Just like in wrapping up a good meal – even 11-course ones, there will always be room for dessert. It’s time to wrap up the round of food hopping through the Philippines with a sweet treat!
Make the most out of your last exotic munchie before returning home to the familiar by grabbing a Tinagtag in Pikit, North Cotabato. Traditionally a ceremonial food, this delicacy’s name comes from how it’s made – the word “tagtag” which means to hit, beat, or tap.
A mixture made out of ground rice, sugar, and water is poured over a ladle fashioned from a coconut shell attached to a long pole with small holes drilled into it to allow it to drip onto a pan of boiling oil. Trained cooks then rhythmically tap the stick while circling the ladle over the pot – almost like a dance – forming the round, thin crust with crisscrossing strips that fry until golden brown.
Go the extra mile in cultural experience by enjoying it with coffee with gata, which is said to be the perfect accompaniment. You won’t just be biting into a sweet and crunchy treat; you’d be getting a taste of Maguindanaoan history, culture and tradition. Enjoy the confection’s intricate appearance that represents their complex history as a people, struggling to keep their home; the crisp brittleness symbolizing the delicate state of peace and security of their homeland; then the sweetness from their unyielding hope and joy despite the odds during rare celebrations for which the delicacy is traditionally cooked.
They say that you can best learn a culture through the food, but there’s a decline of people who still know how to make this; show and spread appreciation for a dying culture by buying enough for everyone back home. Bring back more than just food from your journey. Pasalubong with a purpose!