Local Flavors

5 Uniquely Flavored Yema Candies You Should Try

Choose Philippines
Choose Philippines | Apr 03, 2017

Filipinos, apart from their international reputation for being hospitable and friendly, are also known for being ingenious cooks, making sure no ingredient goes to waste, as well as assimilating flavors from other nations, and creating unique dishes. This holds true not only for savory dishes, but perhaps even more so for sweets and pastries.

Read: Yummy Yema: How to Cook This Creamy & Chewy Filipino Dessert

Yema—Spanish for “egg yolk”—have been argued upon by historians, saying that the yema we know and love today in the Philippines originally came from Spain during the Middle Ages, in a town that produced Yemas de Santa Teresa, or the “egg yolks of St. Teresa.” According to Pepper.ph, the nuns of the convent would take in laundry, and instead of using the modern detergent, would use egg whites to clean and starch clothing. This subsequently produced a surplus of egg yolks, which the monks living in the same monastery then mixed with a concoction of cinnamon and sugar, and created the ancestor of the yema we know today.

As the Spaniards conquered the Philippines, they brought in much of their culture, yema included. The candy was a hit with Filipinos, and quickly evolved, foregoing the egg yolks for condensed milk, and transforming the old ball shape into the new pyramid we’re all familiar with today.

In terms of the yema’s flavor, much has also changed: while traditional yema candy was flavored with cinnamon and sugar, today’s modern yema has been flavored with anything from nuts, to chili flakes, to sea salt, and all manner of tasty and savory flavors, owing to the Filipinos' ever-growing palate. In fact, wherever you go in the Philippines, you’re bound to find yema candy, either made in massive quantities, or made small-scale and flavored with the local region’s delicacy or star crop, such as the following:


Salted Caramel Yema, which can be found almost anywhere,


Ube Yema, which is just as ubiquitous,


Yehey thanks for this hubby ?????? #foodlover #ubeyema ??

A post shared by JCPalado ??? (@jagie16) on


Mango Yema Pastels, a delicacy of Camiguin,


Durian Yema, only from Davao City,


durian overload!!! ???? i miss yow dabaw!!! #durianyema #lolaabonsduriancandy

A post shared by li (@li.derla) on


and Yema and Kesong Puti, a combination that could have only been thought of by natives of Laguna and Quezon.

Yema and kesong puti; image from Patchie Ramirez-Ison via burpple.com

Simply put, yema has, over the years, evolved to become a dish that not only provides a thriving business for locals, but also showcases the region’s unique personality and culture in one bite-sized candy!

Where does your favorite yema come from? Share it down in the comments below, or write about it here at www.ChoosePhilippines.com!

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