I've had crazy cravings lately all the time during Christmas and prolly one of them is puto bumbong, the intriguing purple snack that looks like ube-flavored suman, but doesn't have that sweet ube taste. Would you believe the first time I tried and fell for puto bumbong wasn't here in our country but in the States! Weird I know. You usually find puto bumbong outside churches during Christmas and sometimes all year round that I sometimes take it for granted. Oh whelps.
[picture from ifood.tv]
The rice mix is on the bamboo tubes. The purple color is actually just purple food coloring instead of ube. I don't know why it's purple though, maybe related to Advent or something, whoever invented it. You could have pink or yellow puto bumbong though and it would still taste the same but it still won't be the same I guess, since we're used to seeing it purple.
Anyhow, as Christmas season kicks in and with Simbang Gabi again coming up, I know early churchgoers would be looking forward to having puto bumbong after mass. I was told though, when I was craving again to try Via Mare's famous puto bumbong and to try it with cheese. It's usually with brown sugar, butter, and grated coconut but cheese? Then I have to see.
I went to the famous Via Mare in Landmark. It's now shoved over to the side instead of the center of the second floor, where we're used to seeing it, providing a more intimate atmosphere for meetings or lunches. I got the menu, and I saw that it's available in plain (with coconut and brown/muscovado sugar) or you could jazz it up by adding cheese or queso de bola. I opted to add cheese instead, since queso de bola could be too strong.
It's two long pieces of puto bumbong when served and they're quite generous with the toppings. I don't know how I'll be able to finish the coconut though and too much sugar would be too sweet.
The one they serve outside church had four pieces generously spread with margarine and coated with just sugar and coconut, but the pieces were cut smaller and skinnier, so more or less, the rice component is the same.
Anyway so how was it overall? It was okay. Taste was the same as the one I'm used to having every Sunday. The cheese however made it interesting and it lessened the sweetness if I've had too much of the sugar. I just wasn't fond of the texture though, since I prefer a smoother milling of the rice and none of the rougher texture. The cheese they used was of good quality though, and for someone like me who could only tolerate up to only a certain amount of dairy, this didn't cause me to pump out the dairy out of my gut in seconds.
I guess though for the price it has (Php 65 for plain, and add additional Php16 for cheese), the one in our neighborhood suki would do for my cravings. I'll bring a balikbayan here for sure, for the ambiance especially after touring them in the mall. Cheese is an interesting addition, and I'm going to wonder how it is when it melts too, so hmmm... I guess I'll experiment that with my Php15.00 alternative and grate cheese on top before nuking it in the microwave for a few seconds.