HAVE you guys noticed how hot it has been the past few days? We wake up sweating, get out of the shower sweating, and just exist sweating and sweating, under temperatures that registered 30 degrees Celsius, but felt like 40 degrees Celsius. And it’s only the start of the summer season!
To beat the heat, we can stay indoors and hydrate. But there is also a sweet option: we can treat ourselves to something nice and cool, like an exciting big bowl of halo-halo.
What is halo-halo?
If you’re not a native of the Philippines or if you have just heard about the word for the first time, halo-halo sounds like a playful way of saying “hello”. Indeed, it is a welcoming way of introducing foreigners to Filipino food and cultural desserts, but halo-halo’s literal meaning translates to “mix-mix”.
And it is exactly what halo-halo is—a mix of anything and everything sweet under the sun! It is a treat made up of shaved ice, condensed milk, monggo beans, and other sweet condiments like sago, nata de coco, pinipig, ube, cornflakes, caramelized bananas, leche flan, and more. There are many versions of the halo-halo recipes depending on preference and the local specialty.
Some say that the halo-halo was inspired by a Japanese sweet treat called kakigori, a shaved iced dessert with condensed milk, red monggo, and kidney beans brought about by the Japanese settlers during the pre-war period.
Historians and history enthusiasts say the icy dessert captured the Filipinos’ palates and after the war, they adapted the dessert to suit their preferences—like adding ube jam and ice cream to the mix.
Thus came the birth of the halo-halo—Filipino style.