LAOAG CITY – Nine contingents have contended to present the best tasting ‘tupig’ in a cookfest hosted by the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte (PGIN) on December 21 at Rizal Amusement Park, Laoag City.
Dubbed as the ‘Solid North Tupig Cook-Off’, the event was conceptualized by the PGIN through the Provincial Tourism Office to bolster the market of ‘tupig’, Ilocano’s famous sticky rice cake, and preserve the said culinary heritage.
“What we’re trying to do is to restore the quality ingredients of the old heritage recipe [and] at the same time to forge new pioneering recipes of fusion and less confusion,” said Ilocos Norte Governor Imee R. Marcos in her speech during the event.
Adjudged with the best-tasting ‘tupig’ recipe were the representatives of the town of Sarrat who made use of ‘latik’ (coconut meat) and roasted peanut in order to make their ‘tupig’ dish stand out.
The defending champion, the contingent from the province of La Union slid down to second place while another placer from last year’s competition, the contingent from the town of Currimao, emerged as third.
The winners were decided based on the taste, the overall presentation and packaging, the food’s consumer appeal, and sanitation.
Among the judges were Carlos Celdran, a renowned performing artist, and Pamela Aragoza, the president of the Bakeries and Restaurants Association of Ilocos Norte.
Winners received cash prizes of P50,000, first place; P30,000, second place; and P20,000 for third place.
‘Tupig’ makes use of glutinous rice as base and is usually cooked on a coal fire. The traditional recipe includes butter or margarine, molasses, grated coconut and sesame seeds although alternatives and other ingredients such as cheese can also be used to create flavor variations.
In Ilocos Norte, the said delicacy has evolved from a traditional Christmas snack into a well-known street food. It has also become a livelihood particularly among women.
The Solid North Tupig Cook-off is now on its third year as part of PGIN’s “Paskua Mi Ditoy,” (This is how we mark Christmas)—Ilocos Norte’s tourism brand for Christmas. (Grazielle Mae A. Sales, PGIN-CMO)