Tahhoooo! If you’ve ever visited the Philippines, it is almost certain that you have heard this being shouted by your friendly neighbourhood taho vendor. Made of silken tofu, sago pearls and a thick sugar syrup called arnibal, taho is a Filipino speciality most commonly eaten for breakfast.
Strawberry taho is a variety found in Baguio, a city about 6 hours from Manila. Due to the cooler climate in the mountains an abundance of fresh strawberries grow there. Using these fresh local strawberries the street vendors make a strawberry syrup and replace the arnibal found in the traditional version.
My first experience having strawberry taho was in 2014 when I visited Baguio to attend the Panagbenga festival. After a long night on the bus we arrived early in the morning, wearing only shorts and with the temperature freezing in comparison to Manila we were searching for something to warm us up! Luckily a street vendor walked by at that moment and we jumped at the chance to sample this delicious breakfast.
- 1/4 cup uncooked sago pearls
- 2 cups fresh strawberries hulled and quartered
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 300 g silken tofu
- In a pot place enough water to cover the sago and bring to the boil.
- Add the sago and stir gently. Simmer for 10 minutes then remove from the heat, drain and rinse with cold water.
- Place the sago back in the pot and cover with cold water.
- Bring to the boil again and simmer 8 minutes then remove from the heat, drain and rinse with cold water.
- Repeat this process until the sago pearls are translucent and tender, but still a little chewy. Usually 3 to 4 times is enough. Finish by rinsing well under cold water and set aside.
- Meanwhile, in a saucepan combine the strawberries, sugar and water. Bring to the boil over medium heat then turn down to low.
- Simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the strawberries are soft and the syrup has thickened. Set aside, keeping warm.
- Place the tofu on a plate, cover and microwave for 2 minutes until hot, alternatively place in a steamer over boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes. Cut the tofu into 8 pieces.
- To assemble, place two pieces of tofu in the bottom of a glass or small bowl, spoon over some strawberry syrup then top with a spoon of the sago pearls.
- Serve hot.
Need help with the Filipino ingredients? Check out the glossary.