From Humble Ingredients, an Ilocano Superstar Delicacy for the Holidays!
Choose Philippines | December 20, 2019
Story by Ria Galiste
Photos by Lemuel Salvador
Harvest season is something Ilocanos celebrate during “ber” months. Their creativity and resourcefulness paved way for the birth of different delicacies and products made from their recent harvest. As such, rice cakes figure prominently in their tables during the Christmas season, particularly the tupig.
[related: Suman sa Ibos: Ilonggo's Classic Delicacy]
Traditionally, tupig is comprised of a mix of glutinous rice, sugar, and coconut that are mixed, shaped into thin logs, and wrapped in banana leaves. These are then cooked in a kiln or pugon in the vernacular for hours until the tupig is ready to entice everyone with its deliciously sweet taste.
[related: The Chocolatey Moron]
A piece of tupig costs P10. Arsena Suga is one of the first people who started a tupig business in Currimao, Ilocos Norte in the early 90s. According to her, during that era, residents and tourists were content with the traditional taste of tupig. Later, her regular customers began requesting for variance. She then formulated a tupig version with condensed milk followed by another that features margarine and cheese. Recently, she created on where ube was used as a flavor.
Because of its sweetness, having a tupig on Noche Buena and Media Noche is believed to symbolize family unity and love. With all the variants that Arsena provides, they are now receiving a bulk of orders of their traditional flavored tupig as well as their cheese and ube flavor.