Buko Pandan Juice & Buko Pandan Salad


I never had buko pandan drinks or desserts growing up. I can’t figure out if I am too old, just deprived or simply clueless to this now highly common flavor combination. Was this just invented or discovered in the past 20 years or was I seriously missing out on something in the 1970’s??? How could I have been in the thick of Filipino fruit salad with Nestle Cream and Cathedral Windows and miss out on this near nuclear green icon of Filipino party tables? At any rate, despite being a late bloomer, I have come to appreciate the pairing in recent years and was so amused by my sister’s gobbling up several glasses of the drink at the Salcedo market last month while on a visit to Manila that I decided to try and re-create it at home.

It seemed simple enough. Though I didn’t have recipe to abukpa3follow… If I really wanted to do this “from scratch” I needed unflavored gelatin that I would flavor with lots of pandan (screwpine) leaves but I just bought pandan flavored gelatin instead and mixed it up with hot water and put it in the fridge until it had set. Then slice it into small cubes and place in a pitcher. Add some fresh coconut water (buko juice), fresh strips of buko meat, added some milk and some sugar to taste. The photo of pitcher above is before milk was added…I liked the way it looked at this stage and decided to photograph it then. Chill until cold or add ice cubes (thought it will dilute the drink) and enjoy in a tall glass with a spoon… It was surprisingly good and quite refreshing. And I am not sure if I had the right ingredients even.

I went further and also threw some cubed pandan flavored abukpa2gelatine into a bowl then added strips of fresh coconut meat, Nestle cream, some milk to slightly dilute the mixture and some sugar or condensed milk and stirred it all up to make a buko pandan salad. It was a bit thick but again the flavor of the pandan and the coconut was a good blend… Chill it well before serving. This is easy peasy and apparently a party favorite… I liked the buko pandan juice better than the sweet, creamy salad.


28 Responses

  1. MM, this looks very impressive. Having tried the buko pandan from the Salcedo market myself and I appreciate your interest. I am not sure if I can get pandan flavoured gelatin in Sydney but I will be asking at the Filipino stores!

  2. Pandan-buko doesnt only make a good juice but its also a good aroma-enhancer! Think rice or litson cooked with pandan…and apparently, the smell drives the cockroaches crazy and keeps them out too!

  3. you are not the only one who missed out on this
    never tried this before
    this bukopandan rage was not still available when I was there

  4. I am also in the same boat as you MM, I tasted the drink 18 months ago when I was in Manila.I simply loved it! I recently made some here in Oz by making a syrup consisting of water and sugar, simmer until thick,added some pandan essence and vanilla essence and served it with thawed buko juice with lots of ice.Delicious!

  5. just came from a long vacation in Cavite and got our fresh buko from Indang. it was really cheap & bought around 2 dozens. just imagine what to do with 24 pcs of buko…Lots of buko juice, buko pandan juice, buko pandan dessert…i’m missing it now just looking at your pix, hayyyy!

  6. Oh MM, you made me homesick again with this post! The first time I had buko pandan was back in UP Diliman (on campus at one of the cafeteria) in the early 90s. Oh, I love it and made them at home in different variations. Now that i can’t get fresh buko in London, I just mix canned lychees (drained) to the buko-pandan gelatin cubes and simply add fresh double cream – oh it’s heavenly! You might wanna try it some time.

  7. I don’t think I’ve had buko pandan juice but buko pandan salad is very refreshing. A former officemate of mine would make hers by mixing cubes of pandan-flavored gelatin with macapuno ice cream. Quick and easy dessert.

  8. some are very artistic that they cube/square cut the buko instead of strips so that it will have the same size of the gelatin in the buko pandan salad. Love it!

  9. One of my earliest memories of anything buko-pandan was at the old Le Souffle in Greenbelt. I worked there briefly after cooking school and one of the pastry cooks made a buko pandan cake for the lunch set menu. It looked too goldilocks for me so I wasn’t impressed. That is, until I tasted it. It was really really good! And it puzzled me, how can something so ordinary taste so good? I mean, buko and pandan. Two plants that grew in my backyard that I’ve taken for granted. Isn’t it interesting how the most memorable food experiences usually involve the simplest food? Buko, barquillos, bangus…

  10. wow, i gotta try this. of course, i would have to get the coconut juice and coconut meat from individually packaged cans. i wonder if i can find pandan flavored gelatin. if it’s easily available at the supermarkets there, then i can ask my mom to get me some since she’s there on vacation. thanks for posting this :)

    . . . good landing from google.

  11. I just had a can of coconut/pandan juice from the Filipino flea market at Hyehwa, Seoul(Open only on Sundays). It came short of my expectation…the label read…export from Thailand!

  12. i never knew this concoction. I only found this page because i was on web search for my sons project about Philippines National Fish. Then there are more stuff to see on the site. I grew up using pandan leaves when making steamed rice, but not this beautiful drink. Green is my fave colour so i’ll definitely try this drink because the colour is inviting. First, i have to find pandan leaves somewhere. My rice is already pandan flavoured.

  13. what really intrigues me about buko is how do the traders/vendors know how thick the buko flesh is inside just by knocking on them?!? i still can’t distinguish the “notes” they hear. i tried picking five of them myself but it’s inconsistent. more practice on my part i guess.

  14. Sir/Madam:

    I’m very interested to know the exact procedure in making buko pandan juice. My daughter will be having a debut this mid of October and I want buko Pandan as our juice on that occasion. tnx and god bless

  15. I’m impressed of the buko pandan juice or buko juice. I’m interested to know if you hevw a recipe to preserve such juices. I mean a buko juice that would last for months, coz i’m from samar and we have buko plantation. I want to bring it here to mla. where i reside now. Everyday i bought buko here and it cost 20pesos 1 buko, whereas in our place I can have it free.

  16. Ma. Asteria, to my knowledge, the fresh juice is not really “preservable,” possibly by freezing only… I think it spoils relatively quickly and loses its attractiveness when processed…I can’t think of too many buko juice drinks sold in the grocery…for example…

  17. Our suki caterer at the hospital always serves Buko Pandan with thin strips of ripe mango. They also use some type of gelatin that has a certain toughness that gives a bit of chewiness to it.

  18. I used to look forward to the buko pandan juice served at a great aunt’s house during sunday family lunches. Her version was made with fresh pandan and coconut – complete with meat but no milk and with no gelatin cubes in it. A couple of drops of green food coloring helped to get that lovely shade of jade green. It all seemed very Lily Pulitzer to me and a holdover from the 60s.

  19. The first time I had buko pandan was about 15 years ago at my daughter’s school Christmas party. The recipe may have been concocted only in the late 80s or early 90s or only gained popularity around that time.

  20. i love both buko pandan salad and pandan juice bcoz it gives me a lot of energy especially my hubby and my daughter.

  21. tru,

    everytime i crave for an easy-to-prepare salad –– it is always buko pandan … and i usually use the pandan leaf to give flavor to the gelatin ..

    really –– very yummy!

  22. I am living here in Pampanga and am just now discovering the great taste of buko and pandan together. I started growing pandan leaves in my yard and hope to get some soon, but in the meantime I have the huge market near my home and I am enjoying fresh pandan and buko everyday. I would like to try your recipe, it looks so refreshing since I am experiencing the heat of the Philippines right now.

  23. classes ended.me and my kids plan to have fish balls, squid balls & kikiam to sell just in front our house.now i will also try to include buko pandan juice to have drinks. Tnx MM..

  24. do you know where i cud find a supplier for the buko juice in the plastic cup pack because i what to be a distributor here in bacolod. thank you



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