I found this picture from Google and I thought I’ll write about one of our Filipino delicacies – suman! It is a rice cake made of glutinous rice cooked with coconut milk and often steamed wrapped with buri palm leaves or banana leaves. Usually we have them for fiestas or for meriendas. As you can see from the picture, everyone is involved in making it and it’s fun making it, too. I am looking forward to eating it when I’m in the Philippines. I’m flying home tomorrow afternoon and I can’t wait to be there. So excited to be home again, see my mother, friends and relatives, as well as classmates and colleagues.
There are different varieties of suman – suman sa ibus, binuo, suman sa inantala, sumang kamoteng kahoy, suman sa lihiya and suman cassava. The way we wrap them is a unique art in itself and can be traced to pre-colonial roots which have had contact with Indian traditions. Wrappers utilise a wide variety of indigenous materials such as palm, banana, anahaw and bamboo leaves. Some wrappings are simple folds such as those found in the binuo and the kamoteng kahoy, resulting in rectangular suman. Others are in vertical coils like the inantala, giving it a tubular form. Still others are in pyramid-like shapes, like the balisungsong. Some forms of suman are eaten like ice cream–with cones made from banana leaves, and still others are in very complex geometric patterns like the pusu (“heart”). Some are woven into the shape of a banana blossom (which in the Philippines is referred to as the banana plant’s “heart”), or the pinagi (from the word pagi, a complex octahedral star).