By Madellaine Ortea 2021-02-18

Young Coconuts (Buko) Are In More Recipes Than You Think 

Coconuts are known for being one of the tropical fruits that's been gaining a lot of traction. It's in beauty products, healthy recipes, themes or pop culture. However, the young coconut is not as popular as its mature counterpart in the west. They're usually only served as drinks, with the fruit itself serving as a cup placed with a straw and cute little umbrella on it. You can usually find this at resorts, beaches, and the like. But in the Philippines, buko or young coconut is more than just a tropical drink. The juice of the buko is more preferred than the mature coconut or niyog. The flesh is used in many Filipino desserts such as buko pie and salads. 

The young fruit is much more used in the Philippines than niyog. Niyog is usually used to make gata or coconut milk. But actually eating the coconut meat? Buko is way better. Have a taste of young coconut meat with some classic salad recipes. 

Classic Buko Salad 

It can often be confused with fruit salad because there is fruit cocktail in this recipe. Buko salad includes buko, milk, cream, and fruit while fruit salad has no shredded buko. Another salad it's confused with in name is buko pandan. People think that a buko salad is what buko pandan is comprised of. They are two different recipes. 


  • 4 cups buko, shredded
  • 1 cup kaong, drained
  • 1 cup nata de coco, drained
  • 2 cans fruit cocktail, drained
  • 1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 pack 250 ml all-purpose cream, chilled


  1. In a mixing bowl, combine buko, kaong, nata de coco, and fruit cocktail. Gently stir to combine.
  2. Add the sweetened condensed milk and all-purpose cream. Mix until milk and cream is distributed evenly.
  3. Chill in the fridge for 4 hours or in the freezer for 1 hour.
  4. Serve cold and enjoy!

A similar recipe can be found in Panlasang Pinoy. Ingredients can be sourced from My Tindahan. Image from Panlasang Pinoy.

Buko Pandan Salad 

In this recipe, fruit cocktail is omitted and the only fruit you'll be seeing is the buko itself. Its other ingredients are inexpensive and provide only texture and not much taste. It's the pandan flavor that makes this salad iconic in smell and taste. If ube and macapuno are partners, buko and pandan are soulmates. Pandan or screwpine is an aromatic plant largely cultivated in South and South East Asia. The leaves are used in cuisines to add flavor and aroma. In the Philippines, it's commonly used when steaming rice or flavoring in desserts.