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A houseful of ‘suman’

SUMAN goes well with a hot cup of sikwate-a Filipino chocolate made from tablea (ground cacao beans).

In a country where rice is life, it’s no surprise that a favorite snack of Filipinos is suman, a hand-rolled, sticky rice cake wrapped in banana and palm leaves.

We’ve come across varieties of suman all over the archipelago. There’s tupig in Ilocos Norte and Pangasinan, suman pinipig in Bulacan, suman moron and budbod in the Visayas, and pintos in Mindanao — which have different preparations and sizes, and certain ingredients added.

But what makes the suman of Misamis Occidental — specifically the ones made by the Clarin House of Suman — different from the others? That’s what we sought to find out on a trip to the town of Clarin.

House that OTOP built

Clarin House of Suman was founded in 2009 through the one town, one product (OTOP) initiative of the government to boost community-driven industries that make locally sourced products.

It gained prominence when it was invited to the international food event Madrid Fusion Manila in 2017.

What makes Clarin’s suman different is its fusion of diverse flavors. Currently it offers 20 flavors — including the classic plain suman, as well as ube, langka, mango, pineapple, chocolate, cheese, yema, latik, buko and even durian.

PUTO Maya, another traditional Filipino snack perfect as a ‘pasalubong.’

Honestly, an old favorite of mine has been the chocolate budbod suman in Dumaguete. But I’ll have to add Clarin’s tablea suman as a new preference.

But there won’t be a house of suman without a suman factory. Like a kid visiting Willy Wonka’s chocolate plant, we giddily observed around 20 suman makers as they mixed and battered ingredients, hand-rolled sticky rice and wrapped them in banana leaves.

Every day, the suman makers make 3,000 to 5,000 suman pieces that are sold out before closing time. Now that’s a box-office hit.

‘Pasalubong’

Travelers passing through the Ozamis-Oroquieta National Highway won’t miss the green-painted Clarin House of Suman. Aside from this specialty, there were other pasalubong goods for family and friends.

I bought a dozen suman and a couple of packs of tablea.

Credit belongs to : www.tribune.net.ph

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