By Gian Franco 2021-01-17

Halo-Halo is Officially a Dessert Craze in the US and You Need to Try It Now
This seemingly random concoction of sweet treats is now a must-try dessert for the curious palate.



Special Halo-halo Recipe



It is not an overstatement when your Filipino friend or co-worker says halo-halo is the crown jewel of Filipino desserts. Literally “mix-mix,” the quintessential dessert from the Philippines may seem strange concoction of just about every native fruit and random sweets you could throw in the mix. Yet, the secret lies on how each ingredient are carefully selected and layered to create a festive dance of tropical flavors.
Being the classic merienda during summer, halo-halo is an affordable icy treat sold in neighborhood stands and restaurants in the Philippines for around 25 pesos (0.50 USD) to 100 pesos (2 USD). About a decade ago, Filipino multinational fast-food chain Jollibee introduced the Filipino dessert to Americans in LA. Celebrity chef and food critic Anthony Bourdain fell in love with the halo-halo and called it “oddly beautiful.”  
Today, halo-halo seems to be getting more popular beyond the periphery of West Coast. In Arizona, dessert shop Scooptopia lists the halo-halo as the bestseller in Phoenix. Thanks to Filipino restaurants making a name in the city, New Yorkers are obsessing over the bizarre dessert that unbelievably confuses your tastebuds with hodgepodge of ingredients that you never imagine could be served in a single bowl.
Yet, you’ll be dumbfounded that halo-halo is absolutely chaotic-good.  There are no phony rules for making this Filipino dessert: you can add cereals to the mix and still taste like the classic halo-halo. It’s like Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates, you’ll never know what you’ll get. If that’s not your cup of tea, the traditional Filipino recipe for halo-halo might just be the delightful surprise you’re hoping for.
No matter the variations that exist, halo-halo is traditionally a mixture of shaved ice, evaporated milk, sweetening syrup, and layers of bananas, sweet jackfruit, macapuno (coconut sport), jelly, and sweet beans. Finally, halo-halo is usually topped with rice crispies, ube halaya (mashed purple yam) or ube ice cream, and leche flan (caramel custard).


  • 1 ripe banana or sweetened saba or plantain bananas
  • Sweet potatoes, cut in small cubes
  • Fresh or sweetened langka (jackfruit), cut in strips
  • Sweetened garbanzos or beans
  • Sweet corn kernels
  • Coconut meat or macapuno, available in strips
  • Sweetened red munggo
  • Nata de coco (coconut gel)
  • Sago or tapioca pearls or jelly sold in small cubes
  • Pinipig (glutinous rice flakes) or cereals (rice pops)
  • Leche flan (for topping)
  • Ube jam or ube ice cream
  • Crushed or shaved ice
  • Evaporated milk (or coconut milk/almond milk/soy milk) 


  1. In a glass bowl or tall glass, add one or two teaspoons of the first nine ingredients.
  2. Add sweetening syrup if preferred.  
  3. Fill the remaining portion of the bowl or tall glass with crushed or shaved ice. Push down the ice with a tablespoon and add more.
  4. Pour milk of your choice all over the ice. 
  5. Sprinkle with pinipig or cereals. Add leche flan and ube jam or ube ice cream for toppings.
  6. Serve with long spoon for mixing (“halo-halo”). 


Ingredients for this halo-halo recipe are exclusively available in My Tindahan. Photo courtesy of Foxy Folksy. 


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