Cook up the Philippines’ most popular street food – taho – right in your own kitchen with this recipe!
Taho is a street food made from silken tofu, a concoction of brown sugar and vanilla syrup locally called arnibal, and tiny-sized and clear pearl sago called in the vernacular simply as sago.
It is often eaten as a perk-me-up breakfast, an afternoon snack, or a heavenly dessert gulped after a full meal.
It is soft and thick in texture, sweet in taste, and viewed by Filipinos in many corners of the Philippines as a cheap, quick, and staple comfort food.
This street food is sold warm by the many taho hawkers vending their goods around neighborhoods, school areas, and even business districts.
You can never miss the taho hawkers.
They carry their goods in their signature silver aluminum bins – the large one for stowing the cooked silken tofu and the small one for storing arnibal and sago.
If you do not see them around, chances are you would hear them.
They call out for you to buy their goods with their clearly identifiable chant – “Taaaahooooo!” – that they shout out in full and rising tone.
How Taho is Eaten in the Philippines
You can enjoy taho as a street food even if you are walking or standing.
This is because it is served in disposable plastic cups, perfect for gulping!
Sometimes, taho hawkers do give out disposable plastic teaspoons or colorful straws to help those buyers who need to be a little careful in drinking this street food.
How Taho is Prepared in the Philippines
Taho hawkers are a bunch of hardworking fellows.
In the wee hours of the morning, they start cooking silken tofu until its runniness is almost like that of your high-quality custard.
They then work on the arnibal, heating brown sugar until it is irresistibly caramelized and then flavoring it with vanilla extracts.
Taho hawkers have become more imaginative with their recipes over time.
Some of them have added strawberry, buko pandan, langka or jackfruit, and even chocolate flavors to their arnibal.
After they make the arnibal, they then boil their sago until it is clear and gummy.
The work does not end here and what comes next might be the toughest part of taho hawkers’ job.
They peddle their goods around the town – two large aluminum bins hanging from their shoulders – morning and afternoon or until their goods are consumed.
More often than not, taho hawkers keep to their everyday route, making people learn by rote at what time of the day to expect vendors to come around.
This practice has also helped taho hawkers gain loyal customers along their usual routes.
Not in the Philippines and not living along the usual routes of taho vendors?
Worry no more! You can make your own Philippine taho with this recipe.
Recipe for Taho – Philippines’ Most Popular Street Food
It is important to note that taho in the Philippines is prepared the traditional way, which can take time and lots of effort.
Many taho hawkers make their bean curd pudding from scratch, meaning from quality soy beans.
Below, however, is a quick and easy recipe for making taho.
Ingredients for Taho
- brown sugar – 2 cups
- gelatin – 1 tablespoon; unflavored
- soybean powder or flour – 1 cup
- vanilla extracts – 4 tablespoons
- water – about 6 cups
- pearl sago – ½ cup
Instructions for Making Arnibal
- In a pan set over medium heat, pour in water.
- Add brown sugar.
- Allow to boil for five minutes.
- Pour in vanilla extracts.
- Set aside.
Instructions for Making Sago
- In a pot set over medium heat, pour in water.
- Allow to boil.
- Once the water is boiling, add in pearl sago.
- Allow water to simmer and the sago to turn to translucent color.
- Drain the water and set sago aside.
Instructions for Making Taho
- In a bowl, pour in water.
- Add in soy bean powder.
- Let the mixture stand for at least one hour, stirring once in a while.
- In pot set over medium heat, pour in the mixed water and soy bean powder.
- Allow to boil.
- Once boiling, reduce heat to low.
- Stir constantly for 10 minutes.
- Pour in gelatin.
- Allow gelatin to dissolve.
- Remove heat and allow mixture to cool a little.
- Once mixture is slightly cool, remove the thin layer on top.
- Scoop cooked tofu into a cup.
- Top it with arnibal and saho.
Congratulations! Now you have your taho – Philippines’ best-liked street food!
Copyright © 2012 Kerlyn Bautista
All Rights Reserved
Awesome Hubs on Filipino Street Foods
- 7 Most Loved Filipino Street Foods
- How to Make Ice Scramble or Iskrambol – Philippine Street Smoothie
- Banana Cue or Banana Que Recipe: Filipino Fried Caramelized Banana
- Simple Recipe for Calamares – Philippine Street Food and Appetizer
- Trouble-Free Recipe for Kwek-kwek – Philippine Quail Egg Street Food
- Quick and Easy Recipe for Turon, Philippine Banana Roll Dessert
The Philippines on the Map
Odette on December 07, 2019:
My boys loved taho and i’ve been looking for a recipe and came across yours. But i’m really confused on how much water i should use for the soy powder and arnibal. It says 6 cups of water but is that only for the soy powder? Help please. Thank you!
irish b tan on July 21, 2018:
i have already my soya powder....i will make it now .....thank you for the recipe...god bless.......i am from davao city...
Meimei on July 29, 2014:
Hi! Thanks for your recipe! I'd like to know how many cups of water I should use to cook each ingredient, specifically for the arnibal and taho. Thanks!
kath on April 03, 2014:
Hi, I want to try your recipe using soy bean powder... Is the 6 cups of water in the recipe will be mix with the soy bean powder? Im sorry, coz there is also water for syrup and cooking the sago.. I want to ask how much water goes to make the syrup and how much water will be mix to 1 cup of soy bean powder... Many thanks!
Christian on April 16, 2013:
@Rosie2010 - the Kanto Boys Kitchen supplies fresh Taho to several locations in Toronto on a daily basis. Look out for it at Mami's (Oriental Centre, Sheppard & Brimley), Jocelyn's (Sheppard and Shorting), or Coffee In (Birchmount and Lawrence). On the weekends you can find their taho in the west end at Daily Bread or H&H (both Wilson and Bathurst). Hope this helps with your craving!
Rosie Rose from Toronto, Canada on February 09, 2012:
OMG, Kerlynb, I can't remember the last time I ate taho. Now I want some. I wish there were taho vendors here in Toronto. I want some taho!!!! Great job! Voted up and useful. Cheers!
Have a nice day,
reikieffect on February 09, 2012:
Tina Siuagan from Rizal, Philippines on February 09, 2012:
I've had the chance to taste taho with soybean components in fruit flavors. They are delicious. But nothing beats that warm taho all those manongs are selling in the streets! :D
Thank you for sharing this recipe. I'd definitely give it a try with my boyfriend and will let you know about the outcome.
Voted up! :D
rjsadowski on February 09, 2012:
It is always interesting to learn about the food and customs of other countries although I will probably never get to try this one.