Tuesday, April 1, 2014

It's 'halo-halo' season!

Just a few days ago, the onset of summer 2014 was officially declared by the government weather bureau. But even if you hadn't heard it in the news, you knew it by the feel of the scorching heat at daytime. Indeed, it's that time of the year when Pinoys crave for the ultimate summer treat - "halo-halo". This cool dessert/snack is a medley of various sweetened ingredients, usually "saba" (cardava banana), chunks of sweet potato, beans and gelatin. A teaspoon or two of  sugar is added, and then shaved ice, and topped with sweetened langka (jackfruit) and a slice of leche flan. A generous amount of evaporated milk is then poured over everything. In many restaurants, a scoop of ice cream will crown your halo-halo, oftentimes in ube (purple yam) flavor. 
At summertime, stalls selling halo-halo are a familiar sight on the streets, both in  cities and in the countryside. They proliferate, seen in almost every corner.
Halo-halo is also part of many restaurants' menu. But perhaps, the greater testimony to the deliciousness of this uniquely Filipino dessert is having been praised by CNN travel host Anthony Bourdain. In the second episode of his show last year, he got to eat halo-halo from a Jollibee store in Los Angeles, California (makes me wonder why Jollibee doesn't serve halo-halo here in the Philippines) and described it as "oddly beautiful".
Anyway, as summer's here, I thought about compiling pictures of halo-halo that I've had in different restaurants, from way back before I started blogging up to last weekend, to share 
with you. And here they are:

Chuan Kee (Ongpin, Binondo))
Cafe Via Mare (Landmark, Trinoma)
Max's Restaurant (Scout Tuazon, Quezon City)

The Mochi Halo-Halo at Karate Kid is one of those unique kinds that I know of. Because it has mochi, you know at once that this is Japanese inspired. You gotta try it. Delish!

Mochi Halo-Halo at Karate Kid (SM San Lazaro)
Panciteria Lido (UN Ave., Manila)

The Halo-Halo Ice Cream at Aling Banang (a carinderia that has about a dozen branches around the metro)  is one of a kind too because it has no shaved ice, only ice cream on top of the usual halo-halo ingredients.
Aling Banang's Halo-Halo Ice Cream (Visayas Ave., Quezon City)

Manong's Bagnet Station (Tomas Morato, QC)
Mang Inasal (Tandang Sora, QC)
Halo-halo in my hometown in Quezon Province

Whew! Lots of sweet icy goodness there! Too bad I wasn't able to take a picture of the one I had from Little Quiapo (an iconic restaurant, being one of the Top 10 oldest in the country). Anyway, I've decided on the best halo-halo I've ever had. We'll, it's a no-brainer: Razon's! Never mind that it only has three 'halo' or ingredients - macapuno, sweetened saba and leche flan. Its flavor just outshines the others because of its uber creaminess. It has finely shaved ice, thus it's very smooth, almost like ice cream! Very yummy!

Razon's (Robinson's Magnolia, QC)

So, why don't you cool down with a nice and lovely glass of halo-halo today? Enjoy summer!