Do-It-Yourself Binubudan: When Craving Gets Tough, BREW!

One of my favorite Ilocano specialties is the binubudan or tapuy. Binubudan is a wine porridge that is a favorite northern Philippine delicacy usually eaten as a snack or breakfast item. It has a soupy rice consistency and with a sweet juice that tastes a lot like sake. The key ingredient is the ‘budbud’ or live yeast balls available in the Philippine north. Once I tried using the yeast balls available I found in oriental stores in New York, the finished product did not quite come close to the kind we eat back home. (Maybe in the microbiological level there are also ethnic differences) In my part of the US, the perfect timing is during summer, June to August, when the hot weather is most ideal for fermenting binubudan.

Preparing binududan is fairly easy. The hardest part is waiting 3-9 days before the delicacy can be enjoyed.


1) Sweet sticky rice (for stronger wine taste) or red rice (for sweeter binubudan) 2) Budbod, usually imported from the Philippines 3) PATIENCE! – Fermentation can take 3-9 days. WHAT TO EXPECT 3 days: it starts smelling like alcohol. 5 days: my favorite when I can taste the alcohol, but the rice remains sweet. 9 days: results to a very intoxicating binubudan and bittersweet taste. 10 days or more: Expect some kind of hard liquor. Rice will disappear.   PROCEDURE 1) Steam cook the rice. (Like you always do) Let it cool.

2) In a clean (must be very sterile) container, terracotta or steel, sprinkle the powdered budbod evenly on cooked rice. For one cup of rice, I usually use half of the budbod cake. I arrived at this preference by trial and error.

3) Cover the container with a clean cotton cloth. This allows the fermentation agents to breathe and do their work well.

4) Keep and place in a cool dry place away from sunlight and movement. Do not disturb until its ready.

5) Once the binubudan is ready it will smell sweet and with soup that tastes a lot like alcohol. No need to add anything. I like serving it cold though so I put it in the fridge to cool before enjoying.

Like any alcoholic beverage and food, it can be intoxicating so eat moderately.


Yeast cakes imported from the Philippines


I prefer using the red rice variety. The red wine once fermented is sweeter compared to the usual white sticky rice.


  1. art says:

    It’s been a long time since I had eaten binubudan. I live in the Philipines but I can’t find the basic ingredient which is the “bubod”.

    I remember my Apo Baket preparing binubudan for us. That was like 40 years ago.

    • Merry Car says:

      We got the bubod or ‘yeast’ in the public market of our town. Check your town market. They might have it. If not then maybe come visit our town to stock up on bubod. Thanks for stopping by my blog, Art!

    • Cristina Lee says:

      If you have access to a nearby 99Ranch Market, you can buy it there.
      To see how the rice yeast balls look like in their packaging, check out which has a picture of the “bubod” balls.
      I prefer using this instead of the “bubod” flattened balls from the Philippines. I found that after a while, the bubod form the Phil has become infested with some sort of flying insect, possibly due to its exposure from sun-drying while being hand-produced. Good luck!

      • Merry Car says:

        Thanks, Cristina Lee. We don’t have 99Ranch Market here in the East Coast. The next time I visit California, I will stock up on those. I want to see how the taste will be if I use this type of ‘bubod’. The bubod I got from the Philippines are done by someone my mother personally knows, so I am hoping that they are not infested. But anyways, I guess that’s part of it. Hahaha!

  2. Romulus says:

    I’ve asked around, and received several different answers. How much budbod is used for each cup of rice? Thanks.

    • Merry Car says:

      Hi Romulus,

      I forgot to give the amount of budbod use. I just added it. Thanks for reminding me.

      I prefer half cake for one cup of rice, but it really varies on your preference. I tried using less (trying to save on bubod) and the rice didn’t ferment. From that mistake I realized that I shouldn’t use less than half. Also it comes out the way I like it so I have been using that ratio since then. Experiment with more bubod and tell me how it comes out. It will be summer in New York soon so I will start brewing again. I will let you know of the outcome.

      Ilocano York

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