Suman is a Filipino dish of sticky rice wrapped in banana or coconut leaves. There are numerous varieties of suman with each region having its own version of the dish. The suman on the plate in the photo is called suman sa lihia, so called because it is flavored with lihia or lye water. Suman

The rice is soaked in water and lihia, wrapped in wilted banana leaves and cooked in water (recipe here). The dark green object just behind the plate, on the right side, is the suman sa lihia in its wrapping. Suman sa lihia is served with a sauce made from coconut milk. In the town of Tanay in the province of Rizal, there is a place where they serve it with sweetened chocolate instead of the coconut milk sauce. The suman is dipped in the chocolate before eaten. Still another way of serving suman sa lihia is with a mixture of white sugar and niyog (grated coconut).

At the background are several pieces of suman sa ibus. This variety is wrapped with the leaves of theburi palm then cooked in coconut milk. It is served simply with white sugar. Another way to enjoy suman sa ibus is to serve it with fresh ripe mangoes. You can even fry the suman in butter just until puffed then serve them with sweet Philippine mangoes.

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