Beijing’s Halo-halo

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The cool breeze is already in the air and I know I need to post my picture of Chinese fruit salad shown above. It is what I call Beijing’s version of Philippine halo-halo, a sweet concoction of different fruits and other things including milk and shaved ice. It was by accident that we found it on our way to the nearest children’s playground months ago during those few weeks of the city’s oppressive heat.

It’s a selection of seasonal fruits like watermelon and cantaloupe with nata de coco (coconut gelatin, it sure tastes like it), sweet mung beans and red beans, and shaved ice. It looks and tastes like it’s coated in light sugar syrup but totally cream-free. That day we bought a bowl, took it out and ate it while watching our boy. Yeah, it’s good and filling and what a great way to make it through that summer of swelter!

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I am not a professional cook. My only claim to having a culinary background is a short stint as my dad’s teen ‘sous chef’ in his carinderia ages ago. Dad ran small eateries since I was a young kid - serving standard ‘turo-turo’ food ranging from the likes of menudo, adobo, pritong isda, dinuguan, binagoongan, bopis, munggo, pinakbet and giniling to merienda fares like goto, ginataan, pancit bihon, halu-halo and saging con yelo.

My father, a farmer in his hometown before working his way to becoming an accountant, definitely influenced my cooking in a lot of ways than I thought. My siblings and I were raised in a backyard full of fruit trees and vegetable garden. We spent weekends and the summer breaks running around with ducks, chickens, goats and pigs. I had wonderful memories of gathering eggs, butchering chickens, selling vegetables and the sweet aroma of preserved fruits. But my love for art led me to a degree in Architecture. Just few months after getting my license, I went abroad and lived independently at age 23. Definitely no maid, no cook, and a totally different food culture. Along the way I met lots of friends and spent what seemed a lifetime learning new tricks and recipes.

Now living in Auckland, I am a work-from-home mum who juggles time between work, fun and family - in pursuit of work-life balance. No matter how busy I am, I love the idea of cooking for my family. My blog chronicles home cooking greatly influenced by life outside my home country from Southeast Asia to Beijing and Auckland. And most of the time, being busy also means easy (sometimes quick), affordable meals.

5 thoughts on “Beijing’s Halo-halo

  1. Iska, that looks absolutely beautiful! I had a similar dish when I was in Japan once (kakigouri) but sans the diced melon. Definitely a sweet and healthy snack!

  2. ahhhh…It looks very delicious. I had a roommate who is Chinese and Filipino. I ate a lot of Philippine food from her before. She is good at cooking and like to share delicious food with me.That was very
    She also taught me Chinese and recommended a nice website( to me. So I can learn online by myself.
    I’m happy to get such a nice friend. MIssing her.

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