15 Feb2005

Halo-halo at Home

by Marketman

Halo-halo is cold comfort food. The perfect snack or merienda on a hot, lazy afternoon, ahalo1halo-halo is a mixture of sweet beans, coconut, fruit, etc. covered in shaved ice and topped with leche flan, ice cream, milk and sometimes crisp toasted pinipig. What seems to be an absolutely indigenous Filipino classic, halo-halo is actually very similar to cold desserts in Indonesia and Malaysia that incorporate various sweet fruits with ice and milk.

Traditionally, this was a special occasion dish because of the amount ahalo2of work it took to make each of the ingredients. However, today, it is still a typical small town neighborhood treat when a particularly good cook assembles all the ingredients and sells bowls of halo-halo to neighbors who are all too happy to enjoy the snack without all the work. Since the advent of bottling, many of the key ingredients can be preserved safely and purchased at groceries, making home preparation downright easy. Most restaurants serving Filipino food also have halo-halo on their menus.

While I fully appreciate the totally homemade version, I do take shortcuts on our own halo-halo. We do make our own ube jalea (jam), saba bananas in sugar, leche flan and toasted pinipig. Then I purchase bottled white and monggo beans, nata de coco, langka, kaong, macapuno, etc. Top it all with shaved ice, some ube or macapuno ice cream, evaporated milk and leche flan and pinipig. From town to town, ingredients can vary but you get the idea. Often, the kaong and nata are dyed some bright green or red to bring color to the dessert but I prefer the more natural colors…

Halo-halo is the perfect party or large crowd food. Lay out the ingredients in individual bowls, ahalo3put out large bowls of shaved ice and have everyone assemble the ingredients they like most in their own bowls. I prefer to serve this with wide mouth bowls as opposed to the tall sundae glasses. Wide mouth bowls make it easier to mix and eat. Kids and adults alike love it and visiting balikbayans wax poetic about their favorite halo-halo memories from childhood. As easy as this is, I put this post because I find so few people actually do this at home these days. Last weekend I had a halo-halo buffet with several kids in the house and they just loved it.

All the key ingredients including ice cream might run you P600 and that would easily ahalo4feed 15-18 people or just P35 a person. Compare that with the prices in restaurants or hotels and you realize how economical it is to do it on your own. If you do not own an ice shaver, cheap models are available in the home section of Shoemart Department Stores all over Manila.



  1. aisa says:

    yah..malaysia and indonesia have halo halo ..its called ice kacang

    Mar 26, 2005 | 6:52 am


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  3. dhayL says:

    i love making halo-halo during summer months whether making at home or when we go up the cottage. Like what you said, i take shortcuts too, as most of the ingredients are now readily available in asian stores, it really makes it easy for us. I like mine with lots of langka, ube and leche flan!

    May 10, 2007 | 4:23 am

  4. pam relampagos says:

    yes, it is indeed a top filipino dessert. I worked at Shangri-la’s Mactan Resort and Spa in Cebu for almost three years (as chef de partie for the pastry kitchen) and I’ve often watched over the lifestyle resto Tides where we did live cooking and food preparation, I manned the halo-halo corner and it never failed to marvel foreign and local tourists alike. I deliciously called it the National Dessert and I tooked delight in naming every ingredient and that act always wowed every guest, even the ones with non-adventurous palates.Halo-halo is at its greatest with the presence of sweetened sab-a bananas, deliciously made leche flan. I need to have a acquired taste for the toasted pinipig on my halo-halo, I am already comfortable with the cornflakes, but I know the real halo-halo would have the pinipig and most importantly, evaporated milk. No other milk would work. The size of ice flakes matter too, it would be a disaster if the crushed ice are of pea size chunks. At the hotel, we were contented with using bottled nata de coco, kaong, corn kernels, white and red monggo beans and halaya. I would suggest making the real halaya from scratch using boiled and mashed ube, (never the ube powder)

    Jul 4, 2007 | 1:16 pm

  5. ali says:

    where i can find halo halo recipe i only find here. what is halo halo and what it is used for. but i dont find the method for making halo halo dessert.

    Jun 8, 2008 | 1:30 am

  6. isabella says:


    I like your ice shaver, can you tell me where you bought your ice shaver?Any brand name?


    Mar 9, 2009 | 9:18 pm

  7. Katrins Foods says:

    Another quick treat for Bottlend Nata is to mix it with a can of evaporated milk and crushed ice. Try it!

    This tip is from Katrins Foods
    Producer of Quality Bottled Sweet Kaong and Nata de Coco

    Jul 18, 2009 | 8:05 pm


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