Taho vendor’s large servings reveal Filipinos’ insatiable appetite for beloved comfort food

June 28, 2018 - 4:25 PM
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A taho vendor was spotted serving large cups of the popular Filipino food near the main gate of Xavier University located in Cagayan de Oro. (Facebook/Philippine Star via Homer Tabas)

A taho vendor caught the public’s attention for selling large servings of the beloved comfort food.

In a viral Twitter post by Homer Tabas, the taho vendor was spotted by the main gate of Xavier University located in Cagayan de Oro.

Tabas shared that the vendor sells silken tofu until 7 p.m. In the comments thread of the tweet, another user claimed that the vendor can be seen everyday, except weekends.

Taho is usually sold in small or medium-sized cups. However, it was the first time that a vendor sold it in large cups, hence the buzz. Some even thought that it was a milk tea.

Is it milk tea? Is it coffee? No, it’s taho! All taho lovers will drool over this large-sized taho being sold outside…

Posted by Philippine Star on Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Tracing the origins of taho

Taho is made from tofu and served with brown sugar syrup and sago pearls. It is usually served warm or hot.

While it is a local delicacy, it is believed to have originated from China, during the period before Spaniards colonized the Philippines.

According to Pepper, a food-oriented website, a Chinese cook was preparing a soy milk soup when he accidentally mixed “impure” sea salt to boiled and grounded soybeans.

It resulted in a “gel-like tofu form,” eventually becoming mixed with almonds syrup and beans.

The mixture became popular that Chinese traders have decided to pass it on to their Malay customers.

Taho, despite it being a popular Filipino food, has its supposed origins in China. (Wikimedia Commons/Stock photo)

The Malays, in turn, permanently settled in the Philippines and brought the sweet soybean mixture with them.

Filipinos modified the recipe and made it sweeter over the years. Now, it is included in most of their breakfast choices since taho is typically sold early in the morning because vendors prepare them before dawn.

Popularity of taho

Sweet flavor 

Its sweet flavor, attributed to caramelized sugar, is one of the reasons why it has become popular among Filipinos — who are known to have a sweet tooth.

Gideon Lasco, a medical anthropologist said, “The Philippines was very much part of sugar’s history, being in the region where sugarcane originated, and where sugar haciendas figured greatly in its colonial economy. This heritage of sugar production hints at why Filipinos use sugar in everything.”

Convenience 

Taho may be a simple mixture of silken tofu, syrup and sago but this simplicity is part of the reason why it is famous.

At an average cost of just P10 to P20, people can satisfy their hunger and get a nutritious snack by eating or drinking it without having to sit down.