I learned about the fresh taho vendor from a Facebook group for BGC residents. Someone said that the vendor would appear outside Uptown Mall on weekday mornings at around 7AM.
Like many BGC residents, I crave for fresh taho from time to time, not the funny ones that are sold in convenience stores. I even have bought a slush drink with taho from a milk tea chain, just to get the taho. When I learned about this vendor, I could not wait to try.
This morning, I went to Uptown Mall area with my scooter, anxiously hoping that he had not left. I arrived at Uptown Mall at around 7:30AM, and lo and behold, a man with two metal buckets was standing at a street corner!
Kuya Alman, the taho vendor, told me that he is there every weekday from 5AM to 8AM, so that is great news for taho lovers who are also early birds. He offers the taho in two sizes, but I was only interested in the large one, which costs thirty pesos (P30).
I handed over my food container and he happily filled it up with soft taho, and asked me if I wanted sago balls or not. I said I only wanted the syrup, which is brown sugar syrup called 'arnibal' in Tagalog.
I stood there for a few more minutes to observe the business. Specifically, I wondered if it was normal for customers to give him their own food containers. Kuya Alman serves his taho in either plastic cups (for small size) or paper cups ( for large size), like most taho vendors do. I feel that taho is a food item that is very suitable for customers to adopt the Bring-Your-Own-Container style of buying food take-outs, so that we get our food without adding to the waste-disposal problem that contributes to environmental pollution.
To my pleasant surprise, quite a few customers brought their own containers. Out of the eight customers that he served in the five minutes that I was there, apart from me, two other customers handed over their own containers.
Photo above: The taho vendor uses his cup to measure the correct quantity of taho before transferring it to the customer's own container
It was also interesting to notice that Kuya Alman's customers came from all walks of life. There were security guards, office workers and managers, as well as people who arrived in private cars to get their taho fix.
Kuya Alman remembered to spray his hands with sanitizer before touching the containers of his customers.
Photo above: Kuya Alman handed me back my food container after filling it with taho.
If more people will adopt the BYOC style for getting take-out food, we can make a small but important contribution to protecting our environment.
Maybe not all restaurants are willing to use customers' containers (such as Starbucks who now refuses to use customers' own cups to fill up their drinks), but I believe with caution, such as wiping the outside of the container if necessary with alcohol, COVID-19 should not necessarily be a good reason to refuse customer's container. At least one restaurant in Bonifacio High Street has accepted our food container for serving our own takeout. (Brotzeit).