A Trip Through My Eyes: Magtatahô (Taho Vendor)
Probably [one of] the most ‘this-is-so-Philippines’ of the ambulant street food vendors is of tahô.
“Tahô is a Philippine snack food made of fresh soft/silken tofu, arnibal (brown sugar and vanilla syrup), and pearl sago (similar to pearl tapioca).”
They, the magtatahô or tahô vendors, normally start walking on the streets (even in the smallest alleys where there are probable customers), early in the morning. Each magtatahô usually has his own route, and thus serves the usual customers each day. (In our area, Danny is our guy, and he has been roaming each morning for how many years now –no surprise he remembered me when he saw me again).
A magtatahô carries with him two aluminum buckets hung from a wooden (or bamboo) yoke –one of them holds the tofu, and the other the syrup and the sago.
They are almost ubiquitous.The man above, relatively old actually to be still working, was walking around the landmark/icon of the University of the Philippines, the Oblation, one Saturday morning where there were resting joggers and cyclists.
When you are inside your home, it is hard to miss a magtatahô because he will shout (with a slight melody) ‘Tahoooooooo!' and will most likely wait for you to come out if he knows you are a regular customer. Tahooooooo!
Final words. Thank you Laura for this project of yours, with the intention to showcase photos from around the world, showing a place’s identity. I am glad that you extended this and that I made to contribute one from my motherland. Truly a great honor. So. This is Philippines! A small part of our culture, influenced and enriched by various visitors from different times that history knows when.
Mil gracias! Salamat!