Whether fried, steamed, or grilled, these gastronomic delights never fail to deliver an explosion of flavors in every single bite.
There is, however, one street food item that stands out among the rest.
It somehow serves as an alarm, at the start of the day, with the vendor announcing at the top of his lungs that he has arrived. Now, every millisecond of this short minute counts; making this time frame a very crucial moment.
At the sound of the vendor’s voice, you have to immediately jolt out of bed, grab the largest cup you can find, and run down to the street- run faster than the wind if you can!
Made with silken tofu, arnibal or brown sugar syrup, and soft yet chewy tapioca pearls, the Filipino comfort food is a favorite among Filipinos regardless of age.
The once siren-like voice of the taho vendor slowly came to a deafening silence during the pandemic. With all the restrictions implemented, selling out on the streets became a challenge.
In April 2020, Dale M. Dominguez, one of the three geniuses behind Tahooo’Ki, bought taho from a lone street vendor. He immediately received a lot of messages from his friends mostly asking where he bought the delectable street food item.
He wasted no time. While doing groceries for the feeding program his family organized, he purchased ingredients needed for his Taho business. The next day, Dale uploaded photos of Taho in a tub on a popular local food community on Facebook.
“Daghan kaayung tao nga adto mu-order og food. Ako sang gi-check daan if naa bay nag-sell pg taho unya wala pa man jud bisan usa. Mao to,”
What started as a twice a week operation, gradually turned to thrice a week thing.
During the Quaranwins interview, Dale said that although he mainly did everything in his Taho business, his siblings were also able to help all thanks to the quarantine.
Tahoo’Ki is the first taho in a tub in Cebu City.
Although Tahooo’Ki “lacks” the thrill of the chase since there is no need to chase down the taho vendor, the trio makes up for it by giving customers the DIY taho experience.
Upon receiving one’s orders, one gets taho, syrup of choice, and tapioca pearls in separate containers. Mix the ingredients in the provided cup and voila-- “freshly” made taho!
With the unexpected success, Dale planned to venture out into a bigger taho business. This is where his friends Adriane Gil Conejos-Pielago and Eric Justinne E. Monleon came in.
“Actually, si Dale ang ni approach namo to partner with him kay he was planning, at that time, to venture into something bigger. When he invited us to coffee, na curious ming duha. So mao to amo siyang gi adto kay basin na unsa na iyang life, love life,” Adriane said.
After confirming that Dale’s love life was safe, the trio searched for a place where they could put up Tahooo’Ki and immediately, they found one!
From checking out possible places for the store, equipment acquisition, quality control, Adrian says they’ve been pretty hands on from the get-go.
Defying the wave during the pandemic proved to be difficult. With most businesses slowing down, opening a business definitely is a shocker.
“Ang pag-procure lang daan sa supplies, lisud jud kay naay ongoing lockdown, restrictions,. But with the help of third-party applications especially delivery apps, it’s really helped us,” Adriane shares.
When restrictions eased a bit, they took advantage of that and quickly worked on their store, innovated new products and flavors, and improved online services since the majority of their orders come from online platforms.
Justinne confesses that balancing their day job and side hustle poses a bit of a challenge. However, it’s the fun side of the side hustle that keeps them going.
As of now Tahooo’Ki is available online as well as in their physical store located in F. Llamas street, Cebu City.
Dale’s decision to set up a taho business skyrocketed to fame. What was a mere Instagram post of the Filipino favorite quickly turned into a business that has the local community buzzing even until now.
“To all local creators out there, it’s all about making right decisions with the right timing.”