The puso or hanging rice is a distinctive food product originating from the province of Cebu and a local version of the Ketupat or rice dumpling found in Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia, and Singapore.
The puso consists of cooked rice wrapped in a woven palm leaf pouch and is then boiled. As the rice is cooked, the rice grains expand to fill the pouch and the rice becomes compressed. This form of cooking gives the puso its characteristic form and the texture of a rice dumpling. Before serving the puso, people cut the woven leaves in half to expose the cooked rice.
The young coconut leaves wrapping the rice takes the form of a triangular shape and the puso is stored hanging in bunches in the open air, hence the term hanging rice. The shape of the package facilitates moisture to drip away from the cooked rice while the coconut leaves allow the rice to cool off and at the same time prevent flies and other insects from touching it.
Among Cebuanos and other Filipinos, puso is a mobile meal brought by workers as a type of packed lunch and served with any selection of stews. The puso is very popular in Cebu and almost every sidewalk eatery and small canteen serves the puso.
You can eat the puso together with viands like barbecued pork and fish, and other meals. Whenever I eat outside in barbecue eateries and canteens, I always eat a meal of puso together with my favorites like barbecue, grilled fish or other grilled or fried viands and some cold, refreshing soft drinks.
The warm and hearty taste of the puso just completes my meal for the evening. The puso is also cheap and can fill you up if you eat it with other meals.
So if you ever visit Cebu and want to eat some native meals, then have a full hearty meal of puso with other viands.