How do you like your halo-halo? Do you prefer an overloaded cup with a bevy of sweetened ingredients? Or are you partial to the minimalist interpretations of Pampanga and Laguna? All these permutations prove that there’s a Pinoy halo-halo out there for everyone, even the most discerning of tastes.
And with the summer season at its peak, social media is awash with every possible shaved ice creation. You’ll still find the usual suspects with “sandosenang sangkap,” but you’ll notice how the ultra-creative, out-of-this-world concoctions garner more likes and shares. Cull inspiration from these trendy versions to come up with a unique recipe worthy of yearlong acclaim.
The Classic Filipino Halo-Halo
But before you start reinventing this beloved cooler, you should first go back to the basics. This way, you still honor its true essence and avoid whitewashing the dessert with gummy bears and popcorn.
Halo-halo is a Filipino treat composed of crushed ice, milk, and an eclectic mix of sweet ingredients. The first two components are non-negotiable. The third depends on whatever bounty you can find within your locale.
Traditional Pinoy halo-halo ingredients
Using local components distinguishes halo-halo from other similar iced desserts, like Malaysia’s kachang, Korea’s bingsu, and Japan’s kakigori. A typical cup should include the following:
- sweetened saba bananas
- sweetened kamote
- sweetened monggo
- sweetened garbanzos, red beans, or white beans
- macapuno strings
- cubed gulaman
- nata de coco
- ripe jackfruit
- ube halaya
- Selecta Super Thick Ube Royale Ice Cream
- leche flan
6 Trendy Halo-Halo Recipe Ideas
Now that you’ve nailed the fundamentals, you can be more creative with mixing and matching or introducing new ingredients to your dessert. Have you tried it with milky pastillas, salted eggs, or 24-karat edible gold? Check out these faddish versions from establishments around the country and recreate your favorite at home.
Bebang trended on social media because of its Royal Halo-Halo. It’s a luxurious mix of pandan jelly, strawberries, peaches, blueberries, mangoes, pistachios, cashews, torched mallow fluff, and edible 24-karat gold. Feel like that’s too much? Go for the simpler Halukay Ube, which features ube-flavored frozen milk. Recreate this by combining crushed ice, milk, and ube flavoring in a blender; blitz until fine and pour over the usual components.
2. Aling Consuelo sa Ugbo
In the heart of Tondo is an unassuming stall peddling halo-halo since the ‘60s. Aling Consuelo’s creation shines the spotlight on seven mix-ins: beans, bananas, monggo, leche flan, nata de coco, ube, and ice cream. Their secret? Everything is homemade sans the cloying sweetness typical of store-bought ingredients. Follow suit and enjoy the same comfort at home. It’ll be worth the effort, promise!
3. Razon’s of Guagua
Hailing from Guagua, Pampanga, Razon’s has proven that simplicity is king. Their “white” version features only three ingredients: caramelized saba bananas, creamy macapuno strings, and milky leche flan for topping. You don’t really need more, especially if you cook every component to perfection.
Also from Pampanga is this purveyor of another three-ingredient halo-halo. The Kabigting’s version, a cross between halo-halo and mais con yelo, combines sweetened mashed beans, carabao milk pastillas, and corn kernels. This results in exponential creaminess, enhanced further by extra milky shaved ice.
Are you a fan of sweet-and-salty treats like salted caramel and cheese-filled donuts? Then Ben’s salted egg halo-halo is for you! Similar to the Razon’s version, its base has minatamis na saging, macapuno, and leche flan. But the topping is where the party’s at! Sitting atop the crushed ice are candied langka, ube, and a generous slice of itlog na maalat. Not sure if you’ll like it? Once you mix everything, you won’t even notice the egg bits, but you’ll certainly enjoy the surprising flavor contrast.
6. Max’s knickerbocker
Here’s a Pinoy halo-halo from down south! Knickerbocker is Zamboanga’s version of an ice cooler that uses fresh fruits instead of preserves. The restaurant chain Max’s brought it to national consciousness by adding it to their summer menu of frozen desserts. Try making it yourself by combining watermelon slices, mango cubes, fresh coconut strings, gulaman, and strawberry ice cream. The colorful medley of ingredients is an absolute treat for the eyes!
Which halo-halo version are you excited to recreate? Don’t limit yourself to these ideas! Push your creativity and take advantage of the ingredients you already have. You might just come up with a new trending concoction.