Bingka dawa

Bingka dawa, delicious rice cake

Bingka dawa as served at West 35

Bingka dawa as served at West 35

Charito, the bingka dawa vendor at the Balamban public terminal

Charito, the bingka dawa vendor at the Balamban public terminal

While waiting for my ride after a photoshoot in Balamban back to Cebu City, a vendor came up to me and offered me her ware, packs of bingka dawa, three pieces wrapped in banana leaves for just P25 ($0.55).

I’m a fan of native delicacies and bought two packs, especially after she mentioned that she supplies these to West 35, a highland resort that I’ve stayed at last year and where I first tasted this delicious rice cake.

Most Filipinos love rice cakes. In Cebu, it has a myriad of types under the collective word bingka (bibingka in Tagalog). While most are made from pilit (glutinous rice), or cassava, there’s another one, a specialty ingredient that can be more expensive: dawa (millet).

Piles of wrapped bingka dawa

Piles of wrapped bingka dawa

For lovebird enthusiasts, dawa is familiar to them as a bird food. But in places like Catmon in Cebu and Dumaguete City, it is formed into budbud, delicacies like rice cakes but elongated and wrapped in banana leaves. In Asturias? They make this into round rice cakes but instead of ground glutinous rice, uses this ingredient.

I do love it’s texture. While budbud kabog can be very grainy, bingka dawa, since its ground millet, has a smoother, softer texture than most bingka made from glutinous rice. It has more fluff. Depending on the other ingredients, it can be made richer with coconut milk. In West 35 Resort, three pieces is microwaved hot, drizzled with chocolate syrup on top and deliciously served for P100 ($2.25). It is best paired with ice cold coke, or if you want a more traditional snack, thick chocolate made from pure cacao tablea.

Bingka dawa unwrapped

Bingka dawa unwrapped and delicously eaten plain

You can order bingka dawa from the vendor, Charito Baligwat. She’s from Uwak, Asturias and has been selling these native and delicious rice cakes since 2006. She also supplies the needs of West 35 Eco Mountain Resort, a beautiful place to escape.

Estan Cabigas is freelance photographer, blogger and writer based in Makati City, the Philippines. A true blue Cebuano, he makes stunning images and meaningful photo stories. His work has been published in local and international publications including National Geographic Magazine, Geo (Germany), Sunday Times Magazine (London) and other publications.

He is also a peripatetic traveler and has traveled to all 81 Philippines provinces.

I’m open for work, collaborations and inquiries, including hotel, restaurant and site features and reviews.

2 Comments

  1. Micole l Philippine Traveler
    July 30, 2013 @ 19:19

    kalami naay shredded coconut and sugar.. haha ginagawa kong parang palitaw. =)

  2. Hazel S. Duaban
    February 16, 2017 @ 8:36

    Hi, mam… Any updates sa contact # ni charito?? Ty

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