The Endless Varieties of Kakanin

Ohhh! Kakanin the ultimate Filipino merienda, where anything rice turns into this wonderful snack every Pinoy wants to eat. Kakanin from the word “kanin” is the Tagalog word for rice, while most kakanin are made with them some that are made with cassava or other root crops are also considered one. This simple concoction of rice and/or root crops mixed with sugar and coconut milk can be cooked, shaped and prepared in many different ways resulting into a plethora of different varieties limited to your imagination.  There are many endless Varieties of Kakanin and this article will introduce you to at least those popular ones.

Filipinos grew up with this and it is considered one of the oldest recipes Philippines have to offer.   History states that kakanin was used to be made by Filipinos as a special offering to gods, it also has some symbolic meaning and belief that this is prepared to maintain close relationships between families and friends due to its sticky nature.

Kakanin represents a lot of things, our culture, our tradition, our way of life our cuisine, whether it’s your lola (grandmother) preparing them, bought in a palenke (market), or bought from a maglalako (hawker), every Filipino will definitely have their experience with this humble rice cake. Having said that how well versed are you with this ubiquitous snack? Well for me this list is what I know but definitely I just barely scratched the surface of the complete list of kakanins, I also categorized them only into nine different categories based on their ingredients used and cooking methods.  And if you study it properly its just a permutation of the following:

  1. Rice type Normal Rice or Glutionous Rice (plus its varieties), some that are considered kakanin may not use rice but do use cornstarch or any root crops
  2. Preparation: whole or ground
  3. Cooking vessel: Tray, leaf or none
  4. Cooking method: Steamed, Baked, Boiled

which gives us Puto, Suman, Biko, Bibingka, Kalamay, Palitaw, Maja, Nilupak and Others which we cannot classify from the first eight.  So let’s start listing below the endless Varieties of Kakanin.


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