‘Tis The Season For Tikoy! Here Are Our Best Tikoy Buys And How To Cook It
You know Chinese New Year is approaching when you start seeing boxes of tikoy being sold around town—in Chinese restaurants, Chinese groceries, and even supermarkets. It’s called niangao (pronounced nyen-gaoww) which sounds like “year high,” signifying the promise of getting higher income or attaining a higher position in the new year. Niangao is known as tikoy in the Philippines, derived from the Hokkien/Fujian word ti (sweet) and ke (cake). Made with glutinous rice, lard, water, and sugar, tikoy is pounded into a paste and usually formed into a round shape.
The best buys
There are many kinds of tikoy around, plain white or brown, with different flavors and shapes. If you’re hunting for tikoy to give away, here are our choice picks in order of preference:
This may very well be the gold standard in homemade tikoy. Sold out of a modest Quezon City bakeshop since 1991, the tikoy here isn’t rubbery or starchy, but boasts just the right amount of chewiness, staying soft even after it’s cooked. It’s available in both brown and white variants.
47-A Nicanor Roxas Street, Quezon City, (02) 731-7147
This bakeshop specializing in tikoy is another old-time favorite thanks to its well-balanced flavor and moderate chew, although it’s a tad sweeter than the Sweet Taste tikoy.
44-C Shaw Boulevard, Mandaluyong, (02) 531-6961
Eng Bee Tin
If you’re in a rush, drop by any branch of this big-time Binondo chain for quality tikoy that offers a good ratio of sweetness and chewiness, although with a bit more starch than the other two. The tikoy is available in a whole range of flavors and sizes.
628 Ongpin Street, Binondo, Manila, (02) 288-8888, www.engbeetin.com for list of branches
How to cook tikoy
With Chinese New Year fast approaching, expect to receive a box or two of tikoy from your friends or business associates. But if you’re not a big fan, you may be wondering, “What do I do with all this tikoy?” Before giving it away or letting it sit in the refrigerator until forgotten, here are 3 nifty ways to cook and enjoy this once-a-year sweet treat:
The tried and tested
Slice tikoy, dip in beaten eggs, then fry in a little cooking oil.
Slice tikoy into strips, wrap in lumpia wrapper, then fry in cooking oil. You can also add a variety of fillings: langka or jackfruit slices, ube jam, slices of cheese, or whatever suits your fancy.
Cut tikoy into small cubes, then just add to your guinataan cooking in coconut milk. They’re a great alternative to the usual bilo-bilo or glutinous rice balls.
Photos by Butchie Peña
Styling by Butchie Peña and Cecille Esperanza