Tahoooooo!!! Tahoooooo!!! Tahoooooo!!!
These are some of the words that I long to hear from a man walking the streets carrying two stainless vats attached to a wooden rod everyday – the magtataho.
Taho is a Philippine snack food made of fresh soft/silken tofu, arnibal and sago pearl. This staple comfort food is a signature sweet and taho peddlers can be found all over the country.
Taho is processed to a consistency that is very similar to a very fine custard. The brown sugar is heated, caramelized and mixed with water to create a viscous amber -colored syrup called arnibal. Flavors, like vanilla are sometimes added to the arnibal. Sago pearls, purchased from the local market, are boiled to a gummy consistency until they are a translucent white. In some part of Luzon specifically Bagio City, their taho is flavored with fresh strawberry jam instead of arnibal since they have rich resources of strawberry.
Taho is enjoyed either with a spoon, sipping it with a straw, or by simply slurping it straight from the cup. Though traditionally served warm, cold varieties exist in supermarkets and food stalls in cafeterias with bean curd in a solid, unbroken state. These pre-packed cups, sold with a plastic spoon or wooden Popsicle stick, tend to contain a firmer tofu.
Since taho is also known as soya there are also benefits in consuming taho. Below is an excerpt from a study from the University of the Philippines – Los Banos by a Pinoy scientist who recently returned home from his lab in the U.S. in order to extol the many joys that soy can bring, through its health benefits.
Alumni UP LB and current lead advisor for Soy Labs LLC in Missouri U.S.A., Dr. Alfredo Galvez recently gave a media talk about the Soy peptide called Lunasin, which is said to be key to having good heart health and other advantages. “In the 1990s, there were already several studies about how daily soy consumption reduced the risk of heart disease. Lunasin, which by the way, goes back to my Filipino roots, because the word Lunas means ‘solution’,” he says.
When from the right plants and properly processed, Lunasin can help head off heart disease by working in the liver to carry out cholesterol synthesis and produce less cholesterol, and increasing LDL receptors to help extract more cholesterol from the blood stream, and thereby prevent plaque buildup in the arteries. “Sometimes, even a healthy diet and exercise may not be enough to prevent cholesterol problems,” he cautions.
There are also ongoing studies on the effects of this soy protein in cancer prevention, wherein it can actually prevent the expression of genes that lead to the formation of tumors.