Good Ole Lahi

“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” Shakespeare couldn’t have written it any better. Web trawling led me to discover that the enduring lahi, a mainstay in the local bakery business, so unlike pan de sal, monay, ensaimada or pan de coco, is called by many other different names, from the idiosyncratic kabukiran, kalihim, lipstick, bellas, ligaya, maligaya, alembong, bukirat, balintawak and floorwax to the acceptable pan de red and pan de pula to the downright hilarious pan de regla. Gross as it may sound, I have to construe that regla is the Filipino word for menstrual flow. The name pan de regla is said to have originated from its semblance to a rolled up used sanitary pad. Funny or crass? There’s more to the Filipino cultural quirks than meets the eye.

Going back to lahi, the tinapay or kankanen (bread) with the sweetish red pudding is made of day-old bread, milk, sugar, eggs, vanilla and red food coloring. As yet, the best lahi I’ve had in Ilocos is from Pasuquin Bakery, the panaderia famous for Pasuquin biscocho. It’s not always available, however. Business must be brisk.

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