Sugar Sun glossary terms in alphabetical order

At long last, an alphabetical listing of the Sugar Sun glossary terms. Simply click on the graphic of your choice to open the annotated post in a new window. This list will be updated to include new terms as their posts are written.

I hope the posts are helpful in rounding out the historical context of the Sugar Sun series. If you have any suggestions or comments, please contact me through one of the methods to the left of this page.

Sugar Sun series glossary term #17: bodbod (also spelled budbud)

Javier approached her, but she was too engrossed in her study of the food to notice. He positioned his chin behind the nape of her neck. “Bodbod,” he whispered.

Georgina spun so fast that she lost her balance. Javier steadied her before she could crash into the table and ruin the peddler’s week of hard work. She recovered, though he suspected her heart was racing. She pulled her wrist away from him before he could count the beats.

Javier handed some change to the vendor and took the sweet in question. “Bodbod,” he explained. “It is made of sticky rice and chocolate. Here. You will like it.”

She tore off a small piece and held it up for further inspection.

“Really,” he said, trying not to laugh. He counted off the ingredients on his fingers. “Rice, coconut milk, sugar, salt, and chocolate. No tricks, I swear.”

— From Under the Sugar Sun

Needless to say, Georgina liked the bodbod. I mean, what’s not to like? Sticky rice with mango alone was responsible for a fifteen-pound weight gain back when I was 19. Add chocolate to that mix? I’m a goner.

I was inspired to write this post because Suzette sent me a picture of a the Budbud-Kabog stall in Legazpi Market in Makati, and I got all jealous, like Fifty Shades of Green. And the owner is from Bais! And he has sugar baron stories! I’ve got more research to do…checking PAL fares now.

Anyway, bodbod was one of the highlights of my research trip to Bais, Tanjay, and Dumaguete. Apparently, I’m not the only one: Andrews Calumpang wrote a song about the delight, entitled “Ang Budbud sa Tanjay.” Tanjay even has a festival to bodbod every third week in December, where they make the world’s biggest bodbod (80 kilos) and the world’s smallest (fits in a matchbox).

The famous sweet sticky rice treat of Tanjay, next to Bais, called Bodbod. It includes native chocolate, so of course it’s good. Photo by Jennifer Hallock.

If you’re new to street food, you’ll notice the eco-friendly banana leaf packaging. Given my fight to extricate new earbuds out of their blister pack this morning, I think we should sell everything in banana leaves. According to Choose Philippines, the antibacterial properties of the coconut oil will keep the bodbod fresh for a week.

All signs point to bodbod! Fate wants me to eat all the sweet treats. It’s destiny!

Sugar Sun series glossary term #5: Tsokolate


Being colonized by Spanish priests put more emphasis on otherworldly bliss rather than good old-fashioned worldly bliss, like cooking. However, the Spanish did chocolate well, and, in the end, isn’t that all that matters? One might think that hot chocolate would not be desirable in a tropical country, but it was not always served steaming hot. And for several months, the weather in the islands can be downright cool—okay, “coolish” to New Englanders. And, okay, only in the mornings, but this is when tsokolate is served. Chocolate in the mornings? Sign me up!

Glutinous (sweet) rice flakes with hot chocolate made with tablea, the native Philippines chocolate. The rice flakes sink to the bottom, swell up with the chocolatey goodness, and create a warm, filling, tasty chocolate rice porridge. Creative Commons photo by Chotda.

Making it in the early 1900s went like this. First, you had to be sure your lechera (milkmaid) had come and filled the earthen jar in your kitchen. She probably did that in the wee hours of the morning, so you’re good. Grab your chocolatera—the brew pot, maybe made of blue enameled metal—and add milk, a chocolate tablea or two (sold in tiny cacao hockey pucks or even handmade balls with ground cashew nut), sugar, and sometimes egg white.

Creative Commons photo by TwinkleTuason.

The trick is that you cannot just let it burn on the range. You must constantly mix and beat it with your batidor, the wooden implement in the picture above. You swirl the batidor between your palms and it smooths and froths as you cook. The result is thicker and less sweet than American hot chocolate, but it is more true to the Mesoamerican drink the Spanish adopted. Check out this site for great action photos!