tahoTahô is a Philippine street food sold by peddlers known as “magtataho”. It is a soft gelatin-like snack made from processed soybeans topped with caramel and tapioca pearls (locally called sago). The soft gelatin-like texture is achieved by undergoing a series of steps. Soybeans are soaked in water overnight then finely grinded and boiled. While boiling, extracts from the soy beans mixes with water forming soy milk. The remaining solid particles are placed in a cloth then squeezed tightly until all the soy milks are fully extracted. Coagulating agents such as gelatin or magnesium chloride are then added to thicken the texture. The caramel syrup is made by caramelizing brown sugar and mixing it with water.

Often consumed for breakfast, tahô is usually sold early in the morning while it is still warm. Back in the days, the customers are required to provide the container for taho. Mugs or glasses (these are usually cleaned empty Nescafe, Great Taste, or Blend 45 coffee containers) are handed over to the “magtataho” to be filled depending on the amount specified. “Manong, Tatlong Pisong taho po” are the words that I regularly tell the peddler. These magic words always do its job of completely filling my big 17 oz mug (this was during the late 80’s until the early 90’s). Last time I got one was 3 years ago and an itsy bitsy tiny winy plastic cup (provided by the vendor) cost 5 pesos (a little more than a dime).

This is regarded as a healthy food because of the protein content of soy; however, the sugar content of the caramel syrup tends to neutralize the health benefits. In order to maximize the health potential of this food, try to request for a lesser serving of caramel syrup.

When you see a man in the Philippines carrying two huge aluminum or stainless containers (or riding a bike with the containers on the sidecar) and shouting Tahoooô!, don’t be afraid – he is just your friendly “magtataho” advertising his product.

Published by

Vanjo Merano

I blog about Filipino and Asian food and recipes.

13 thoughts on “Tahô”

  1. When I lived in the Philippines (around six years ago) as a kid my Aunt always woke me up so early to ask me if I wanted Taho because the man was selling it outside, and she always tried to pick the biggest glass for him to fill! They have some here in California but they are definitely not as good as the ones back at home.

  2. I love taho, but I prefer it served in stalls like “Taho Boy”, especially in the Masangkay Branch where I often hangout with my pals. The Almond flavored syrup is my favorite when it comes to Hot Taho, while Buko Pandan makes a sweet oriental “ice cream” taste in Cold Taho. 😀

  3. Hi! I smiled when I read that the practice many years way back was to give manong magtataho a mug for your serving… Coz its what we still do now! Its because the insy winsy container they provide now are soöo “lugi”, unlike when you give them your own mug, they will fill it till it drips, irregardless of how big the mug is… and for only 10php :-)
    Just a tip… :)

  4. I miss taho and I miss my childhood days. I often buy this kind of food when I was a little kid from the hato seller or “magtataho”. This is a great post; helps me recall my childhood days in the Philippines. I miss Philippines already…

  5. Sir, miss na miss na miss na namin ng mga anak ko ang tahoooo….pamana mo nman samin ang recipe nito plzzzzzzzz… tnx

    1. Hi Fellabel or should I call you Fely? Doing it the commercialized way is a bit too troublesome but a friend just shared her homemade taho recipe in Facebook. I will be pleased to share it to all of you. Paki abangan po.

      1. please can you share the recipe so i can give it a go.. miss ko na ang taho!!! we don’t have it here in England… please please. thank you so much

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