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Almost every Filipino born in the ‘80s (or earlier) can relate to childhood memories of waking up in the early weekend hours to the voice of the magtataho or taho vendor making his daily rounds along the streets of his own local town. To many Filipino kids, this marks the start of yet another weekend bliss where the days are long and full of fun possibilities, packed with promise. And there’s no better way to start it than with a cup of silky smooth sweetened soy pudding topped with tapioca pearls.

This is the kind of Saturday mornings I grew up with, and taho has always been a staple breakfast treat. To this day (though less frequent than before) whenever I hear manong magtataho call out to every home, as if giving each household its personalized weekend wake-up call, my heart still gets giddy, and I find myself still wanting to run outside with some change and my own cup in hand like the little boy that I still am. Even then I have already grown fond of such soy goodness.

It’s a good thing that I never developed an aversion to soy and its taste. Because growing up, only then did I find out that soy is not only perfect as a Filipino treat, but it also provides a good number of health benefits.

For one, soy is a good alternative source of protein, which is the building block of cells. This is especially beneficial for vegetarians/vegans who do not get their recommended daily protein intake from meat products. Whether you want to lose or gain weight healthily, soy proves to be helpful either way. Because soy can suppress appetite, it helps to prevent overeating. On the other hand, when consumed in large amounts, soy can lead to weight gain as well because of it is rich in fiber and protein.

The antioxidant properties of soy make it perfect for preventing cancer. Soy, too, is a rich source of unsaturated fat. In turn, this leads to lower levels of cholesterol and, thus, healthier hearts. In addition, the copper and iron in soy are essential in forming red blood cells. This aids in avoiding dangerous conditions such as anemia. Healthier stomachs and healthier bones are also some of the beneficial by-products of including soy in your diet. The fiber in soy promotes regular bowel movement, while its high calcium content helps build stronger bones.

Soy is also for the ladies. As a good source of isoflavones, soy helps to ease symptoms of menopause. Alternatively, the high levels of vitamin B and folic acid make soy important for pregnant women and ensure a happy, healthy baby.

Although needing further support, some research find promising results linking soy to the prevention and management of diabetes. This is especially true for Asian populations. Last but not least, not only does soy help reduce sleep disorders like insomnia, but its high magnesium content increases the quality, duration, and restfulness of sleep.

Take these with a grain of salt, though, as organicfacts.net lists two possible side effects of taking in too much soy:

Estrogen Levels: Since there are estrogen-mimicking compounds in soybeans, men can occasionally develop a hormonal imbalance if they consume high amounts of soybeans or soy milk, for example. In men, this can lead to infertility, sexual dysfunction, lower sperm count, and even an increase in the chances of certain cancers. Additional research is ongoing in this area.

Goiters: There are certain anti-thyroid compounds contained in soy that can disrupt the activity of the thyroid gland and result in goiters, as well as an interruption of normal hormonal activity in the body.

Ultimately, with a healthy dose of caution and the correct information, we cannot deny that a good number of health benefits can be gained from soy. And for a sweet ending, try foxyfolksy.com’s homemade taho recipe for that silky smooth goodness:



  • 2 cups (500mL) soy milk, unsweetened (5g fat / 100 mL)
  • 1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2½ teaspoon (level) Epsom salt
  • ⅛ cup water
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • ¼ cup uncooked small tapioca pearls


  • 1.Boil water in a kettle. It should be enough for the water bath.
  • 2.Place a pot on top of the stove and place a heat-proof bowl big enough for 500mL of liquid in the middle of it.
  • 3.In a small cup, dissolve cornstarch in ⅛ cup water then add the Epsom salt and stir until dissolved.
  • 4.Pour the Epsom salt mixture into the empty bowl. Add the soy milk to the mixture in a steady stream, not too fast but not too slow. Do NOT stir! Once both mixtures are combined, try not to agitate it or it will not curdle as smoothly.
  • 5.Now, pour the boiling water into the pot just high enough to be on the same level of the mixture in the bowl.
  • 6.Cover pot with the lid covered with clean cloth to absorb the steam and prevent it from dropping back into the Taho mixture.
  • 7.Turn on the stove to medium-low heat and let it cook for 15-20 minutes or until the Taho becomes firm to the touch but wiggly. While waiting for the Taho to cook, prepare the arnibal and tapioca pearls.

To Make Arnibal:

In a small pot, combine equal parts of brown sugar and water. Bring it to boil over medium heat while stirring occasionally and let it simmer until it thickens into a syrup (about 7-10 minutes).

To Cook Tapioca Pearls:

  • 1.Boil a half liter of water and add the tapioca pearls. Let it cook for 10 minutes. Place a colander/strainer in a bowl or pot and pour the contents to separate the tapioca from the water. Use the same water and bring it to boil the second time. Wash the strained tapioca pearls thoroughly with tap water and put it back to the boiling water and cook again until they become completely translucent and no more white spot at the core.
  • 2.Using a wide spoon or ladle, make thin scoops of Taho and transfer to a glass. Add some arnibal and Tapioca pearls. Enjoy while warm.





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