Dining Out

Taho, a Philippine sweet tofu pudding

Probably derived from the Chinese tofu pudding known as dòuhua, taho is a hot sweet snack sold from aluminum vats by ambulant vendors in the Philippines. These vendors are a familiar sight on the streets, vats suspended from the two ends of a wooden yoke, and calling out in a sing-song tone, “Tahooooo… Tahooooo…”

casaveneracion.com Taho vendor

Inside the vat at the front end of the yoke is the taho, a custard-like soft tofu. The vat at the rear end of the yoke is divided into two sections — one contains the soft and chewy tapioca balls (sago) and the other contains the dark brown syrup made by caramelizing palm sugar.

How the vendor prepares the snack is an art by itself. He starts by scooping the taho with a wide shallow spoon not unlike a spatula. He places the taho in plastic cups that he carries or cups provided by buyers if the taho vendor is selling in a residential neighborhood.

casaveneracion.com Adding tapioca balls

The vendor closes the front vat, shifts to the rear vat and opens it. With the use of a scoop with a long handle, he tops the taho with tapioca balls.

casaveneracion.com Pouring arnibal or caramelized sugar

And, finally, he pours a couple of scoops of the liquefied palm sugar over the tapioca balls and taho.

Versions of this tofu pudding snack can be found all over Asia. The toppings and sweetener vary and, depending on the season, may be served hot or cold. See the Wikipedia article on dòuhua for more details.

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