Bobotu Campangan's Version of Tamales

Boboto, Capampangan’s Version of Tamales

Boboto is a Capampangan delicacy that is a gelatinous savory pudding. It is popularly known in the country as Tamales, which is the same name as the original dish from Mexico. This delicacy was introduced by the Spaniards in the Philippines when it was still under their occupation.

Indigenized Ingredients

The Mexican tamales and boboto are the same in some characteristics such as being a complete meal in one package and savory. Also, the manner of cooking is the same where the ingredients are wrapped in leaves and steamed.

However, the two differ in ingredients, hence also differ in flavor and taste. The ingredients were indigenized when the Capampangan used locally available produce. Originally the Mexican tamales used corn flour and corn husk. However, since rice and banana are more abundant in the country, Capamapangans used the two as a substitute. The Mexican version of Tamales uses corn flour, but boboto used rice flour. Meanwhile, for its wrapper, the corn husk was replaced with banana leaf. As for the topping, Capampangans use in-stock meat that can add more taste to the dish.

Bobuto tamales savory pudding
boboto savory pudding

Artistic look of the dish 

Boboto has two distinct parts, the white part which serves at the base and the yellow-orange part which is the upper layer of the dish. They are prepared separately first with their own set of ingredients. The white part of tamales is made of galapong “or rice dough, coconut milk, and salt. While the yellow-orange part is sauteed in atsuete or annatto, powdered pepper, salt, and coconut milk. They are then combined before adding the toppings. 

Variants of Boboto

Boboto has variants. There is ordinary, special, and super special. The secret behind achieving richness in boboto is the amount of the coconut milk added on it. The more the coconut milk, the more it tastes better. Special bobotu have more coconut milk while the super special also has more coconut milk but has more different kinds of toppings like ground peanut, ham, shredded chicken, and salted egg. 

Tamales Bobotu with Salted Egg Toppings
bobotu with salted egg toppings

The wrapper

Boboto is neatly wrapped in banana leaves and tied with straws. The leaf wrapper hints that it is one of the local traditional delicacies in the country. Aside from using the banana leaf as a wrapper, it also adds a distinct flavor to the dish. The aroma of banana leaves makes the boboto smell more organic and appetizing. 

Boboto’s name and the domestic voting story

Boboto means “to vote” in Capampangan. Some old local tales suggest that the dish name speaks more about the cultural history of the country. It says that this dish was cooked by Campampangan women who gathered together while their husbands were out to vote for the elections. While the men were voting for the politicians to be elected, the women would vote about the ingredients to include in the dish, hence the delicacy was named boboto. While this story is what some folks would tell on how the Capampangan’s version of tamales has been named, this same story is also told by some locals from Candaba when explaining how Bobotung Asan got its name. 

Boboto Tamales Banana Leaf Wrap
boboto and banana leaf wrap

Ways of eating boboto

The basic boboto tastes salty, spiced, and creamy coconut rice pudding. Depending on the toppings added, it could also be peanutty or meaty. The toppings flavor blends with the taste of the white base and the upper layer of the bobotu. This filling dish is usually eaten during breakfast or snacks. It is best partnered with hot coffee or can be eaten with bread.

bobotu tamales in banana leaves
bobotu in banana leaves

Finding boboto

Boboto is normally produced by home industries and sold in markets, and sidewalk stalls. Also, you may see some vendors outside cathedrals during December. You can also see buy if from ambulant vendors around barrios or small towns, Meanwhile, some purchase it from pasalubong or souvenir centers and rice cake stores.

Be delighted and bond over food 💛

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