Beat the Heat with the Filipino Favorite, Halo-halo
When Filipinos start to feel the warm air of summer coming on, they set their thoughts on ways to beat the heat. As much as each would want nothing more than to run to the nerest beach or water resort, most would have to settle for a quick refreshment that can be found in most places in the city, the favorite Pinoy summer treat, halo-halo.
Halo-halo is an icy, creamy concoction of assorted sweets served in a tall glass with a spoonful of ice cream on top. It is a popular summer cooler during the hot months (March-June) in the Philippines. Halo-halo is a Filipino term which literally means “mix-mix.” In a tropical country, such as the Philippines, halo-halo naturally became a Filipino choice of year-round dessert and merienda. It is also closely associated with the Filipino culture for its distinct and richly diverse characteristic.
The rich layers of sweetened ingredients filled in a glass of halo-halo usually consist of red beans, macapuno (sweet coconut), bananas, jackfruit, nata de coco, tapioca (sago), kaong (sugar palm fruit), and toasted pinipig (dried glutinous rice). These layers are capped with shaved ice, poured with evaporated milk, sugared, and then topped with a scoop of ice cream.
No specific ingredients are used in halo-halo. Each layer of halo-halo is added as desired, except for the shaved iced which is traditionally added after the last layer of sweet ingredients is set. While some preparations have sweet potatoes, sweetened corn kernels, and gelatin, other halo-halo have additional fills of tropical fruits like mangoes, papayas, and avocados. Aside from ice cream, some halo-halo also have halayang ube, leche flan, and pinipig as toppings.
Traditionally, halo-halo is eaten using a spoon after the ingredients are completely mixed. Then, the liquid mixture of milk, sugar, melted ice, and ice cream is drank straight up from the glass.