Before Boba Milk Tea Took Over, Taho was Life

Before Boba Milk Tea Took Over, Taho was LifeBefore Boba Milk Tea Took Over, Taho was Life
“Taho. Tahoooooo!” is arguably everyone’s favorite alarm clock in the Philippines.
The iconic taho, (pronounced ta-ho) is a Filipino staple comfort food made of warm soft tofu, brown sugar syrup called arnibal, and sago, tapioca pearls. It is prepared before dawn and sold nearly anywhere in the Philippines very early in the morning.
Many Filipinos grew up waking up to the sound of Mamang Magtataho, the early morning vendors of the sweet morning treat who still hawk their products using the traditional yoke-and-bucket system.
Magtatahos walk the streets with a shoulder balancing a bamboo pole, which carries two aluminum buckets. One bucket contains the warm soft tofu, while the other contains the sweet syrup, sago, and disposable cups, and spoons.
An optional breakfast for those in a hurry or in a tight budget, the “pick-me-pp in a tiny cup” costs just around 10-20 Philippine pesos ($.19 – $.38) per serving.  
When customers in residential areas bring out their own cups, the vendors would price their servings accordingly.
While most vendors make their routes early in the morning, others can also be spotted in the late afternoon or evening.
Taho can be enjoyed either with a spoon, a straw or straight from the cup just by slurping it.
Similar dishes featuring the warm soft tofu are served in neighboring countries as well. The main difference in the Filipino treat is the use of brown sugar syrup.
In Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam, Hong Kong, and South Korea, the tofu base is mixed with spicy, savory, or other types of sweet flavors. Like the taho, these assortments of regional treats, trace their origin to the Chinese douhua, a snack also made with very soft tofu.
These days, taho can also be conveniently purchased at any time of day from high-end shops and inside air-conditioned malls.
Featured image via (left) via Instagram (right) via Instagram
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