So every Filipino knows what that is. Or, almost every Filipino. Uh, anyways, so that thing is calledTAHO. There is a specific way of saying it. It’s not taho like…Lake Tahoe. It’s more like…ok, it’s more like if you were in the middle of a sentence and you get cut off. Like you were gonna say “Tahomygod” but in the middle of saying it somebody punches you in the stomach. Try it out! Say “Tahomygod” but abruptly stop at ‘o’. YOU GOT IT! If I had paid attention when we discussed the IPA in class, I would’ve explained this better. :)
Moving on. So taho is actually street food here in the Philippines. You only get it from street vendors that roam around, usually in the mornings. Some street vendors sell it in the afternoons and nights as well, but the taho isn’t hot anymore, unlike in the mornings, when it’s still fresh.
Taho is composed of only three things: the tofu, which is made to resemble something like custard; the syrup, which is caramelised brown sugar; and the sago or the pearls, which you can see at the top. Since it has tofu, you could say it’s healthy. But then it’s also equal parts sugar, so it’s not that healthy then.
Anyways, as I mentioned, taho is traditionally sold by a street vendor. He has these two large metal containers, one containing the tofu and the other the syrup (the pearls are kept in a compartment somewhere). He goes around and yells ‘TAHOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!' and there's actually a specific way of shouting it, I kid you not! There is always a rise in the pitch towards the 'OOOOOO!'. In fact, I think there's a distinct way each taho vendor shouts it. Also, the taho vendor usually sells it in plastic cups and provides a straw, as you can see in the picture. Each cup of taho usually costs P10, but it may vary in different regions here. You can also provide your own cup and the vendor will price it accordingly.
It’s actually really fun whenever you buy taho. At least, in my experience it is. There’s always the wait for the taho vendor, where you keep your ears peeled so you won’t miss the ‘TAHOOOOOOOO!’. Then, when you hear it, you scramble to get outside so you won’t miss the vendor. Sometimes, if you want taho really badly (it happens!) and you missed the vendor, well, you’re gonna have some chasing to do. I think buying taho is such an event. :)
I’m not really sure how taho originated, but probably from Chinese traders centuries ago.
OK, so how does taho actually taste? Well, the tofu is, for the most part, flavourless. You know, in that flavourless-tofu kind of way. And of course the syrup is sweet. And the pearls are there to add texture or something, I don’t know. So all in all, I guess it’s sweet with a bit of a flavourless-tofu taste. I’m doing a bad job of describing taho, because it actually tastes good. :)
So that’s it. You learned a lot of interesting things today! If you’re ever in the Philippines, make sure to have taho!