I have always thought that halo-halo – a popular dessert that is a mixture of shaved ice, fruits and what-nots – is something that only Filipinos have. But traveling through Asian countries, even living in one situated in the southeast and one in northern Asia, I have found out that mixing fruits and anything sweet with shaved ice definitely appeals to the Asian palate.
Halo-halo means ‘mix’. The usual ingredients or at least those that I like to get into my glass of halo-halo include mung beans, minatamis na saging na saba, nata de coco, kaong, macapuno, pinipig and sago, topped with ube and leche flan. Love it with lots of milk.
Then, there is air batu campur (pronounced ayir-batu-champur) or simply called ABC in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Brunei. Guess what air batu campur means? Air batu literally means ‘stone water’ or ice and campur means… ‘mix’! Coincidence? It is also known as ais kacang – ais for ‘ice’ and kacang (pronounced ka-chang) meaning ‘beans’. Mung bean is a main ingredient, and so it is in our very own halo-halo. I tell you it’s very much similar to our famous dessert but with ingredients native to these countries and more to their palate.
For La.Pi.S.02, I share these dessert photos taken during my Christmas holiday in Beijing. It’s a melange of seasonal fruits (cantaloupe, cherries, grapes, watermelon and dragon fruit), beans, cherry tomatoes, gelatin and shaved ice with syrup and milk. Does it qualify as a twisted version of halo-halo?
In Beijing, they eat it bit by bit. A Chinese friend once asked me with a horrified look on her face why I mix my bowl of yummy goodness hahahaha! Told her that’s how we Filipinos eat it. Kaya nga halo-halo eh. There should be no boring bits.