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Thanks! You have guided me onto an unknown path of knowledge!


Hmmm...I bet there aren't many kids in the Philippines who'd refuse to eat breakfast when it's campurado...ok, perhaps me ;).

Is campurado pronounced with a hard "c" as in camel or a soft "c" as in campur in Bahasa Malaysia?


Robyn - I've really been enjoying your Philippine posts (and David's Pictures too) - I had no idea cacao was grown in the country.

Thanks for bringing back memories of campurado. As an American-born Filipino, my family simply added a scoop of Nestle Quik into a bowl of plain rice porridge, but the one in your post sounds so much better!

Shiewie - My family always pronounced it sham-pu-rah-do so I always thought it was spelled chapurado, but I could be totally wrong.


Actually, the "c" sound from Malay is spelled "ts" in Tagalog, so "cokolate" would be tsokolate and "campurado" would be tsampurado.


Actually, they grow cacao in Malaysia too ie Johor State. My mother's family ran rubber plantations until the early 1990s, but there were people who grew hills of oil palm, cacao, coffee, pepper, chilli and of course durians as crops for export. During my trips back as a child, I've been shown the cacao pods, but I did not know of anyone who uses it in local dishes.


I have not been to Abe (seem to be the hot new restaurant, everyone talks about it) but the tsokolate-eh (eh to indicate "espeso", thick) at Abe is almost certainly the same as the one at Cafe Adriatico as the two places are both owned by Larry Cruz. This is very intense chocolate-even more concentrated than the usual styles of tsokolate-eh, and yes, producing an instant physical jolt-and spiritual uplift-quite like than of perfectly-drawn espresso. Does anyone know the secret to this recipe?

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I love chocolate. That looks absolutely delicious.


Apparently chocolate has universal appeal.

Gerald - thanks for that bit of Americana from my childhood ... Nestle Quik!

Kite - not surprised they grown cacao in Johor. It's grown on Sumatra too, but we were told it's all for export. Though one small producer said she sometimes drinks cacao 'coffee' -- but that's another post, I suppose.

RST - Abe is v. good, but we and our dining companions agreed that some of the dishes are on the sweet side, esp the sinigang. The chocolate is to die for though. As for the physical jolt -- I prepared a cup of Philippine drinking yesterday to get myself in the mood for this post. Wow, that is strong stuff! Took me about 1.5 hours to 'come down'!


Now, thats what I call variety. Chocolate mixed with rice. Pretty much explains campurrado for me. Campur = add. But I guess the chocolate in the Phils is more pure and concentrated than the branded ones you get over here,where a portion of everything is substituted with palm oil products. So it should taste better there.


This is a post after my own heart! I love everything you mentioned. Chocolate-eh reminds me so much of my grandmother who would make this almost every afternoon to have with her buttered pan de sal (which she would occasionally dip into her chocolate drink), she always had rolls and rolls of tablea hidden in the cupboards.

I also love champorrado, which have only recently started to appreciate eating with some tuyo (dried fish). There's something so comforting about a bowl of champorado.


I forgot to add, I've tried the hot chocolate in Abe and it's excellent! Especially when eaten with their other native kakanins for an afternoon snack. Now you make me regret not buying from La Resureccion during my Chinatown tour a few weeks ago! I did however take a bite from the tablea (this allegedly oldest Chocolate restaurant in town is part of the tour).


Jem - yes, this chocolate is more intense and, to me, 'earthy' than the branded stuff available in Malaysia.

Christine - I am keen to try champorrado (we seem to be getting a variety of spellings here) with salted fish. An unlikely combination but it sounds intriguing. Next trip (which may be as soon as Easter).
I like to eat the tablea on their own too, btw. But them I'm partial to unsweetened chocolate.

marcos calo medina

richard, no secret there. just dissolve plenty of tablea in water, not milk. the secret is in the chocolate you use. traditionally in pampanga we always grind cacao with peanuts. the proportion is a secret among cooks, but i think we use 1:1 cacao and peanuts (or is it 0.5 cacao to 1?). actually it all depends on how you want your chocolate. less peanuts means a thicker, darker drink. if you use peanuts, there will be more froth after you've beaten the chocolate-carabao's milk mixture with your batidor. i'll email the precise proportions to you.


Any secret sources for great tablea? La resurreccion is perfectly fine, but surely, there's far more stunning chocolate being processed in the provinces...? Is good chocolate still being made in Batangas?

Was that cup of tsokolate made with carabao milk? The Pampangan duman is out of season-or is that really duman and not pinipig...?

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marcos calo medina

hi richard,

yes, that cup was made with carabao's milk. you have to use a carabao that's been lactating for 4 to 6 months. less than that you won't get the fat content you want. boil it very slowly over low heat. if you want a traditional pampango breakfast, skim the solidified fat which rises to the top after simmering and spoon the milk-fat over newly-steamed rice and eat with salty fish (tuyo). my grandfather used to eat it with bagoong.

the green stuff was duman, although the generic tagalog term is pinipig (so robyn was not incorrect in calling it pinipig). duman is strictly a pampango term. it's only harvested in sta rita, pampanga. when i was a kid they used to make it with milagrosa rice (today's jasmine variety), but these days everyone uses sticky rice (malagkit). milagrosa is too expensive. the general process is they harvest the rice as while still green (and milky inside), dry it and toast it. it has a very subtle fragrance (and way too expensive these days), so many of us in arayat just use toasted rice (ie, the tagalog pinipig as we know it). the duman we reserve for eating alone.

cacao is fairly popular here in manila, and comes from all over. mindanao has been producing more and more these days. batangas is still very popular. cacao is not that popular in pampanga, so a bit more expensive than elsewhere. we get the cacao as roasted beans, and we grind it ourselves with peanuts, but you can use any tablea instead. just make sure that if you buy the beans, you choose the biggest beans. stay away from the smaller ones. la resurreccion is always reliable (i think they already put some sugar in the cacao as stabilizer), but there are others in the market. if you buy the tableas or cacao blocks just grind them again with peanuts. that's the secret of that "choc-nut" ice cream. marketing gimmick, if you ask me.



For a truly magisterial discussion of duman, see Karen's double post on this wonderful delicacy in her blog Pilgrim's Pots and Pans:

Duman: Epitome of Artisan Food


Duman: Stepping back in Time

There's virtually no work done on Philippine cacao/chocolate: no connoisseuship or discourse on artisanal processes, quality distinctions, terroir. Hardly anything even on differences in cacao varieties. Let's hope that changes soon.

I really enjoyed the essay on your family's culinary traditions and the heirloom recipes you contributed to the Dorotan/Besa book Memories of Philippine Kitchens. Are we going to see more of your food writing here in the US? I'd love to read more from you on Pampangan cooking (or for this matter on cacao)-perhaps in a magazine like Saveur...

Robyn and Dave,
How about a guest post one of these days from Marc?

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Richard - excellent idea. Will follow up on that.


Just looking at the pictures gives me a chocolate fix. Richard calling my duman post 'magisterial' makes me blush to the roots of my hair! Tee hee!

The original Mexican champurrado was made from masa (ground corn) and chocolate. Adapted in the Philippines, the corn was changed to rice. In our town, a proper champurrado/champorado uses glutinous rice (lacatan in Capampangan, malagkit in Tagalog) but for something impromptu, leftover regular rice will do.

I've been researching the history of the process of making drinking chocolate in our town and I already have the pictures of the processing. I am just waiting for the cacao fruits to ripen before I have my post up. The two strong typhoons laid the cacao flowers to waste, hence a very late harvest.


Mexican champurrado is really "atole de chocolate" (yes, a solution-or "porridge" if you wish-of nixtamal masa and ground chocolate in water) by another name. This is an ancient form which undoubtedly existed perhaps for many centuries before the arrival of Cortes. (The modern Mexican champurrado differs only in that in different regional recipes, milk might be added, or might serve as the base). Why the Mexicans would need a completely new name (champurrado) for atole de chocolate is baffling. Doreen Fernandez discusses champurrado in the essay on Mexican influences on Philippine cuisine and assumes like everyone else that the rice/chocolate combination must be a variation/Philippinization of the masa/chocolate solution. Is this necessarily so? Why is it not possible to imagine this combination (this "campur" to use the Malay word for "to mix", which may or may not have existed in a Philippine language) of a rich substance (chocolate) and the primary starch to have emerged spontaneously. It's really not hard to see how the combination of chocolate and the bland but nurturing grain could have occurred independently. At the same time, the standard etymology for champurrado is suspect and go around in circles the way a lot of etymological explanations do: "proofs" deployed in a circular self-fulfilling way as "self-evident", when the basis is faulty. Thus chapurrar/chapurrear is listed but chapurrar really means something totally different and those senses of chapurrar which have something to do with "mixing" probably derived in the first place from champurrear/champurrado itself. A website claims that the word comes from Michoacan but lists no source material from the purepecha. Could it be possible that Shiewie and Jem's "misreading" in their comments above, i.e. their reading the Malay word campur (pronounced [cham][pur]) "incorrectly" into champurrado opens up the other possibility that the hybrid word actually emerged in SEAsia to refer to a drink/food that became fashionable among colonials, was then taken back as a word (and perhaps also as a form) to Mexico (and beyond that to Spain) via the galleons and then reverse-applied to the atole de chocolate. This is a specially compelling theory if you remember that chocolate in pre-Hispanic Mexico was a ritual drink, and foodstuff for the powerful (cacao beans being a form of tribute), and was probably not used widely enough among the general populace to prevent the word champurrado from making quick inroads. The problem of course is that campur does not exist in the living Tagalog vocabulary. Could it be an archaic word? Or perhaps exist in one of the Visayan dialects? (Doreen Fernandez wrote that the very first "pies vivos de cacao" were transplanted in the Visayas in the 17th century.) If this theory can be proven, then champurrado would take its place as one of the food forms/food words that made its way through the galleon trade eastwards to Mexico-alongside tuba of course (which is still made in Guerrero state) and the chamoy so beloved by the Mexicans, the word chamoy without a doubt coming from Filipino kiamoy/quiamoy (and beyond that from Hokkienese kiamuy (salted plum).

Intriguing possibility? Or another one of RST's whacko theories?

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omg chocolate. I love the chocolate that is available in the philippines and everytime a relative comes back from there or we go there that is one of the must haves. My mom would make it and add eggs (almost like egg drop soup), a bit of cornstarch and I would eat it with pan de sal *yum*


I've come across many in the Philippines who make hot chocolate with coconut milk, especially in the provinces. It's absolutely delicious. I do it too, because I'm vegan. :D Wonderful to be vegan in SEAsia


B - interesting! And very tempting. In which provinces do they make tsokolate with coconut milk?


Hello, I'm doing a research paper on Phil. Cacao Culture and yes, I agree it's about time some serious literary work be done on this. Any suggestions, pics, and ideas from you guys are widely appreciated and I will credit of course appropriately. Its nice to know a lot of people are really intrested in the craft. keep up the good work! my email adds at [email protected] %Thanks!


Hi! I'm trying to get some ideas for an international breakfast that is not too difficult to make. I have found several websites that mention Champurrado but none with recipes. I need a recipe that does not involve using actual Phillipine chocolate since I will be shopping at American grocery stores - Possibly like the one mentioned with Nestle Quick. If anyone could help me out, it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

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Wow, this looks great. I've never seen Phillipine chocolate before. Can you get it in the UK? I'm a big fan of raw chocolate - great for breakfast!

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