* Hanging sensation

Gestart door Kano, zaterdag 8 januari 2011, 02:13:26

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Hanging sensation

Sun.Star - Saturday, January 8 2010

BEHOLD! One of the best tourist attractions this city can boast of–only edible.

Hanging rice, or more fondly called as puso, is very popular here in the city when it comes to feasting on grilled dishes or saucy barbeques.

True-blue Cebuanos can easily tell anyone that no barbeque meal feels quite like the real experience without the puso. It has easily become a tabletop symbol of our feasting culture here in Cebu.

And although some are quick to point out that puso is a "genuinely-Cebuano product," there are claims that it can be seen in different parts of Southeast Asia as well. It is generally called ketupat (the term is based on belah ketupat, the Indonesian translation of the English word "rhombus"), or packed rice in Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. Here in the Philippines, it is called bugnoy in Hiligaynon, patupat in Kapampangan and ta'mu in Tausug.

Basically, puso is rice prepared in such a way that it is "wrapped" in woven young coconut palm fronds. The more detailed process of cooking puso is as follows: First, the organic casing is weaved into a diamond-shaped enclosure, then filled with raw rice through the small opening at the top–just enough to fill about half of the fist-sized leaf pack.

Then, the whole bunch is lowered into a drum of boiling water, where it is left to cook. Soon enough, each puso expands and cooks just perfectly with the rice fitting tightly within each pack. The steaming bunch is then lifted out and voila–instantly packed rice ready to go.

Why should one go through the hassles of making puso, despite the conventional way of cooking rice that is already known to most of us?

It is said that this unique rice preparation stemmed from local seafarers' need to keep cooked rice from spoiling during travels. Which brings this story to the advantages of hanging rice.

The most obvious part is that the rice is protected against flies, insects, or dust particles. Another is that it is an environmentally friendly way of keeping rice, as the packaging is made from totally biodegradable material, instead of plastic bags.

Lastly, they say the young coconut palm leaves affect the rice's flavor in a positive manner, and therefore makes it more a pleasure to eat compared to steamed rice served directly from pot to plate–although, the latter is subjective. It is quite impossible to imagine someone who grew up in Cebu to have never eaten puso in his or her lifetime. But then again there are always exemptions to the rule. Anyhow, expect to see a lot of these hanging sensations on street and sidewalk barbeque stalls especially during the Sinulog festival.

Indeed, the puso has become a cultural symbol in itself.

Daar waar de regenboog eindigt daar zal ik nooit komen totdat ik daar ooit zal zijn