Is Taho Vegan? (+ Taho Variations)

What is Taho?

A person holds a glass of taho, a Filipino sweet snack, with visible layers of soft tofu, brown sugar syrup, and sago pearls, against a sunny outdoor backdrop with greenery

Taho is a popular and iconic Filipino snack, dessert, and street food made from soft silken tofu, arnibal (a sugar syrup made from brown sugar), and sago pearls (similar to tapioca pearls).

It’s often served warm and is known for its sweet and comforting flavors.

Whenever I visit Pampanga, Philippines, I usually have taho for breakfast that I buy from the neighborhood vendor that drives around in a tricycle.

📖 Related post: 9 Vegan Filipino street foods to try in the Philippines

Is Taho Made of Tofu?

Close-up view of a traditional Filipino dessert called taho, featuring soft tofu topped with amber-colored tapioca pearls and a sweet syrup, served in a clear glass bowl

Yes, tofu is the primary ingredient for taho, in which fresh silken tofu is used. It provides a creamy and smooth texture, which compliments the arnibal sweet syrup and sago pearls.

You often stir it all together to get the sweetness of the arnibal in every bite (or slurp, you can drink it too).

Is Taho Vegan?

Hand-held glass of vegan taho with distinct layers of creamy tofu, dark brown sugar syrup, and sago pearls, showcased outdoors with a blurred background

Traditionally, taho is vegan. The main ingredients are just silken tofu, arnibal brown sugar syrup, and sago pearls, which are vegan. Sometimes pandan leaf and vanilla extract is cooked with the arnibal sauce for extra flavor.

Taho does not contain dairy or other animal-derived ingredients, unless the vendor makes a specialized version of it like top it with non-vegan condensed milk or ube.

Though 99% of time, vendors sell the classic, accidentally-vegan taho.

What is Taho in English?

The closest translation of Taho in English is Filipino tofu pudding. Other countries in Asia have similar soft tofu pudding desserts, though taho is sweeter as a lot of arnibal syrup is added, and Filipino desserts are generally on the sweeter side.

Where Do They Sell Taho?

Line of vendors covered by white tents at Legazpi Sunday Market Makati

Popular Filipino restaurant chains like Jollibee and Chow King in the US and Canada do not sell taho. You can try your local Filipino restaurants and supermarkets.

While not exactly the same, and less sweeter, you can find a similar Chinese dessert called Douhua which is also made from silken tofu. This is more available in the US if you’re craving a soft tofu dessert.

If you visit the Philippines, especially in provincial areas, you’ll likely have a taho vendor going through the neighborhood in the morning yelling “tahooooooo” to signal they’re selling taho. You might also find them stationed in front of popular sites or markets.

I usually bring a glass out to our neighborhood taho vendor to fill up for around 50 US cents. It’s served warmed. While you can eat it cold, it’s better eaten fresh.

Variations of Taho

The most popular variation of taho is strawberry taho, usually found in the city of Baguio, where there are many strawberry farms.

While most variations of taho are usually vegan and just added fruit jam or syrup, some taho may not be vegan if dairy is added, such as ube taho or sometimes chocolate taho. Just make sure to ask.

1. Strawberry Taho: This variation includes a strawberry-flavored syrup or compote instead of the traditional arnibal, giving the taho a fruity and slightly tart twist.

2. Chocolate Taho: Chocolate taho is made by adding a chocolate-flavored syrup or cocoa powder to the tofu and sago pearls. Make sure to ask if any dairy was added.

3. Mango Taho: Mango taho features a mango-flavored syrup or puree for a sweet-tart version.

4. Coffee Taho: Sometimes you’ll find coffee taho where coffee syrup or espresso is added to the tofu and sago pearls.

5. Fruit Toppings: Some variations of taho include additional fruit toppings such as sliced bananas, jackfruit (langka), or other fruits.

Want to make taho at home? Here are taho recipes found online:

Taho: Filipino Silken Tofu with Sago Pearls and Syrup

Kawaling Pinoy’s Taho Recipe

Taho (Filipino Silken Tofu w/ Sago Pearls & Syrup)

Try These Other Vegan Recipes

Recipes Pinterest Pin of Bibingkang Nasi, a Filipino dessert of baked cake of cooked glutinous rice topped with brown sugar sauce
Recipes Pinterest Pin of Salukara, folded pancakes on banana leaves, made from rice