What is Halo-halo? Halo-halo is described as “a compound Tagalog word for ‘mix-mix’ halo-halo means just that: to mix in a glass, a concoction of several layers of cooked sweet fruits and shaved ice, and eaten with a spoon,” says Luning Ira. “It may be said that halo-halo is a restatement of the Filipino (a multi-racial, multi-cultural blend) and the flair for synthesis.”
Epitomized in a tall glass or wide bowl, it’s the hallmark facility to blend, to create distinctive variations and to emerge and identify the greater than its parts. That extra dimension in the Filipino elements into a harmonious whole can result in a symphony. Or a glass of halo.
“Halo-halo was not created at a single stroke. It evolved.”
Halo-halo, Vintage ‘88 Recipe
Looking, tasting and hoping that I would eventually discover my kind of halo-halo, a friend, Marlene Ochoa, recommended an attractive little place that serves all kinds of refreshments - Iceberg - along Timog Avenue in Quezon City. Its forté, apparently, is halo-halo. It was served differently; not in tall crystal glasses; but, in small squat bowls, the “halo” consisting of gelatin, sweetened banana, nangka, macapuno balls, leche flan and ube jam arranged around a generous mound of shaved ice moistened with milk. To finish the creation, it was topped with ube-flavored ice cream and a sprinkling of corn flakes - a Visayan presentation, I gathered later. My kind of halo-halo! Now I can taste the “halos” individually if that was my mood, or joyously mix the different ingredients as expected. —Sony Robles-Florendo
What may go into Halo-Halo -
- Shaved ice (snow ball ice) - the one most important ingredient
- Sweetened bananas, cubed
- Sweetened macapuno shreds or balls
- Nangka, preserve, in slices
- Ube jam
- Candied Sweet Potatoes, cubed
- Flavored gelatin cubed
- Sweetened chick peas
- Cream of corn
- Leche flan
- Ice cream
- Rice crispies (pinipig) or cornflakes
- Evaporated Milk
You can use as much of the above ingredients as you want, but no less than three, because if you do, Filipinos will jokingly tell you, that you do not have halo-halo but maybe just be a “ha” or “halo.”
Try to add fresh fruits - shredded cantaloupe, honeydew, blueberries, strawberries, peaches. Then top with fruit conserves or preserves.
This recipe can be found in Sony Robles-Florendo’s Signature Dishes of the Philippines.