Some five days ago, craving for something sweet past midnight, Speedy started spooning dulce de leche from its container. He was in the kitchen and a few inches away was the jar of Nutella. I don’t know provoked him. He scooped some dulce de leche with his teaspoon then scooped Nutella. He ate the two together and exclaimed to me with that look on his face as though he discovered a new planet and it was about to be named after him. He came over to where I was sitting to convince me that it was in fact worth being labeled the discovery of the decade. He put the teaspoon with all the gooey goodness into my mouth and, oh, I agreed a hundred per cent and I declared that agreement with the world.
Yesterday, we were at the market. Sam was home (Alex was in Ilocos on a class trip) and she asked if we could have hito (catfish) and tahong (mussels). So, bright and early, Speedy and I drove to the market and bought hito, tahong, vegetables and suman sa ibus.
Just as with Speedy and the dulce de leche and Nutella combo, I don’t know what prompted me but, while snacking on the suman after we got home, I took out the container of dulce de leche from the fridge, took a scoop and spread the thick, sticky, dark caramel on the suman in my hand. Speedy said Nutella would taste better with the suman, I said dulce de leche sprinkled with salt would be the ultimate and, well, we were so happy with our discovery that I said I should just take proper photos and write a proper article about it.
If you watch the Food Network (we still do occasionally; we like the Asian Food Channel better), you might have come across those snippets of chef recommended dishes in restaurants. One of those snippets shows Giada de Laurentiis singing praises to deep-fried donuts (donut holes, actually) served with a mascarpone dip and a cranberry dip. Speedy suggested that when I take the photos for the suman with dulce de leche and Nutella article, I do a similar presentation. He was even specific about the small bowls I should use for the dips.
So, I took out three small white bowls and filled them with dulce de leche, Nutella and passion fruit jam, respectively. I unwrapped three pieces of suman, placed them in front of the bowls and, behind the bowls, I placed some unwrapped suman.
And then the fun part began.
I cut a piece of suman and dipped it in dulce de leche.
I sprinkled some salt on the caramel because salty and sweet together tastes so much better than simply sweet.
Then I proceeded to the second bowl with the Nutella.
And reproduced what Speedy did yesterday — Nutella and dulce de leche combo.
If dulce de leche and Nutella are too rich for you (or if your doctor bans you from enjoying them), there’s always jam.
If, to this day, you’ve been eating suman sa ibus with plain sugar, it’s time to free your mind and explore. See also:
Fried suman with cinnamon-nutmeg sugar
Chocolate fondue and suman (rice cakes)
Suman: rice cake in a tube. In three flavors.
Suman at latik (rice cakes with coconut jam)
Butter – fried suman and ripe mangoes