4 years ago


“It makes no goddamn sense at all,” Anthony Bourdain says of the Filipino dessert in his show Parts Unknown. He is pensive for a moment. “But I love it.” And so do millions of Filipinos who have grown up with it. Halo-halo is made up of an assortment of tropical fruits topped with shaved ice, ube ice cream and strips of flan, and drizzled with evaporated milk. Ambeth Ocampo, in his column Looking Back claims that the dish is actually an indigenized version of the Japanese kakigori which is made of beans preserved in syrup and topped with crushed ice. The ice cream, on the other hand is an American addition. Halo-halo literally means “mix mix”, referring to the delicious mess that is the dish, and the way it is supposed to be enjoyed–by digging in a spoon deep into the dessert and mixing all the ingredients together. Yet one wonders if the name also refers to the mash up of influences the dish has, and perhaps to even how Filipino culture itself is a mix of  both Asian and Western influences, and how both the dish and our culture are all the better for it.

Styling by Nina Daza-Puyat. Words by Janelle Ano. Photography by Ron Mendoza of Studio 100.

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