Halo-Halo, the Filipino word which means “mix-mix,” is a popular dessert in the Philippines. More than popular, it is THE dessert of the Philippines. Summertime is when the competition gets fierce and every sari-sari store, street-side stand, and fast food chain will offer their own version of the sweet specialty.
One of my favorites can be found at Mang Inasal because they serve their halo-halo in wide clear bowls that not only makes it look pretty, it makes it easier to stir everything together without spilling. Mix-mix! Sooo good…
What is Halo-Halo?
Halo-Halo is make from shaved ice, condensed milk, and lots of sweet toppings like jellies, beans, corn, candied fruit, fresh fruit, ube ice cream, and even sometimes pieces of leche flan (Filipino sweet custard).
Halo-Halo – the Tagalog word which means “mix-mix”
History of Halo-Halo
Most Asian countries have some variety or other of a sweet ice dessert. The origins of Halo-Halo most likely derived from a Japanese dessert called, kakigori, which was shaved ice served with sweet beans. Americans introduced ice to the Philippines in the mid 1800’s and then built the first ice plant, Insular Ice Plant, in 1902. With the readily availability of ice, and the introduction of new foods by the Japanese during their occupation prior to WWII, Halo-Halo began to form its roots.
Filipinos adapted the ice dessert to fit their own tastes and preferences and it soon became completely unique to any of its ice-dessert counterparts in other surrounding countries. The addition of ube jam (made from purple yams) and ube ice cream gives it the distinctive purple color and a proud pinoy feature.
You can easily create your own halo-halo at home if you have a way of making shaved ice. You’ll find all the toppings at your local Filipino or Asian market.
And now you know the history of halo-halo! In case you haven’t figured it out, this blog’s name comes from the famous dessert Halo-Halo. Click to learn more about the creation of Halo-Halo, Mix-Mix.
And if you liked learning about the history of halo-halo, you can learn even more about Filipino culture in my upcoming Philippines memoir. Want to be on the list? Be the first to get notified of book news and updates here.
**2019 Update – Somewhere in the Middle: A journey to the Philippines in search of roots, belonging, and identity has now been published! You can buy a copy on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, ibooks, and other major online retailers.
Psst! Where can you find the best halo halo? Share your favorite spot below!
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