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The Best Filipino Dessert - Halo Halo

Updated on November 26, 2012

Halo Halo

When was the last time that you had eaten some refreshments or desserts? Yesterday? Last weekend? Last night? Well if you ask me, it was last Sunday when my brother and my sister-in-law invited my sisters and me to visit their house in Barangay Apopong located in General Santos City.

During that day, the weather is so hot! Well, I guess, the weather there is always that way every day! So we decided to visit first the newly built Shoe Mart (SM) GenSan City before going there. We strolled inside the mall and after that we went straight to the nearest available food chain, Chowking.

Chowking offers a lot of food varieties that you can actually choose depending on your desired choice – from viands with rice, Chinese chicken, siomai up to its drinks and refreshments. But because it’s too hot in that city, I choose halo halo as my refreshment.

What is Halo Halo? Just in case you don’t know, halo-halo is actually a famous Filipino refreshment or dessert served in many food chains, stalls or courts and even in many streets and markets. It was derived from a Tagalog word, halo, which means mix. This type of refreshment is a combination of many varieties such as grated ice, evaporated milk, sweet yam, leche flan, fruits, sweet coconut/ macapuno and sweet beans such as red beans and chickpeas which are usually placed inside a tall, transparent glass or bowl. Just to keep it short, halo halo is a sweet refreshing dessert or snack.

Special Halo Halo
Special Halo Halo

A Little History About This Famous Dessert

The origin of our traditional halo halo is rooted to the influence of the Japanese in our Filipino cuisine and desserts during their stay here before World War II. They basically are fond of serving beans such as mongo beans, garbanzos, as well as kidney beans. Another practice which is new that time, is the serving and use of ice which has begun in the mid-19th century where ice is imported from the United States. But that does not mean we don’t have our own version of it. Ours is an indigenous one, unique in other aspects but also has resemblance on kakigori of Japan.

If you will have some chance to visit some other neighboring countries, you will see and notice many resemblances on their desserts or dishes on ours. These resemblances include ais kachang of Singapore which is basically a bean ice served in a small bowl. Many Filipinos say that this ais kachang is derived from our traditional halo halo. But actually noboby knows. Another thing is Malaysia’s chendol and the ABC (air batu campur); And also Vietnam’s cha bam au; Thailand’s nam keng sai which composed entirely of water chestnuts, grated ice combined with gulaman, coconut milk and syrup.

Ten Famous Versions

Philippines have a total of 7,107 islands. So basically, all around the country, you will definitely see many versions and variations of this type of dessert which can also mean 7,107 versions all in all! Imagine that! Well, you will definitely have a hard time in choosing what’s the best one, right? So, to help you have an idea on where to go when you happened to crave for this famous dessert, I listed here ten famous versions and the places as well as names of the restaurants/ food stalls where you can eat the guaranteed deliciously served Special Halo Halo. This list is according to, a Philippine encyclopedia.

1. Razon’s. This is the first in the lists. Unlike the traditional serving, their version here is just simple – no colorful ingredients, just combination of sweets but is guaranteed to satisfy your cravings. Aside from this, Razon’s also specializes in some Filipino dishes such as dinuguan and has many branches all over the country.

2. Chowking. I guess everybody’s aware of the existence of this food chain. It’s version of halo-halo consists of the sweet yam, rice crisps, leche flan and other ingredients. So far, in my opinion, their version is one of the most delicious desserts that ever served in our country. Aside from that, it also serves other Chinese foods such as siomai, buchi, and others. Its stalls are located nationwide especially in malls.

3. Peninsula Manila. Their version here is called Harana and is served in a bowl with those usual ingredients but the only difference from the traditional one is its mixtures or proportions that gained its popularity in Time Magazine.

4. Icebergs. Their version here is called Parfait, characterized by its distinct ingredients such as peaches, corn and corn flakes combined with those usual halo halo ingredients. It is located in little Quiapo.

5. Milky Way. This version is a well balanced or well proportioned type. Each ingredient is measured perfectly in order to come up with proportioned toppings combined with the evaporated milk, grated ice as well as the sweet blends. What’s another distinct here is there elimination of jam into the said dessert.

6. Zoey Café. Their version has some ingredients that has been chosen carefully to make customers satisfied and is served in large sizes. It is located in Ilo-ilo Province.

7. Dear Manok. You might be surprised that they’re serving Halo Halo here when its name suggests that it’s specialty is chicken. But their version is also a must try. Instead of using a tall transparent glass, this place uses coconuts in which the ingredients are placed. Not only that, you can actually eat the coconut after you finished eating the ingredients! So amazing right?

8. Red Bean. In this restaurant or food stall, their version is called Halowich, which is basically a halo halo in a sandwich!

9. Kabigting. If you want to get more nutritional ingredients visit this place. Their version here is actually made of carabao’s milk instead of those commercialized evaporated milk. Aside from that, they also added pastillas to increase the sweet intensity of the flavour.

10. Aling Taleng’s Since 1933. This place, which is located in Pagsanjan, has the last but not the least version of this famous dessert. It has only seven (7) ingredients such as the mongo beans, sugar cane/ tubo, kondol, sweet coconut/ macapuno, kaong , ube, and leche flan. Paborita is also added to increase the flavor.

So there, I hope that gave you sufficient information where to find the best known halo halo in the country.

How to Make This Dessert

So now, I will share to you something about my past which links into my cravings of halo halo. Here it goes:

I remembered something when I was a little kid in grade school; I used to persuade my mother to accompany her to Koronadal Commercial Corporation (KCC), the nearest shopping mall here in our area, which is 19.22 kilometers away from our house here in Surallah. My reason? Well, it’s simply because of halo-halo. Funny how silly I am at that time because sometimes she refuses to go there with me. I used to cry and throw tantrums when she’s about to leave the house. Hay, such a childish act. Anyway, that is just one of my ways to eat halo-halo, at that time of course!

But since I’m a grown up now, I basically learned how to prepare this type of refreshment especially during his hot climate season. Prepare the following ingredients and follow the steps so you will be guided to make that desired refreshment.

5 stars from 3 ratings of Special Halo Halo Recipe

Cook Time

Prep time: 15 min
Ready in: 15 min
Yields: makes 1 large glass


  • 1 tablespoon beans
  • 1 tablespoon canned corn
  • 1 tablespoon jack fruit
  • 1 tablespoon nata de coco
  • 1 tablespoon sweet coconut/ macapuno
  • 1 tablespoon sweet ube yam
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup evaporated milk
  • 1 pint ice cream
  • Ice, grated/ crushed


  1. Scrape the sweet coconut/ macapuno using a scaper to make long strips.
  2. Place the beans into a casserole filled with enough water. Let it boil.
  3. Combine together all the ingredients in a tall transparent glass or a bowl. Exclude the evaporated milk and the ice cream.
  4. Fill the glass with ice which is crushed or grated.
  5. Pour the evaporated milk into the glass or bowl.
  6. Add the ice cream and place it on the top of the mixture.


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