Puso (Hanging Rice) is an ingenious if not an eco-friendly way of packaging cooked rice. Puso is popular in the Visayas region particularly in the provinces of Cebu and Leyte where one often sees them being sold by roaming vendors to travellers in bus stations, ship harbors and public marketplaces.
A handful or fistful of rice is poured into a woven heart-shaped bag or pouch made of young coconut leaves and then carefully cooked or steamed in hot water. The cooked rice, which has expanded, fills up the pouch and the package of rice is eaten by slicing open the woven pouch. This traditional packaging obviously predates the modern use of Styrofoam and plastic boxes, and recalls those nostalgic days of pre-Tupperware days when nature (read: leaves, stalks, bamboo, etc…) provides the main materials in food packaging.
Puso may look like a simple pouch of packaged rice but the cooking process is tricky since one has to correctly estimate the water contents, cooking time and amount of rice to avoid overcooking or undercooking the rice, or worse, using too little rice. It takes experience and technique to master making a puso of rice. But the efforts are worth it to impress your ecologically-conscious friends.
Long live native Pinoy packaging methods!