23 Aug2011

A Dayap Jackpot!!! :)

by Marketman

You have to find the sweet lining to acidic citrus… :) Mrs. MM and I went to the Saturday Salcedo market and were buying a few produce items for dinner last Saturday. Out of the corner of one eye, I noticed an unbelievable mini-mountain of absolutely gorgeous local dayap fruit. Joey, the veggie guy, said they were PHP120 a kilo, but marked them down to PHP80 if I bought a lot… I bought 5.5 kilos or roughly 170 pieces!?

I absolutely adore dayap. Adore it. Even more than I love kalamansi. And I lament the fact that it is so incredibly hard to get on a consistent basis in Manila. In the past 15 years, I have only hit this kind of jackpot a couple of times; once when Chef Chris sent some dayap from the family farm in Cagayan. Another time when Millet hand carried biasong from Davao for an eyeball. So the produce Gods were definitely being nice on my birthday, and even though I had no idea what to do with all those limes, I was giddy with excitement. It certainly helped that just a week before I grudgingly paid PHP10 for a tiny lime at the FTI market. And just minutes earlier, I picked up but rapidly put down a kilo bag of imported key limes (sent airfreight) when told the price was PHP500 a kilo!

With so many limes on hand, at a cost of say PHP2.50 each, I knew I had the RARE LUXURY of experimenting with them. The first thing that I did was look up a tiny paperback book on the nearly extinct art of “inukit” or more specifically carved dayap that are preserved in sugar syrup… Not many folks do it anymore, and after nearly impaling myself with scary tools, I fully understand why, but feel sad about it nonetheless. After locating the book, I asked one of the crew if I could buy a little chisel sort of tool, but the cook suddenly ran to get a ladder, clambered up to a cabinet that has probably not been opened for a decade, and pulled out a little wooden box with a FULL SET of fruit and vegetable carving tools, something I saved from my mom’s kitchen when she passed away a long time ago…

I tried to carve basic patterns on the rind of the lime, which was a ROYAL PAIN in the REAR, and decided to call it quits when the instructions described making a small hole at the bottom of the fruit, and carefully removing the pulp, blanching it in water, then soaking in simple syrup. It just seemed a bit more tedious than I had expected. And the carving was wickedly evil to execute, definitely not for the short on patience set…

The crew got curious and had a go themselves, and we scraped, poked and removed the rind of about a dozen limes before we realized it might be better to drive to Bulacan or Pampanga to seek out the lady who is best known for the art of pastillas wrappers AND inukit… A food field trip I definitely want to do soon…

We took the rind from the experiments, and cooked them for a few minutes in simple syrup then dried them for several hours in a very low heat oven… making candied dayap rind to garnish a special dessert I would make a little later in the day.



  1. myra_ps says:

    Ah, saturday, our birthdays… Thanks so much for the guava jam. Nico of down-to-earth was singing its praises :p Good thing I have my own bottle (NOT for sharing). Oh, and get ready for edible flowers!

    Aug 23, 2011 | 10:12 pm


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  3. nina says:

    MM, would you please provide the name of the lady who specializes in artful wrapper? Thank you.

    Aug 23, 2011 | 10:14 pm

  4. Bernadette says:

    ohhh…. I love dayap too… my kids got my love for the “sour”
    world that even when we eat out, the take the lemon/lime from their drinks to EAT it… which my husband detests—badly. Good job finding it MarketMan.

    Aug 23, 2011 | 10:16 pm

  5. Susie says:

    This is me…green with envy…..I so so so want some dayap! Belated birthday wishes, MM! Doing my annual Living in Cebu talk tomorrow for the new parents at school. Stopped by your shack to pick up some jams to serve tomorrow. Should have picked up some cards too! Darn.

    Enjoy your dayap haul. I actually bought a tree in Manila but wasn’t allowed to transport it home :-(

    Aug 23, 2011 | 10:27 pm

  6. Scramoodles says:

    My sister gives me dayaps from cagayan. Belated happy birthday MM! Glad we have the same birthday month :) and i received some zubuchon as a gift too. Yum!!!

    Aug 23, 2011 | 10:49 pm

  7. Melissa says:

    Happy birthday MM!

    Aug 23, 2011 | 11:51 pm

  8. betty q. says:

    There is an article on the web…artesdelasfilipinas.com….on the art of pastillas wrapper. The author gives us a short insight on this dying art…very interesting and one that I would like to learn myself one day and am willing to travel to San Miguel, Bulacan! It will be on my bucket list!

    Aug 23, 2011 | 11:52 pm

  9. Footloose says:

    I can squeeze a forcing bag to legibly inscribe a birthday cake, stud it with almost uniform stars and lasso it with a fairly convincing rope border but I find carving pumpkin for halloween difficult and dangerous. Carving three dimensional leaves and flowers out of fruit and vegetables as talented Thais often do is completely beyond my reach. So is carving fine outlines of recognizable figures on dayap rind even if equipped with a Dremel tool with the right tips. I’m afraid I have no skill in this department.

    Aug 24, 2011 | 12:03 am

  10. MP says:

    I am embarrassed to admit that I have never had dayap in my entire life! I’m not even sure I’ve seen one. But I love kalamansi so the foodie gods will forgive me…

    Ah Footloose, doesn’t matter if you have no carving skills. God blessed you with the gift of wit and weaving beautiful words that amaze us no end…

    Aug 24, 2011 | 2:32 am

  11. EbbaBlue says:

    Is Dayap rally same as Key Lime? I know Key Lime is different than the ordinary much cheaper limes here in the states; pero ito bang key lime dito ay talagang katulad ng local dayap natin. Tinanong ko lang, kasi I bought 2 lbs of key limes, ayun nasa ref pa rin wala pa akong nagagawa. We are lemon user, although once in a while I make pico-de-gallo and I have to use lime – some hispanic friend told me to use key lime and tomatillo instead.

    So gayahin ko kaya ang ginawa mo sa dayap lately. Maybe also I will try to make some juice out of it.

    I am now emailing my hipag in Sampaloc to go to Manila Seedling and buy at least 2 dayap trees, along with “black” bamboo shoots – both to plan in my Nanay’s farm in Quezon; wherein I have 100 Calamansi growing for 4 years now. Thanks for this post.

    Aug 24, 2011 | 3:14 am

  12. sister says:

    OMG, the carving set has been rediscovered. Mom insisted on buying that 35 years ago but as far as I know she never used it. Just became part of her kitchen arsenal. It was supposed to be for cutting out decor for her achara.

    Aug 24, 2011 | 3:29 am

  13. Mart says:

    That’s a lot of citrus!
    I’m not familiar with the flavor profle of dayap but if you have some left over, you could probably also try Eric Rippert’s Lemon Confit recipe. Very easy to do. The hardest part is waiting for it to “stew” in the fridge for a couple of weeks.
    I’ve tried it with Meyer lemons and it goes really well with broiled fish and I sometimes have it with fried chicken.

    Aug 24, 2011 | 4:42 am

  14. barang says:

    Does anyone know where I can get dayap here in North America? If we can get super sweet lanzones (langsat) in Toronto, dayap should be next.It is more heavenly than lime or lemon hands down. Wonder if I can accidentally leave a seed in my luggage on my next trip back fr MNL?!

    Aug 24, 2011 | 5:10 am

  15. tintin says:

    is the earlier post, egg pie with candied dayap?

    Aug 24, 2011 | 8:54 am

  16. Betchay says:

    Can you please do a separate article solely on your mom’s beautiful food carving set? I’m curious what each tool can do.
    Our dayap tree in the garden has several fruits now—just waiting for harvest time and I will try to re-create your experiments.

    Aug 24, 2011 | 9:19 am

  17. Footloose says:

    @EbbaBlue, Mart and Barang, Learned right here that our dayap is identical to key lime and made it certain by testing/tasting what is sold here (in Toronto) as Key Limes. They are imported from the United States. Flavor and acidity are identical. Can’t link since there have been just too many dayap posts in the past. Just search for “dayap” if you have time in your hands.

    @Barang, I am not correcting you but would like to clarify that to say that since lanzones are available here in Toronto then dayap should be next seems to conflate Canada and the US together. They are two separate countries.

    Aug 24, 2011 | 9:37 am

  18. barang says:

    Hi Footloose. It was wishful thinking on my part. Since lanzones (fr Thailand) and other exotic fruits are available in Toronto, I am hoping that they would have imported dayap too in the near future. I tried the key lime here before and it did not taste like the dayap I get from Bulacan!

    Aug 24, 2011 | 9:57 am

  19. happy hippo says:

    my lola refuses to cook leche flan without dayap. it really adds a different flavor to it. yummy!

    Aug 24, 2011 | 10:01 am

  20. charlie says:

    Mr. MM when I saw the limes in your blog I said hmmm he is making Margarita or lime some kind of lime drink

    Aug 24, 2011 | 10:18 am

  21. julie says:

    MM, seeing your mom’s set of carving tools made me remember the candied/dried singkamas that i used to have in Tarlac as dessert, roughly 30 yrs ago.These were cut/carved in an interesting way, which made them more fun to eat. We also had candied whole kamias, seeds intact, which were chewy and sweet but not too much, though, and still retained a tangy bite. Would you know MM if “old-fashioned” sweets like these are still available for sale? Iba talaga ang lasa! Thanks for sharing!

    Aug 24, 2011 | 10:31 am

  22. Susie says:

    MM, :-) There is a special place in heaven’s kitchen for you. Thank you !!!!

    The mango jam and the calamansi marmalade were an absolute hit! The Euros LOVED the marmalade…the Asians, the mango jam.

    Told them I make compound butter with the mango jam to serve when we have meriendas at home…molded in silicon and kept in freezer. Totally arte but nice presentation…sort of Neiman Marcus strawberry butter meets Cebu.

    Aug 24, 2011 | 10:36 am

  23. joey says:

    Woot woot! All hail the dayap loot! Much thanks again for your tip…can’t wait for the special dessert :)

    Aug 24, 2011 | 10:39 am

  24. millet says:

    oh my, that is an amazing carving set. my mom has a few basic food carving tools (but not as extensive as this set!), and we used to make spirals and flutes out of sincamas and half-ripe papaya, and baskets out of papaya and melons. i guess this would be more in the league of the thai fruit carvers. please do a separate post on this set, MM.

    a few posts back, i talked about having candied dayap stuffed with yema and/or nata de coco in a quaint restaurant along laguna de bay. the dayap rinds were carved – the resto people called them “bordado” (embroidered). some were preserved in syrup, and they looked so pretty in the jars.

    and by the way, i bought a dayap tree yesterday!

    Aug 24, 2011 | 10:40 am

  25. Jenny says:

    Loved this post! I can just imagine the wonderful dayap recipes you can make out of this. I remember partaking of pastillas-filled carved dayap in Bulacan. Yum. *dayap dreaming*

    Aug 24, 2011 | 1:55 pm

  26. el_jefe says:

    MM pastillas wrappers and carved dayap preserved are made by an old woman from Malolos Bulacan…Naalala ko tuloy ang lola ko sa Batangas na gumagawa ng inukit na dayap at lukban at minatamis na kamyas or kalamyas…ang galing nga eh nareretain ang greenish color…di naman nya kinakain dinidisplay lang nya sa garapon sa estante hehe…

    Aug 24, 2011 | 3:46 pm

  27. Nacho says:

    I have several Dayap bushes in our farm that I don’t pay much attention to. After seeing all the interest here I need to do some work on them so that I can get a constant supply of Dayap. They actually have fruits on them now but seem to be smaller than what you are holding…Time to get working on those bushes!

    Aug 24, 2011 | 4:49 pm

  28. Ella says:

    My mom’s from San Miguel, Bulacan and I remember vividly how we used to buy those oh so yummy pastillas with long wrappers that reminded me of mermaid’s tails, though more elaborate. My lola would take us to the best pastillas-maker in the neighborhood to see how these are being made and to buy some for pasalubong. As a kid, I didn’t particularly fancy pastillas with dayap. My mom said this is the best kind but now, I look for it’s distinct taste in every pastillas I try. Sadly, the pastillas I get as pasalubong nowadays are without dayap and not as plump and soft as they used to be.

    Aug 24, 2011 | 4:54 pm

  29. cumin says:

    Hi MM, belated happy birthday!

    Your mom’s set of carving tools reminds of me NACIDA, they came to my elementary school one day to demonstrate their use, and as a child I was in awe but couldn’t get my mother to buy us one. :-)

    In college a friend gifted me with a small bottle of carved dayap, much too pretty to devour. It’s really a mystery why dayap is so hard to find here, when it’s a staple in neighboring southeast Asian countries. Like you, I also prefer it to kalamansi.

    Aug 24, 2011 | 5:29 pm

  30. Footloose says:

    For those of you at a loss as to what pattern to etch on your dayap rind, google emu eggshell carving images and choose the less complex designs you can emulate.

    @Millet, I baffle my friends when I say Laguna de Bay to rhyme with bye because they all know it incorrectly as sounding like Manila Bay. The body of water was referred to by locals of the time as Lawa ng Bae which the Spaniards then translated as Laguna de Bay.

    Aug 24, 2011 | 6:00 pm

  31. EbbaBlue says:

    Footloose, thanks for the info. And yipee… I had my key limes as sawsawan for my deep fried “banagan” shrimp last night. I added a little bit of a prime quality thai patis at ayun nga ang sarap. Wala yung medicine taste like ng ordinary limes, mas madali pang pigain. So now, next to calamansi, meron na akong bagong sour fruit, third nga ang lemon. I told my hubby from now on, it will be on our grocery list… key limes.

    Aug 24, 2011 | 7:51 pm

  32. EbbaBlue says:

    Millet, saan ka naka-bili ng dayap tree. Uutusan ko ang hipag ko na bumili para madala sa Quezon Province. Please advise. Thanks.

    Aug 24, 2011 | 7:58 pm

  33. EbbaBlue says:

    For breakfast here at work, I am now eating cookies (from Ikea imported from Sweden) filled with vanilla topped with candied lemon-lime. Ang sarap pala. The topping was chewy soft, at distinct talaga yung taste nung lime, sweetness and sourness is so blended nicely. To those who posted about pastillas and leche flan with dayap, hindi pa ako nakakatikim nuon. Pagbalik ko riyan next April, mag-ha-hunt ako nyan sa Bulacan.

    Aug 24, 2011 | 8:04 pm

  34. Mandy says:

    Aling Luz, the wonderful lady who does pastillas wrappers & carved dayap lives in San Miguel, sometimes in Malolos, Bulacan. :) I hope more people learn her craft and pass on the tradition. I’d love to learn how to make the cut-out wrappers!

    Aug 25, 2011 | 1:38 am

  35. Dragon says:

    @ Footloose, Barang, interesting that when it comes to Philippine ‘produce’ (particularly fruits) a lot of countries restrict them. Here in Australia, am sure you are aware of the long-going issue of Philippine mangoes. They are adamant that all mangoes here in Oz are local. Guess what: in Melbourne supermarkets, we normally get the mangoes from Thailand.

    Aug 25, 2011 | 8:35 am

  36. Footloose says:

    @Dragon, I do not find these obviously paranoid proscriptions against Philippine fruits and foodstuffs annoying at all. I say let’s keep good Filipino stuff an impenetrable secret. Let them bigots perish in their benighted ignorance.

    Aug 25, 2011 | 8:20 pm

  37. S says:

    THAT is a wonderful collection of tools! You are very blessed!

    Aug 31, 2011 | 9:38 pm

  38. PITS, MANILA says:


    Sep 2, 2011 | 6:25 am

  39. PITS, MANILA says:


    Sep 2, 2011 | 6:29 am

  40. vitrix says:

    Dayap is not easy to find probably because the tree is difficult to grow. I have raised several dayap trees before. But while I had been lucky to harvest its fruits for more than a couple of fruiting cycles, it had been my misfortune and my deep sense of loss to see several trees wither before my very own eyes. Why the trees simply die without any perceptible rhyme or reason remains unknown. What I know, however, is that despite repeated frustrations, I still continue to plant and raise dayap, hoping that the next tree to bear fruit will be a sturdy one and will manage to outlive me. Oh, I love this tree so much that I am willing to trade one dayap for several kalamansi trees. It has a lovely smell, a kind of fragrance so distinct and inviting when used in leche flan. As its grated skin lends a fragrant smell and a lovely flavor to leche flan. To many Pampangos, a lecha flan is incomplete without dayap.

    Sep 2, 2011 | 3:15 pm

  41. Glady says:

    Hello sir, may i know where to buy lots of dayap?I badly needed them for my thesis T_T

    Oct 3, 2012 | 6:44 am

  42. Rafael says:


    San po ung salcedo market? Taga pasig po ako, naghahanap po kami ng dayap para sa leche flan sa pasko. Sanay kasi kami na merong dayap ang leche flan at hindi kami satisfied kapag wala. Thanks po.


    Nov 4, 2012 | 4:31 pm

  43. Marketman says:

    Rafael, Salcedo market is in the center of Salcedo Village in Makati City. Market on Saturday mornings only. You can also sometimes find dayap at the Centris Market, in Quezon City, on Sundays only, the Centris Market is located on EDSA near Quezon Avenue I think…

    Nov 4, 2012 | 5:31 pm

  44. Myra Mendiola says:

    Good day guys!

    For those bakeshops or filipino dessert cuisines who are looking for supplies of affordable dayap, you may order via my email at myrabelle_mendiola@yahoo.com. For your information. Thank you! :)

    Feb 23, 2013 | 12:23 pm

  45. franz says:

    i’m looking for dayap tree. been looking for close to two years now. can’t find one. can anyone help me? franz_b_69@yahoo.com

    i’m from paranaque by the way.

    May 13, 2013 | 1:20 pm


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