Puto is actually a Philippine rice cake cooked through steaming and is very popular as a snack. But for my Spanish-speaking readers and friends like Jose Antonio, puto in Spanish may not sound like a snack. Ja-ja-ja!
Now, translation aside, let's eat.
Every time I come home, I always make sure I have pack of the best puto in the Philippines - the Manapla puto. Manapla is the town next to my homecity (if there's a hometown, could there be a homecity, too?). And ever since I was small, all the best puto and pinasugbu come from Manapla. I wonder why? I have no idea how Manapla's puto tradition started, although I want to learn why.
And there were occasions when I even brought a pack or two with me here in Seoul and for my friends in Manila to enjoy. Of course, puto is best eaten when it's fresh right from the steamer of those who make them, and perhaps, the family that makes the best Manapla puto is Capulso's, whose puto shop is right at the entrance of Manapla.
I also have tasted a few puto variations from a few provinces of Luzon, but for me, the best one is the puto of Manapla, whose texture is so very fine that a bite of warm puto (especially with melted butter) just melts in your mouth. And as a fellow Victoriahanon Paul describes it (he also grew up enjoying Manapla puto), Manapla puto is the 'mother of all putos'.
(Plain puto is white-colored; cheese is yellow.)