Wednesday, 24 May 2017

The Sancagulis Rice Cracker in Bautista, Pangasinan




You guys may have heard and tasted fish crackers. How about a rice cracker? I bet, you have not! In my 5 - day trip to Pangasinan last February I had the chance to visit a factory owned by Fast SMPC, a local cooperative in the municipality of Bautista in Pangasinan. As of this writing, the factory is not open to the public so I would like to share this experience to those who are curious to know how do they "cook" this rice cracker.  

Besides, the factory is small and couldn't accommodate dozens of people at the same unlike the chicarabao (carabao chicharon) in Tuguegarao I had the chance to visit because of my Lakbay Norte Press Trip last January. Another reason is that during the preparation of the chili flavor, the smell can overwhelm  the area. You may feel suffocated for breathing the spices in the air. I tried to stay longer but I can't take it. Why we got inside? We were accompanied by local tourism office of Bautista, Pangasinan because we are doing a research about the tourism potentials of some of Pangasinan's never been heard towns - Malasiqui, San Fabian, Santo Tomas, and Bautista.





This small factory of rice crackers is composed of 10 - 20 locals who work by shifting. Yes, I hear you. This rice crackers in the barangay of Sancagulis are vegetarian-friendly, no preservatives, and even gluten free.We were able to talk with Reynaldo Corpuz, the Production Manager on a hot afternoon. Sitting on a wooden chair at the back of the factory while we see big beds of crackers being dried under the sun, he stutters a few times when I  ask about the exact ingredients. Only when I called him via my mobile phone to ask for a few questions I realized that they are somehow protective of the ingredients of course for the fear of copy cats to arise in the future. However he did mentioned a few like corns and cassava aside from the rice.

He said Fast SMPC stopped for 5 years so the rice cracker factory has not produced any during these years. They just resumed in 2016 and so far it is doing good. In 2016, the best selling flavor is spicy but in 2017, it was taken over by turmeric.

3 Flavors of Sancagulis Rice Crackers
Plain, Turmeric, and Spicy each costs Php 3.90

How to make these fish crackers
Without divulging the complete of list of ingredients, he only gave us a basic glimpse of the process of how they make these.  The step by step procedure is: frying then steaming then repacking then sundrying.

As early as 3am, they cook the rice just the way we do at home. By 9am, they put it on a machine called "esproper" to make the rice harder and remove excess water.  After that, all the ingredients including the ones I mentioned above are added. Once all are thin and dry, they fry it then let it dry for half day under the sun.






What kind of rice they use
No particular rice, it's the white rice we eat everyday. 

Where to buy these
Unfortunately, Sancagulis rice crackers are not available in Manila yet. You can buy yours in public markets of Tarlac, Pampanga, and Pangasinan only.

How to get there
Again, they aren't open to the factory yet but you can coordinate with the LGU officers or contact Mr. Corpuz at 841 - 8600. From Municipal Hall of Bautista, just take a tricycle for Php 40 - 50 each.

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