[custom_breadcrumbs]

The Fascinating History of Puso in Cebu

Share this: 

Puso is a famous delicacy that Cebuanos love to pair with various Filipino dishes.

Many Cebu street food stalls and small-scale eateries are known for selling the famous puso. This diamond-shaped delicacy is the go-to choice to pair with any pork, beef, chicken, or seafood dish, thanks to its affordable price and value.

This is made by putting rice inside a pouch made of coconut fronds locally called “lukay.” Then it is steamed until cooked. As it cooks, the rice takes the shape of the pouch, forming a solid chunk you can eat easily with your bare hands. 

The final product is then hung and cut off when customers are ready to eat. This is where the name “hanging rice” comes from.

Because of how simple and easy it is to eat, it has become a popular choice in many street-side eateries, where it is paired with a variety of Cebuano dishes like Ginabot and Tuslob Buwa

However, did you know that there’s an interesting history behind this famous delicacy?

THE HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE OF PUSO IN CEBU

Puso is commonly served in many street food stalls.

Puso weaving is believed to have been practiced even before the Spaniards arrived in Cebu in the 1500s. Before converting to Christianity, early Cebuanos offered pieces of hanging rice to diwatas during religious celebrations. 

Hanging rice is considered “food for the gods,” spawning several rituals to give thanks, ask for better fortune, commemorate fallen ancestors, and many more.  

One interesting ritual practiced was during the collection of Tuba. Locals offer pieces of puso to the gods near the trees right before extracting their sap to ferment and create the alcoholic beverage known as Tuba.  

Other rituals consisted of prayers for deceased relatives to protect the living, praying for a good harvest, and in some extreme cases, driving away demons. 

Weaving lukay even became an important art form in the Cebuano community, with early Cebuanas being taught how to make them at an early age. It also became an important dish present in many social gatherings around the island.

PUSO TODAY

Puso will barbecue skewers

Even restaurants are no strangers to the famous hanging rice.

Despite the country moving on from Paganism, puso stood the test of time and is still being sold in many places in Cebu and other parts of Visayas. But it is no longer offered to the gods for good luck or to give thanks. 

Today, hundreds of puso are sold everywhere, including barbecue restaurants like Chixboy, food parks like Sugbo Mercado, and carenderias like Pungko-Pungko sa Fuente. It is the perfect budget-friendly alternative to regular rice. 

Aside from its affordability, puso is also beneficial because of its compactness, which makes it easy to eat wherever you are. You can sit down, stand up, or even travel on the road, and still enjoy a hefty meal that is paired with hanging rice. 

It also has a distinctive taste, thanks to the coconut fronds wrapped around the rice when cooking. You can definitely pair it with other finger foods like lumpia, ngohiong, and barbecue skewers. 

You can also dip the puso into a sauce, like how you eat Tuslob Buwa. 

The lightweight nature of puso makes it easier to carry around than having to bring a rice cooker on road trips to rural areas of the island.

If you don’t know where to buy hanging rice, you can definitely ask around the neighborhood since so many stalls in the city sell puso in bulk. You can even find many of them along the highway in provincial areas. 

Hanging rice is an iconic piece of Philippine history, spawning many merchandises, architecture, and several other businesses inspired by it. 

It’s ubiquitous around Cebu food culture, but many of us probably don’t know how puso was before its sudden rise in popularity. What started off as food for the goods has now become the go-to dish in the mortal world. 

If you haven’t tried puso, you should definitely drop by the many streetside eateries and budget-friendly diners and taste this versatile Cebuano staple. You can pair it with all of your favorite dishes and enjoy eating it anytime, anywhere.

 

Share this: 

Other posts

Slopes of the Osmeña Peak

Osmeña Peak: Get to Know Cebu’s Favorite Camping Site

Osmeña Peak is Cebu’s highest peak, famous for its beginner-friendly hiking trail. Mountain hiking is extremely therapeutic not only for its strenuous and lively workout, but also for getting to soak in and experience the soothing, countryside air.  It’s become one of Cebu’s most celebrated outdoor recreational activities, with many hikers going on trekking trips

Read More
Sardine Run at Moalboal

Moalboal Sardine Run: Top Diving Attraction in the South

Moalboal has always been a top diving destination in Cebu. Photo by Claus Giering on Unsplash It’s been mentioned time and again that Cebu is one of the world’s best diving destinations. This is thanks to the many picturesque and awe-inspiring beaches that can be found all around the island. Many have traveled to Cebu

Read More
Logo of the Seagrove eco-recreational destination

Seagrove Mactan: An Eco-Recreational Hub by the Sea

Visit your favorite food stalls from Sugbo Mercado at Seagrove Mactan! (Photo courtesy of Seagrove Facebook Page) Looking for your next go-to food trip destination? What about a place where you can engage in your favorite leisure activities? Imagine if you could enjoy both somewhere close to the sea.  Sounds exciting? Then you should definitely

Read More
Wide shot of the products sold at a Sari-Sari Store

Sari-Sari Store: Your One-Stop Filipino Convenience Shop

Fun Filipino Fact: You’ll mostly find what you need at the nearest sari-sari store. Wherever you are in the world, it’s always good to know where the nearest convenience store is. This is basically your one-stop shop for essentials like food and toiletries. Most towns in Cebu have several branches of 7-Eleven, Uncle John’s, and

Read More

Capu Coffee: The Newest Hole-in-the-Wall Cafe in Cebu

Enjoy the cozy atmosphere at this quaint hole-in-the-wall cafe in Cebu! Nowadays, startup companies are burdened with having to come up with something new or unique to attract customers. This is especially true for the coffee industry.  A typical cafe in Cebu has to have the perfect blend of ambience and food to make a

Read More
Graphics of LANY Concert in Cebu

Pop Group LANY Is Coming to Cebu This October!

(From left to right) Jake Goss and Paul Klein are coming to Cebu this 2024! This October, you won’t have to go “super far” to say “ILYSB.” The American pop group LANY is returning to Cebu for the Asian leg of their “a beautiful blur: the world tour” on October 13, 2024 at the Waterfront

Read More

Best of Cebu Videos

Scroll to Top