They are commonly found throughout the world where each nation has put a unique spin on it. In the Philippines, the most famous one is known as halo-halo, which means “mix-mix” in Tagalog.
Aptly named, this Filipino dessert consists of shaved ice and evaporated milk and also includes various boiled sweet beans, jello and fruits. I travelled around the Philippines and compiled a list of the best places to get your halo-halo fix, so keep calm and adjust your belts!
Chinese food served fast food style is Chowking’s main concept. But my tummy had only eyes on the halo-halo. This version has bright and beautiful colours, as if Katy Perry designed the dessert herself. But it’s not all about the looks; taste is also very important and you can bet Chowking’s halo-halo will satisfy any sweet tooth. It also doesn’t hurt that you can easily find a Chowking outlet nationwide, making this a convenient find. chowking.com
The halo-halo served at Icebergs was an icy love affair. The ice shavings were so fine that they easily absorbed the evaporated milk and the sugary syrups. The cereal flakes add a crunchy texture that you would not normally find with other versions. What I loved the most was that I could add my own choice of ice cream flavours as topping. I chose the ube (purple yam) flavour to make it more authentic. Ube is a food item that the people of Philippines are obsessed with and for good reason–it’s so good! instagram.com/icebergsph
Milky Way Cafe
Consistency and balance is the key and you can bet that the halo-halo served at Milky Way will never let you down. With its trademark flaky ice shavings, the right amount of evaporated milk and various multi-coloured toppings, this is halo-halo perfection right here. There’s no right way to eat this but make sure you mix it well and enjoy it to the very last drop because before you know it, you may already be ordering seconds. www.cafe.milkywayrestaurant.com
This is a fast food restaurant that specializes in barbeque chicken but don’t judge it just yet. Throughout my halo-halo adventure, this was the only time I saw this dessert served with a wafer stick, reminding me of a sundae. The wafer stick was transformed into a hybrid straw and spoon, which I masterfully used to enjoy my halo-halo. www.manginasal.com
Razon’s of Guagua
Their tagline is “Pampanga’s Famous Halo-halo & Pancit Luglug” (but obviously we’re only going to focus on the halo-halo). The key to Razon’s ever popular halo-halo is in its simplicity, consisting of the creamy leche flan, extra fine ice shavings, tender and sweetened banana and the macapuno that is both soft and chewy. Earthy colours make this the odd one out as compared to the kaleidoscope of colours found in your standard halo-halo. But don’t let its lack of colour deceive you as this is one you won’t regret ordering. www.razonsofguagua.ph
I managed to get this bowl of sugary goodness as I was waiting for my flight back to Malaysia. With its little umbrella, I could imagine myself having it under the shades of a coconut tree, with the sea breeze lulling me into a state of bliss while enjoying Max’s halo-halo. Most of the ingredients common to halo-halo are found in Max’s version, including the macapuno balls, kaong and nata de coco but I think what really separates it from the rest of the competition is the grated cheese sprinkled on top which adds a savoury dimension to the overall flavour. www.maxschicken.com
GETTING THERE AirAsia flies to Manila from various destinations. For lowest fares and flight info, head to airasia.com.