On a journey back to my hometown, Tarlac in the Philippines, I was in search of our town’s specialty “tupig“. If you haven’t tried it yet, tupig (say ‘too-pig’) are char-grilled sweet rice logs with coconut and molasses wrapped in banana leaves. I remember them well from meriendas we had at home. There was always a large bandejado (oval serving platter) of tupig waiting for us when we got home from school. Later when I was married, my mother-in-law often brought us a big bundle of tupig as pasalubong (gifts from travel) which we relished with gusto.
In my search for tupig and the original recipe, I found out that the legendary tupig vendor, Laring had died. I was sad and regretted not having asked her for the recipe. I tried to recreate the tupig in my American kitchen by developing my own recipe. In the process, I ended up writing about tupig and what it meant for my hometown.
Sometimes, you have to leave home to find your way back to what was important.
Read my feature story “Tupig from Tarlac” which published on Positively Filipino, the premiere online magazine.
Of course, nothing else makes my head spin than the inviting aroma of sweet rice and coconut combined on burnt banana leaves floating around when I cook tupig on our outdoor grill. For my Tupig recipe from my cookbook “How to Cook Philippine Desserts, Cakes and Snacks” which was featured by The Happy Home Cook on Positively Filipino, click here.
(Photos of San Jose, Tarlac and F. Tanedo main street courtesy of the Tarlac Cultural Landmarks and Heritage – Facebook page)
My travels back to my hometown Tarlac and neighboring provinces Pampanga and Pangasinan are journeys back to my culinary heritage.
Tupig is sold as street food in the palengke (market) or by sidewalk vendors by bundles.
When I long for tupig, an old hometown treat, I make it in my American kitchen and the results are just as magical as I remembered it to be.
For my Tupig recipe, click here.
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