Today’s post gives me all sorts of nostalgia. Growing up, I didn’t have Halo-Halo often, but when I did….man, was it a treat! And in light of the heat wave that’s hit the East coast, I thought I’d bring you one of the most refreshing desserts that’s sure to cool you off!
If you’re Filipino, married to a Filipino, or have Filipino friends, you’re probably smiling from ear to ear right now :) Halo-Halo is arguably the most beloved dessert in the Philippines. But what does “halo-halo” even mean? In Tagalog it literally translates to “mix mix” and refers to the manner in which the dish should be eaten – everything mixed together for one harmonious sweet treat.
How to make it
Traditionally it’s served in a tall glass and starts with a variety of canned or bottled ingredients (found in most International grocery stores) such as sweet beans, shredded coconut, jackfruit, coconut gelatin (also referred to as “nata de coco”), or fresh fruit.
Below are snaps I took on my iPhone (so pardon the poor quality) at our local International grocery store, Coco’s.
Next a big helping of shaved ice fills the glass, which is topped off with a healthy dose of evaporated milk.
Now for the non-negotiable part: you must top the ice with Ube ice cream (and in our house, also Mango ice cream).
What the heck is ube?! It’s the stuff that dreams are made of, that’s what. Ube is a sweet yam that has the most gorgeous natural purple color. Ube ice cream isn’t overly sweet, which is why I love it. I suppose it tastes like a yam, but that doesn’t do it justice. “Creamy heaven” is more accurate :)
Finally the ice cream is topped with pinipig, or toasted flat rice. But since it’s a bit difficult to find, using crispy rice cereal is a great substitute.
The beauty of this national dish is that it’s totally up to you how you make it, so long as you have the basics: sweet fruits, shaved ice, evaporated milk, and ice cream. And when you stop and think about it, so many cultures have a beloved shaved ice dish. Halo-halo is just the Filipino version of Korean Bingsu, Japanese Kakigori, Hawaiian Shave Ice, and even the Italian granita!
I get that this might not be something you can easily acquire all the ingredients for, but should you ever come across a Filipino restaurant make sure to leave room for dessert and order the halo-halo! You won’t be sorry :)
- 1/2 cup sweet beans
- 1/2 cup sweet palm fruit
- 1/2 cup coconut gelatin (nata de coco)
- 1/2 cup shredded young coconut
- 1/2 cup jackfruit
- 1/4 cup prepared ube
- 8 cups shaved or crushed ice
- 1 can evaporated milk
- 1 quart mango ice cream
- 1 quart ube ice cream
- 1/4 cup crispy rice cereal
- Start with 4 tall glasses. In each glass add 2 Tablespoons each of the following: sweet beans, sweet palm fruit, nata de coco, shredded young coconut, and jackfruit. Then add 1 Tablespoon of prepared ube to each glass.
- Fill each glass to the top with about 2 cups of shaved ice, then top with 3-4 Tablespoons of evaporated milk.
- Onto the top of each glass, add one scoop each of mango ice cream and ube ice cream. Top with 1 Tablespoon of crispy rice cereal.
- There are many variations of ingredients used for halo-halo, so use your favorites! Other traditional ingredients include leche flan (creme caramel) and plantains.