14 Oct2005

Fruit cocktail with pasteurized Nestle cream is the basic concoction. cream1I’m not sure if I want to laugh or cry. Continuing on the theme of sweet, easy peasy Filipino party food, I decided to examine this staple of many large Filipino gatherings. This must certainly be a throwback to the era of the 1960’s where our selection of canned or preserved food items was miniscule compared to what is on the grocery shelves today. Instead of concentrating our efforts on a superior tropical fruit salad (too much peeling!), think juicy pineapples, melons, mangoes, passion fruit, bananas, starfruit, dalanghita, etc…our mothers and grandmothers were turning western…cranking open a can of Dole or Del Monte mixed fruit, draining the pallid and limp contents and tossing in some canned cream and sugar and stirring gently. Chill in the refrigerator while getting those beehive hairdos done at the parlor…remember those dryers that looked like huge eggshells…this was definitely the new modern way to live!

I think if you ate enough of this between 1 and 10 years old, its taste cream2and texture is forever burned into your memory banks whether you migrate to Iceland or Botswana. Kind of like the way McDonald’s makes sure every child on the planet gets hooked on its French fries before they know what they are actually made of and that they are probably sprayed with a film of liquid sucrose to ensure a crisp skin that is at once sweet and salty. In the fruit salad photographed here, I added kaong, nata de coco and shredded macapuno to the fruit cocktail and lots of cream. Others add sugar to sweeten it even more. I like it when it is still gooey and porridge like. After a stint in the fridge it tends to solidify… not sure if that is a result of pectin from the fruit reacting with the cream. At any rate, it’s easy and a best seller at most buffets so I guess I just have to let that be. Oh, and be careful when buying your canned fruit cocktail… there are expensive versions vs. the local version. Local has much more pineapple and the expensive ones have a grape or two. I found this out when I dumped four cans of fruit cocktail into my shopping cart and only later realized they were canned in GREECE for the European market… they cost 2-3x as much as the local… yikes. As the holidays draw closer, keep your eyes peeled for mountains of fruit cocktail cans at the nearest grocery. This was all probably a Nestle conspiracy cooked up in the 1960’s… Now don’t get me started on those jello cathedral window desserts… I REFUSE TO EVEN THINK ABOUT IT!!!



  1. Gigi says:

    I absolutely loved my mom’s version that had red sago which stained the salad to a delightful pink hue. To jack up the calorie intake, she would even top it with a slab of leche flan. Ayayay. It was a staple in my kiddie birthday parties of yore together with those red hotdogs arranged in a manicured constellation and stuck in a head of cabbage. Three words come to mind — retro, kitschy and fabulous!

    Oct 14, 2005 | 2:10 pm


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  3. lojet says:

    Have you tried using condensed milk and sour cream as dressing? It’s pretty good too. The fruits have to be drained well.

    I love your website.

    Oct 14, 2005 | 2:24 pm

  4. ana5678 says:

    My own twist on this childhood classic involves whipping the Nestle’s cream first and adding tiny, white marshmallows to the salad.

    Oct 14, 2005 | 2:59 pm

  5. suzette says:

    my recipe for fruit salad is very easy, i call it 1:1:1, 1 can fruit cocktail, 1 can cream and 1 can condensed milk… kids could definitely make it :)

    Oct 14, 2005 | 4:21 pm

  6. sasha says:

    MM, it’s great how you make Pinoys who live anywhere on earth feel like we share this strange and weird yet wonderful heritage when it comes to our culinary roots. I suppose what you’re doing is very clever – you’re exploring Pinoy culture -and it’s remarkable in the detail isn’t it? Take this humble fruit salad!! I swear with all the replies that you get it seems like we all lived in the same neighbourhood, instead of a country with 80 million people or whatever it is!! Anyway, more power to you. Meanwhile, my mum used the same recipe for fruit salad as you do, but with the inclusion of sweetened condensed milk (Nestle of course – that conspiracy again). She also stuck the whole thing in the freezer, and served it up frozen. I did remember thinking it was kinda’ strange, yet fantastic to have during warm or hot days. Thanks for the memories!!!

    Oct 14, 2005 | 5:41 pm

  7. Mila says:

    Theme of the week: white food! I do love the classic fruit cocktail with nestle’s cream, and yes, it was a staple of our xmas and new year’s meals. We’d add cashews or almonds on good years, peanuts on not so good years. I’ve also tried changing the recipe a little by using yogurt, but the older folks just don’t like the change of pace.
    Ah, looking forward to making my own batch, freezing it and eating it like a hyper-fruity version of Magnolia Flavor of the Month.

    Oct 14, 2005 | 8:01 pm

  8. Jacob's Mom says:

    Growing up in Laguna where good buko is easy to find, we would add strips of the soft meat to fruit salad as described above. A friend of my mom’s used to make a particularly delicious version and I remember hearing her say that she would first cream some butter and then add that to the dressing. Can’t quite figure out though how she kept it from clumping/forming little butter bits once the salad was chilled.

    Oct 14, 2005 | 8:34 pm

  9. may ann says:

    “Yummy,yummy,yummy,yummy(it’s my favorite)……. How about buko or mango pandan. Hope you will include iton your next issue.

    Oct 15, 2005 | 8:38 am

  10. acidboy says:

    what is it about the pinoy palate and everything that is white and creamy? fruit salad, caesar salad,creamy pasta sauce, extra creamer on the coffee, that fish dish with loads of mayonnaise and crushed pickles, mayo dip, mayo on the burger/hotdog/ma-ling/spam…….

    Oct 15, 2005 | 9:10 am

  11. willy says:

    try it with those kaong sold in bangkok (bagged not bottled or canned in syrup)…they add that pleasant chewiness in the salad…

    Oct 15, 2005 | 11:59 am

  12. Hchie says:

    We make it with coarsely grated cheese (local Kraft in a box) and it makes you eat more since you’re running after the salty and then the sweet!

    Oct 15, 2005 | 5:59 pm

  13. Marketman says:

    I knew this was a national favorite… just could not have imagined all of the add-ons. Gigi’s red sago and leche flan – for a pink tinge and additional heart attack material! Loget’s condensed milk (a recurring theme) and cream cheese! and sour cream – can’t say I have tried this but sounds intriguing! Ana’s little marshmallows…my daughter would approve. Suzette with a condensed milk whopper! Sasha your comments are so kind…they make me feel good… if many of you out there find some slice of home on this website then I feel it is all worth it! Mila and acidboy, white food fixation must be the reason we listen to so many ads for kili-kili whitening lotions and bleaching soaps! Jacob’s mom buko I have added and when it is fresh and sweet it is superb! May Ann, I have an earlier post on mango sago if that helps! Willy, the chewiness of kaong give this salad some bite, otherwise its so mushy no? Hchie, your cheese addition is the most novel for me of all the suggestions… Thanks everyone for your comments!

    Oct 15, 2005 | 6:32 pm

  14. Karen says:

    Marketman, frozen fruit salad with kaong and nata de coco is common in Pampanga.

    I wholeheartedly agree, we should be developing a tropical fruit salad but having had our tastebuds conditioned to temperate country fruits, it will take a lot of undoing. Ayayay

    Oct 16, 2005 | 3:54 am

  15. Kai says:

    My dad used to love a fruit salad with peanuts, and a buko salad with corn. My in-laws make fruit salad with a dash of mayonnaise.

    Oct 17, 2005 | 3:30 pm

  16. celiaK says:

    Hahaha! Jello cathedrals – yeah we had them too year after year together with the macaroni salads and fruit salads (though for us it’s mainly buko with canned fruits).
    I agree we should be using the gorgeous fresh tropical fruits we have instead of opening cans of pickled fruits and canned creams.

    Oct 19, 2005 | 7:57 pm

  17. Fria says:

    Hi, I really wanted to know how to make this kind of Salad, will you give me the recipe? THANKS!

    Jun 3, 2008 | 6:11 am

  18. Mui Klein says:

    I would like to try your canned fruit salad with mestle cream. It sounds very good. Thanks!


    Feb 17, 2009 | 6:49 am

  19. jackie says:

    wow! can you do me a favor.. how bout mango with apples.. hope you will.. thnx!

    Sep 18, 2009 | 9:33 am


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