Puto balanghoy

Native delicacy in Cebu that is healthy and delicious

native delicacy in cebu

Puto balanghoy (traditional cassava cake) topped with caramelized muscovado sugar)

Puto balanghoy is a native delicacy in Cebu is a delicious snack that is healthy and cheap. This native delicacy is made by steaming a mixture of grated cassava and coconut and topped with a sprinkle of muscovado sugar. I remember my mother used to bring me these from the church whenever I’m home in Cebu.

Estrella’s livelihood

For Estrella Bucao, 39, she remembers growing up as a child, her mother selling these native delicacy in Cebu. Mao kini ang nagpa eskuela sa amo (this is what supported us through school), she beams with pride as she tended a batch of four puto balanghoy cooking atop her makeshift steamer. After she checked these, she grabbed one by one and freed the cakes from their coconut shell mold as she prepared another batch.

The yellowish native cakes, hot from the steamer is just delicious to look at. Early batches are neatly lined packed in plastic atop a small table. Compared to biko, another type of native cake, its not as oily. It’s sweetness is only attributed to the melted muscovado sugar on top. Complex carbohydrates from the cassava and coconut provides energy. One piece is so filling.

This roadside puto balanghoy stall beside the church in my hometown sells for just P5.00 and available during afternoons.

native delicacy in cebu

Grated cassava + grated coconut + muscovado sugar = puto balanghoy

native delicacy in cebu

Grated cassava mixed with grated coconut cooks on top of an improvised steamer

native delicacy in cebu

Estrella Bucao, 39, has, as far as she can remember, grew up with her mother selling these delicacies. Now, she’s tending her own shack where she prepares, steams and sells her native cakes.

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.

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