Many years ago, I recall enjoying Budbud Gourmet Suman. I remember it to be well made, as one would expect any homemade specialty rice cake to be.
Recently, while scrolling through Instagram, a plethora of colorful suman caught my attention. I caught a glimpse of the distinct Budbud label wrapped around it. I realized that the rice cakes were from the same makers of the suman I enjoyed years ago, but this time, with 16 flavors to choose from.
Budbud Gourmet Suman is the brainchild of Maria Isabel Vicente van Hoven, who was born and raised in Bais City.
She grew up eating budbud kabog (suman made with millet). She soon discovered that the delicacies she so freely enjoyed weren’t readily available in Manila. This inspired her to create and sell them—thus Budbud was born.
All the suman they make are natural, with no preservatives added and made with no shortcuts. Keeping it as natural as possible is their utmost concern. To ensure quality, the Van Hovens work closely with a select group of farmers from whom they source their ingredients.
Giannina van Hoven said that the ube, sugar, kabog, tableya, cassava, rice and other ingredients are all sourced directly from farmers. Even the baskets used to package their products are bought straight from the local weavers.
According to Giannina, “It’s important for to us to work closely with them to ensure they get the profit of their hard labor and to safeguard the quality of the produce that goes into our suman.”
Consistency is key, and I must admit, Budbud has remained very consistent through the years. The suman cooks have been with the family for over two decades. These are the same hands that make the jams from scratch, cooking them the old-fashioned way, devoid of preservatives and food coloring. Only small batches are made at a time, to maintain the quality of their rice cakes.
Enamored, enchanted and thoroughly impressed are the words I’d use to best describe my Budbud Suman sampling experience. All 16 variants were exceptional in their own right. Each one was distinct, with their own flavor profile, taste and texture. Not one was better than the other. On the palate, one could deduce that the ingredients used were premium, and that the cooking process was masterfully executed.
In fact, tasting them made my imagination run wild, as there are so many ways to enjoy them. So much so, that I was inspired to pen some of my personal serving suggestions.
With all the possibilities, it is easy to see why Budbud is so well received not just here, but also in the United States, and soon in Europe.
Budbud, savored one rice cake at a time, captures the essence and the very flavors of our beloved Philippine islands.
Budbud Kabog Organic Millet Seed—I like this slathered with butter then sprinkled with a bit of sugar while warm. This is how I like to eat plain Budbud, too.
Budbud Kabog with Coco Sugar—This is delightful as is. The earthiness from the coco sugar gives it depth of flavor. Ginger tea will surely enhance it.
Budbud Ube—This I would dredge in flour, fry in butter and serve with crème anglaise and top with minatamis na langka.
Budbud Ube-Langka—I would steam this, then lightly brush it with butter and cap it with minatamis na macapuno.
Budbud Mangga—A rice cake roll with naturally ripened mango that I would dredge in flour, fry in butter, cap in mango sauce splashed with orange liquor and brandy, and finish off with fresh mango balls.
Budbud Cassava and Cassava Suman with coco jam—Steam then cap with a little cream, grated cheese and brown sugar, then broil in a toaster oven or torch.
Budbud Tsokolate and Budbud Champorado—Drizzle with milk chocolate syrup and thickened coconut cream, and top with brown sugar, latik and flaked tinapa. Pair with salabat.
Budbud Biko—Serve drizzled with warm coconut cream cooked in a little sugar and a pinch of salt.
Budbud Biko—Warm and finish with latik and grated panucha.Budbud Buko Pandan—Dredge in flour, fry in butter and when golden, serve with a small scoop of macapuno ice cream.
Budbud Tres Dulces—Rice cake roll with ube, banana and langka in a row. This is by itself a winner. I like this plain to experience all the three different flavors.Budbud Luya—Steam and have with tsokolate batirol.
Budbud Champ Tuyo—Rice cake roll with organic native chocolate and dried fish. Steam and drizzle with condensed milk and cap with more dried fish flakes of choice.
Tel. 0917-5345716 or 0917-5902209; follow @gourmetbudbud on Facebook, Instagram.
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