they are a transluscent white.

The Magtatahô (taho vendor) is a common sight in the Philippines. A magtatahô carries two large aluminum buckets that hang from each end of a yoke. One of the buckets (the larger one) carries the tofu base; the other, smaller bucket holds the arnibal and sago "pearls".

Tahô vendors peddle their product in a distinctive manner, calling its name in a full, rising inflection as they walk at a leisurely pace either along the sidewalk or, in rural communities, in the middle of the road. As most magtatahô keep a habitual route, it is not uncommon for vendors to call out "Tahoooooô!" to attract a customer's attention. Though vendors are most likely to ply their routes early in the morning, it is not uncommon for a magtatahô to be spotted in the late afternoon or the evening as well. This is particularly common in the heart of Manila, most particularly by Manila Bay.

In Baguio, there is also a strawberry variety of taho, wherein strawberry syrup is used instead of arnibal. Other varieties are in chocolate and buko pandan flavor.



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