This is absolutely not your ordinary rice based dish. The reason? Well, this rice dish, believe it or not is as old as the oldest civilization in Mesoamerica known as the Aztecs. Researchers found that Tamal, as previously called- a rice dish wrapped in leaves , were being served in the Latin America as early as 5000 to 8000 BCE and has been used as portable food often to support their armies, hunters and travelers. The Spaniards who came in Mexico some thousands of years later found the dish and became responsible in spreading it to its colonies including of course, the Philippines. And Batangas is the province best known for this simple yet historically significant delicacy.The province has two distinct tamales. First one is the plain sticky rice with sugar syrup and desiccated coconut which is the tamales of Lipenos and nearby cities and towns like Mataas na Kahoy. This dish is also referred to as suman because it is very identical to it in the way of cooking except that suman is much smaller and is often sweetened, thus served without the syrup.
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The other one is the stuffed tamales popular in Ibaan, Batangas. This one is made of ground sticky rice and is stuffed with chicken strips at the top and a small slice of hardboiled egg. Not like other tamales which is sweet, Ibaan Tamales is a bit salty, spicy and has a nutty taste which comes from the orange part of the tamales. In Batangas city, Rosario, Padre Garcia and Taal, people use pork instead of chicken in tamales.
Tamales which has been a traditional dish served in households most often during special occasions is as well available in the wet market and can be eaten anytime you want it and you’ll surely say yes to Batangas tamales.