It’s summer now in Manila so that means it’s hot, hot, hot! What better way to cool off than to eat Halo Halo. Halo halo means mix mix. It’s a popular Filipino dessert of sweetened boiled fruits and beans then served with shaved ice and milk. Our Asian neighbors also have their version of an iced dessert like Ice Cacang from Malaysia, Ruamit from Thailand,
Chè from Vietnam. There is no standard recipe to halo halo. Every restaurant and neighborhood outlet has their own version of it.
Take for instance Sandosenang halo, a mainstay in Manila’s shopping malls food courts. That literally translates to “a dozen ingredients”. You can choose not to put the ingredients you don’t like. In my case I omit all forms of beans.
top row (l to r): langka (jackfruit), pinipig (toasted rice), sago (tapioca balls), ube (purple yam)
middle row: nata de coco, saba (bananas), gulaman (jelly), leche flan
bottom row: kidney beans, red beans, macapuno (cocnut sport)
that’s 11. I guess milk is no. 12
waiting for ice and milk
Next we go the extreme end with the minimalist Razons. They only use 3 ingredients. Banana, macapuno and leche flan. This is my favorite halo halo since I don’t like any kind of beans in it. What makes their halo halo so good despite having so few ingredients is it’s so creamy and they use very fine shaved ice. It’s like eating melted ice cream.
Whenever I have guests from the USA this is an absolute stop in the “eat till you burst and your plane leaves tour” that they all go through whenever they come to Manila. Although I’ve noticed Razons prices have gone steadily up while the portions are decreasing.
Lastly we have the hotel
buffet halo halo. Even with the best ingredients made by the hotel this comes out as my least favorite. It never tastes as good as when you buy it ready made. It’s probably because I always get too much of my favorite stuff and the proportion of filling to ice and milk goes whack. A case of too much of a good thing huh?
halo halo fixins from Heat’s buffet
(click on the pic for the names of each ingredient)
the finished masterpiece
There are many, many other sellers with their own combination if ingredients. The type of milk they use is another variable. Majority use evaporated milk but some use fresh milk. So the lesson in eating halo halo is eat what you like, mix well and enjoy the brain freeze. Happy summer to all!