I’ve known about a Filipino dessert called Halo Halo (hollow hollow) for nearly 16 years now, possibly longer. I’ve only heard stories about this dessert and I’ve only seen pictures, but for some odd reason I’ve never experienced it nor has anyone ever made it for me. For me Filipino desserts have always been this kind of bizarre treat that I simply wasn’t used to. Desserts like sweet rice molded in banana leaves and steamed, custard such as leche flan, and even egg rolls stuffed with bananas and drizzled with caramel. These desserts are something that I am so inquisitive about and crave on somewhat of a regular basis nowadays, and Halo Halo is something that I was set out to make for some time now. I had planned for months to make this Halo Halo and finally the day came this past week. With summer ending I knew I had to make halo halo.
The wild and beautiful thing, in my opinion, about halo halo is indeed the ingredients. These are things that you are probably not going to find at your local supermarket, unless of course your market has a great ‘ethnic’ aisle. This is one of those desserts that you will need to most likely enter your local ‘ethnic’ (in particular Asian) market and browse and enjoy all of the great frozen items, produce, snacks, and everything in between. This is one of those places where you are going to find fruits in jars, beans in syrup, boba pearls, and so much more. Trust me on this. I’m still thinking about this halo halo I made, as is my wife. Don’t let the ingredients have you questioning the final product. I know once you see things like sweetened beans, or even evaporated milk for that matter.
Think of halo halo like a parfait in how things are layered, but it’s cold, and honestly more delicious.
Let’s get started.
- large spoonful coconut shavings in syrup
- large spoonful jackfruit in syrup
- large spoonful sweet white or red beans
- 1/4 cup cooked tapioca pearls
- 1 1/2 cups finely shaved ice (crushed or blended ice will suffice)
- 1/2 cup evaporated milk
- 2 large spoonfuls of ube
- large spoonful vanilla ice cream
- Other ingredients can include crushed nuts, leche flan, boiled root vegetables, mango slices, coconut milk, etc.
This is how I created mine. Other families have their own versions, but do not sway to far from this one. Other fillings may include other sweetened fruits, leche flan, pounded rice, etc. This one will suffice for me, however the jackfruit was questionable by me and my wife.
Now let me begin by saying… read on. Don’t get intimidated or grossed out by what this sounds like, especially the sweet beans or the ube. In all honesty these were probably the best ingredients (and delicious) in this halo halo, and when ‘mixed mixed’, well it’s a whole other level of enjoyment. Halo Halo does mean ‘mix mix’ when translated, and it is simply what you will do to enjoy this dessert. You will dig your spoon deep, lifting it up and down to mix all of the ingredients, while spooning or slurping the things you may want to chew on, especially the tapioca pearls (boba).
Let’s build this halo halo!
Get a tall drinking glass ready. I used a nice mason jar. You do you.
To the bottom, spoon in your coconut, beans, fruits, and boba. Add the crushed ice on top, lightly packing it in. Pour in the evaporated milk, and top with the ice cream and ube.
Serve with a spoon, and straw. To eat, simply lift that spoon, gently (depending on how tightly things are packed in there) and mix it around, lifting that spoon out with a nice mixture of the halo halo. Gosh is this great. The halo halo is cold, refreshing, sweet, and the texture delightful.
I think my first comment was ‘Why am I only trying this now?’ or ‘I’ve been in this Filipino culture for 20 years, and I’ve never had this?’. It was so powerful that the whole idea of halo halo invaded my thoughts for several days. As I’ve said it before, this is also a great way to get you into an ethnic market. It allows you to open your mind and pallet to a whole new concept of dessert, and it will most likely invade your thoughts as well. Hope you enjoy! BTW, my images on this halo halo do very little justice but it is what it is. MIX MIX!