my #1son has been
bugging me requesting halo halo for all these past summer weeks…especially when the temperatures cracked the 100F last week. but i said, patience, my son, first i must make leche flan. then there’s ube ice cream, and i must gather up all the necessary ingredients.
literally “mix-mix” halo-halo is such a festive summer cooler, and i’ve read it mentioned in Gourmet magazine in one of their summer issues. i’ve seen versions from Malaysia and Japan, with variations in the mixture of ingredients and the syrups involved.
all the flavors just somehow work, for my boy at least. he orders this every chance he gets (which is not that often, since the nearest Pinoy restaurants are 4 & a half hours drive away). we love the one at Ihawan in Woodside, NY, and i can’t wait to try the one at Chowking (various locations, but not anywhere near here) which i’ve seen and heard so much about.
this is pretty much a please-yourself kind of concoction. color is key, but it’s important you have something coconut (fresh young buko would be ideal! but frozen would do, and bottled macapuno coconut sport strings are a good stand-in), something gel-ly (nata de coco pandan flavor in our version, plus kaong–palm fruit), something crunchy(i used roasted pinipig! yesss, lucky there was a bounty at the freezer case section, but even peanuts, or rice krispies? might work), sweetened fruits (bottled sweetened saba bananas!!! and jackfruit) and beans(sweetened garbanzos, red beans, mung beans).
in every Asian Grocery i go to, there is ample shelf space at the Filipino aisle devoted to halo halo…feel free to experiment with what you like the most. i imagine, even fresh fruits like pineapple or strawberries would do as well.)
i boiled some mini sago pearls and reduced palm sugar syrup in water until it caramelized, then added water again to dissolve (because i was ehem multi tasking and let it boil too long).
layer the ingredients, top with shaved ice, pour the syrup (banana extract flavor or pandan flavor would work too, or even evaporated milk or heavy/double cream). in an homage to Little Quiapo near where i used to live and where i spent many a hot afternoon with family and classmates–i topped our halo halo with leche flan and ice cream, just the way i remember it….