A bowl of filipino halo-halo topped with flan, jelly and ube ice cream

What is Filipino Halo-Halo?

Origin: Philippines

Type: Shaved Ice Dessert

Main Flavours: Sweetened Beans, Ube (purple yam)

About Halo-Halo

Halo-halo is a popular Filipino shaved ice dessert. The name “halo-halo” means “mix-mix” in Tagalog, which shows its versatility and the variety of ingredients mixed together. It typically includes sweetened beans, ube (purple yam), and flan (creme caramel), layered with finely shaved ice and evaporated milk. Often topped with a scoop of ice cream or other sweets, halo-halo is a refreshing and indulgent treat.

See below for our recipe!

What Zsófi Says About Halo-Halo:

If you’ve followed me for a little while now, you will have noticed I have not stopped talking about the Filipino dish of Halo-halo. I had it for the first time a few weeks ago in a Filipino dessert place in the heart of London, and I am still very much thinking about it. This dessert is served in a tall glass to really showcase all of its various layers. It will always feature shaved ice (to be expected), with some fresh fruit like jackfruit, a layer of jelly, sweet red beans, coconut paste or coconut flakes, something crunchy on top like rice cakes or cereal, and finally topped with a scoop of ube or purple yam ice cream.

While all of these ingredients come nicely separated and beautifully presented in the glass, once you’re done admiring and photographing them, you should halo halo …. mix mix. This is a very important unskippable step – unless you would like to have a spoonful of only jelly followed by a spoon full of only jackfruit.

While the name of this famous dessert was inspired by the indispensable action of mixing before eating, it also alludes to another character of the halo-halo: its diverse history that is rooted in many foreign influences. Mixing the influences from the Japanese shaved ice dessert, kakigori with the flavours of their former occupier, Spain’s leche flan, all made possible by the American brainchild of the Manila Insular Ice Plant. A real mix of cultures to create the shaved ice dessert now known all over the world.

Read Zsófi’s full article on shaved ice desserts!

Halo-Halo Recipe

Halo-Halo Ingredients

  • Shaved ice (the best shaved ice comes from a shaved ice machine, but if you don’t have one at home you can put ice in a strong blender or put it in a bag and smash it with a rolling pin)
  • Sweetened mung beans (or other sweetened beans, if you can’t find these in your local asian market)
  • Evaporated milk
  • Flan or caramel custard
  • Ube jam or ice cream
  • Other optional toppings: dried coconut, jackfruit, jelly

Halo-Halo Instructions

Make the shaved ice using your chosen method. If it’s a hot day, keep it in the fridge whilst you prepare your other ingredients, or prepare the other ingredients first (don’t put it back into the freezer because it will freeze back into one big lump!).

In a bowl or a tall glass, layer the shaved ice and your chosen ingredients and toppings. There are usually flavours and toppings in the top and bottom of your bowl or glass, with shaved ice in the middle. Drizzle with evaporated milk for extra sweetness and serve straight away!

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