Sunday, September 25, 2011

Halo-Halo: A Mix of Cultures in a Glass

The halo-halo, that wonderful sweet concoction of local preserved fruits and sweet beans, never fails to entice and take you on a wild sugar rush. Literally translated as "mix-mix", the halo-halo is basically a cultural melting pot of influences and flavors in a tall glass. The different variations reflect Spanish, Chinese, Malay and American influences, with each ingredient contributing to make a simple yet indulgent dessert.

The usual mix of  ingredients include a combination of sweet preserved beans (mung, kidney and white beans), thin shreds of young coconut (macapuno) , jackfruit and plantains, nata de coco (coconut gelatin) and other preserved fruits. Filled with shaved ice, topped with leche flan (caramel custard), ube (purple yam) and ice cream, you'll need a real tall glass. Other ingredients include gulaman (colored gelatin cubes) and kaong (preserved sugar palm fruit). To complete the dessert, pour on some evaporated milk. sprinkle some pinipig (homemade rice crispies) and watch the ice cream melt and mix with the other ingredients.

And one of the best halo-halos I've tried is from Milky Way, an old family-run establishment that started way back in the mid-Fifties, and managed by the family's second generation. With its origins from the famed culinary region of Pampanga in Central Luzon, the chain continues with its family specialties. Yup, the Dude's mom was a loyal customer, so I grew up enjoying Milky Way's treats. And I still enjoy it to this day. Milky Way prides itself in cooking and preparing each of the 12 ingredients that go to their version of the Halo-Halo, no store-bought preserved fruits are used.

There are variations of this dessert in most Southeastern Asian countries, like Ice Kakang from Malaysia and Singapore, and similar concoctions from Indonesia, Vietnam and China. It's a refreshing (and filling) dessert that brings back memories of younger days, and a perfect way to cool down. Not sure about the excessive sugar levels, but it's an indulgence I think we all deserve once in a while.

You can find a Milky Way branch in V-Mall, Greenhills Shopping Center. For inquiries, call 726-5541.

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  1. Very interesting dessert. I've never heard of beans in a dessert. Does that make it healthy? Okay, maybe that's wishful thinking! : )

  2. Hi Ramona, the beans are preserved in a sweet, sugary syrup plus it has ice cream and a rich custard in the mix...definitely not healthy but it's definitely a treat! Glad you found it interesting, looking forward to sharing more posts with you! Thanks for stopping by!

  3. what a yummy halo2x treat :-) Visiting from Food Trip Friday, hope that you can return the visit too.

  4. Replies
    1. True, not too finely shaved, but just the right consistency...thanks for visiting!


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