Beat the summer heat with these halo-halo treats

Robert Po

Posted at Apr 20 2017 06:56 AM

MANILA -- There are a lot of ways to find relief from the stifling and sweltering summer heat and one of them is to indulge on the Filipino favorite, the halo-halo.

From corner sari-sari stores and fast-food joints to fine-dining restaurants and tony hotel lobbies, each has concocted their own variation of this popular cool treat.

Some adhere to classic ingredients like mixed fruits, sweetened beans, kaong, garbanzos and gulaman, while others jazz it up with exciting medleys and twists.

No matter how it is prepared, whatever your budget or dining preference is, the halo-halo is a dependable ally in making the blistering sunny days (and nights) more bearable.

Here are some of the halo-halo offerings which you can savor this summer.

Max’s Halo-Halo Special

This frosty delight possibly contains the most ingredients in a halo-halo with doses of nata de coco, macapuno balls, langka, red mongo, garbanzos, ube jam, leche flan, grated cheese, milk and ube-flavored ice cream which sits on top of crushed ice. Some may find the ice a little coarse which poses a minor challenge in mixing the yummy goodies. However, all that effort is rewarded with a flavorful halo-halo experience. It is even served with a tiny paper umbrella which Jiminy Cricket would adore. You can request for vanilla ice cream instead of ube for a creamier blend.

Crisostomo’s Special Halo-Halo

This is easily one of the best halo-halos in town. It does not scrimp on its generous portions of ube jam, banana, cheese, pinipig, sago, pureed corn, corn kernels, banana chips and other homemade components. The ice has the right amount of consistency to bind everything together and just for the milk to seep through all the way to the bottom of the glass. A big dollop of ube ice cream, a thick slice of leche flan and cherry top this irresistible heat buster.

Peninsula Manila’s Halo Halo Harana

A bit pricey compared to the store-bought variety. It is an assortment of sweetened langka, macapuno, nata de coco, beans, gulaman, toasted pinipig, colorful kaong, garbanzos, ube jam, a thick slab of leche flan and a giant scoop of ice cream served in a large glass. It is best enjoyed while listening to the string ensemble at the hotel’s famed lobby.

Icebergs’ Super Halo-Halo

It has the usual fixings of corn flakes, macapuno balls, red and green gulaman, langka strips and sweetened beans which are equally proportioned. The special addition of slivers of peaches makes it unique from other halo-halo haunts. The shaved ice can be coarse, at times, which contributes to its chunky volume. It is large enough to be shared by two persons.

Mang Inasal’s Pinoy Halo-Halo

An affordable mixture of sago, buko pandan, langka, ube preserve, red mongo, sweet beans, leche flan, banana, buko pandan jelly, shaved ice, condensed milk with barquillos as an accent. It is colorful, photogenic and with the right balance of sweetness. It is prepared and served fast but the usually constricted and tight dining space of the restaurant may affect the satisfaction level.

Chowking’s SuperSangkap Halo-Halo and Milky White Halo-Halo

These two variants provides anyone who seeks a quick halo-halo fix. SuperSangkap comes in various sizes and varieties, depending on the amount of ingredients you want, and prices that are easy on the pocket. The typical SuperSangkap has kaong, langka, white beans, macapuno shreds, red mongo, ube jam, garbanzos, gulaman and leche flan. You get a scoop or two of ice cream based on the type of halo-halo you order.

Milky White is a pared down version with fewer ingredients of macapuno bits, leche flan, pinipig, finely crushed ice, sweetened banana and macapuno ice cream drenched in caramel syrup. It can be a hit or a miss due to the inconsistency of the preparation and presentation across the branches of the fast food chain.

Kuya J’s Halo-Halo Espesyal

One element that sets this apart from others is the ice made of milk. It is finely crushed with a velvety texture resembling frost or sorbet giving it a smooth and creamy quality. It is complemented with nata de coco, tender strings of macapuno, carmelized banana, glazed langka, leche flan, corn flakes and slathered liberally with ube cream. It is also available in ube flavor.

Razon’s of Guagua and Teresita's of San Fernando’s Special Halo-Halo

For those who prefer to enjoy their halo-halo the uncomplicated way, these favorites from Pampanga offer simple joys for the taste buds. Finely shaved silky ice is combined with leche flan with a touch of dayap rind, chewy macapuno and sweetened banana. Mixing these components together is practically effortless. Teresita’s spins its halo-halo with langka giving it a distinct candy-taste appeal.

Kabigting’s Halo-Halo

This is another beloved halo-halo which originated in Pampanga. It also has an understated grade to it by combining few ingredients of mashed beans (with an almost jam-like consistency), corn and carabao milk pastillas under extra fine ice. Some consider this the creamiest of its kind.