Summertime, and the living is so much easy with a bowl or a tall glass of halo-halo – a dessert slash drink slash creamy mix of shaved ice, fruits, beans, silky smooth flan, milk and ice cream. This delectable concoction is a favourite in the Philippines and could easily be the national summertime, if not all time, dessert.
Did you know that the halo-halo was introduced to the Filipinos by the Japanese settlers during their pre-war occupation of the Philippines? Its origin can be traced back to a Japanese dessert called kakigori, which is an ice-shaved dessert with condensed milk. The Japanese brought kakigori to the Philippines and added monggo, red and kidney beans. The Filipinos then adapted and reinvented this refreshment to include fruits, jellies, leche flan, ube jam and ice cream.
According to Carlo Celdran, a known Filipino performance artist, writer and activist, halo-halo (literally translated to English as mix-mix) is a good metaphor for Filipinos because of how our language and culture evolved from a mix of different cultural influences from Spanish, American and Japanese colonisation.
I couldn’t agree more. And the journey of the halo-halo continues as we live our lives in different parts of the world. Practically most, if not all, Filipino restaurants or eateries in Australia will have this on their menu and they are sure to delight anyone’s craving for a sweet icy cold treat that is perfect to beat the harsh Australian summer.
Forget the ice cream, forget the ice-cold beer! Go big! Go halo-halo!!!
A big shout out to Anna ‘Bambi’ Manlulo for all the fabulous photos!