San Jose, Kankanen Makers
Kankanen is the term used to collectively refer to Vigan delicacies which are mostly rice-based. Visitors and locals enjoy these delicacies in Vigan and buy them to take home to friends and family. In the olden times, these native delicacies are prepared during special occasions and festive holidays. Delicacies such as bibingka, biko-biko, binagkal, dila-dila, kalamay, kaskaron, latik, patupat, puto, sinuman and tinubong that are sold in Vigan are mostly made by the kankanen makers of Barangay San Jose. This kankanen village is found east of Vigan City, about 1.5 kilometers away.
This forward-looking community was able to recognize that their residents’ skill in making kankanen can result in a food industry that can strengthen and sustain the community economically. Through their kankanen industry the community was able to develop stronger community ties and implement projects for the development of the baranggay in the areas of children’s day care, community health, sanitation and environment among others. To sustain the industry, financing is offered and the culinary tradition is promoted.
Local and foreign visitors can visit the kankanen makers in Barangay San Jose to see for themselves how the native delicacies are made. Or they may opt to just buy these mouth-watering goodies from the stores in the public market and plazas which get their supplies from Barangay San Jose. Taiwanese visitors are said to specially like tupig (glutinous rice cake wrapped in banana leaves and roasted) and sinuman (boiled sweetened glutinous rice in banana leaves). The tinupig was traditionally made during the Christmas season and were given to carolers.
Tinubong is made from glutinous rice mixed with salt and coconut and placed inside 12-inch bamboo tubes and bamban leaves. Patupat is a traditional summer time or harvest season snack made from glutinous rice cooked with sugarcane juice. Kalamay is another sticky-rice delicacy cooked with sugar and coconut milk. The dila-dila is similar to mochi. It is also made from glutinous rice, but with more ingredients. Outside of the staple sugar and coconut, it has baking powder and sesame seeds. There are other kakanen that are not rice-based like the kaskaron, which is made from flour, egg and sugar, and the latik, which is made from coconut cream and molasses cakes. A Vigan kakanen that has made a name for itself outside of Barangay San Jose is the royal bibingka, which is made from glutinous rice, eggs, cheese, milk, margarine and sugar. It is oven-cooked and conveniently packed in pastry-boxes making it a favorite take-home gift.