For the non-Filipino readers, buko pie means coconut pie. It is double crust pie with a filling made with tender coconut meat and custard. It is a specialty in Los Baños, Laguna where it has spawned an important industry.
The store with a sign out front that says “The Original Buko Pie” was the first establishment that commercially sold this delicacy. It set the standard, all other Los Baños buko pies we tried couldn’t hold a candle and we just stopped experimenting. Then, a reader commented that I should try Lety’s buko pie. The comment was followed by similar ones, and the commenters were mostly Los Baños locals. I paid attention.
I found a Lety’s Buko Pie outlet at SM Megamall years ago when Sam was still taking figure skating lessons. I wasn’t impressed but, to be fair, the buko pie I bought there tasted like it had been chilling in the fridge for several days. The outlet disappeared after a while and I forgot all about Lety’s until last weekend.
In the Los Baños Flower & Garden Show, I mentioned that, on the road, I notice signs and I have a habit of reading them. One of those signs was an announcement about the flower and garden show, and that was how we ended up going there. Another sign was of Lety’s Buko Pie and I told Speedy about those reader comments from long ago. I wasn’t sure where Lety’s was located so I decided that when we reached U.P. Los Baños, I’d go online and Google it. But, unfortunately, I got so caught up with taking photos and forgot.
We would have gotten home without a second thought about Lety’s when we got caught in a huge traffic jam just after exiting the U.P. Los Baños gate. We made a U-turn intending to find another way to SLEX when we passed — what else but Lety’s Buko Pie? Of course we stopped and I bought one buko pie, one cassava cake and a box of espasol. The boxes were still hot so I knew that everything I bought was freshly made.
Those commenters from Los Baños certainly knew what they were talking about. Yes, Lety’s buko pie is tastier than The Original’s. The custard is softer and creamier and the crust is salted so it makes a better contrast with the custard which is sweet without being cloying. The coconut meat is just the right age — tender but thick enough not to get lost in the custard.
And then, there’s the espasol. For non-Filipinos and uninitiated Filipinos, espasol is rice flour cooked in coconut milk, shaped then dusted with toasted rice flour. It’s another thing from my childhood. Speedy and the girls are not fond of espasol but I have never lost my taste for it.
Most espasols are cylindrical but Lety’s espasol is shaped like a disc and it has strips of coconut in it. I opened the box as soon as I got back in the pick-up and I was eating a piece before Speedy could start the motor. I ate another piece when we got to the condo to pick Alex up, I ate another when we got home… I just love it so much.