Every morning and afternoon the familiar bellow of the neighborhood taho vendor cuts through the din of traffic from nearby streets, the rustling of leaves from the garden and the hum of man-made electrical appliances. It is an almost animal like howl, the last syllable hanging in the air for what seems like seconds. By the time you grab PHP10 and get to your gate, he is just in front of it. While I am generally fond of soybean curd, I never grew up eating taho as it was considered one of those potentially â€œdirtyâ€ street foods. Today, we live in a gated community and it actually surprises yet delights me that Mang Amado appears to be the sole ambulant vendor that is allowed to ply his trade within the village (I can only surmise that he must have great connections or a large adoring public). I sometimes think I should come up with some outrageously delicious snack and walk door to door to make a living, get some exercise and meet new peopleâ€¦
This snack appears in many forms throughout Southeast Asia, and Indonesians had it with a sugared syrup as well. The soybean custard is silky smooth and it generally flavored with sweet brown molasses syrup and in some cases sagu or tapioca is also added. In the morning run, the taho is often still warm while by the afternoon it is cold and sometimes even better if left in the refrigerator for an hour or so. Healthy except for the sugar content, this high protein, low fat and low cost snack is delicious, nutritious and economical. My daughter likes it and has been buying it from Mang Amado with increasing frequencyâ€¦I try not to put the same streetfood biases my parents had in the 1960â€™sâ€¦ but I do sometimes fret about hygiene issues, especially with those old lingering warnings that it was made with â€œPlaster of Parisâ€ and other such bizarre talesâ€¦ She does give Mang Amado her own glass and eats it in the house with our spoonsâ€¦ When we stopped him the other day to get some taho and to take his photo for this post, it was the first time that I really took notice of the contraption used to carry the taho; it hangs at different heights and the shape of the stainless or tin buckets differsâ€¦he claims simply for balance when walking. On a good day he probably sells upwards of 80 servings for a daily gross income of PHP800; backbreaking work done at a stately pace with frequent stops and just a bit of chismis.