Archive for filipino food

hail, halo-halo

Posted in artifacts, culture, food, lifestyle with tags , , , , , , on March 1, 2009 by mijodo

halohalo with wafer on top

Here comes summer again.  Air can be arid and dry.  And the heat brazenly pounds on many of us, Filipinos. But one is not worried, Filipinos have concocted its own heat minimizer – the halo-halo.

Halo-halo (“Mix-mix” if translated in English) is a fancy thirst quencher, ingrained in the minds of every Filipino during the summer months of March to May.  A cornucopia of ingredients – shaved ice, ube (yam), macapuno (jellylike meat of the coconut), leche flan (custard), boiled red mung beans, kamote (sweet potato), kaong (sugarpalm seeds) and saba (a variety of banana). pinipig (rice crispies), evaporated milk – creates not only a sweet blend of flavorful refreshement, but also a delightful tall-glass or large bowl presentation, more particularly when topped with violet (ube flavored) or yellow (mango) colored ice-cream. A fiesta not only in taste, but in colors too.

There is scant literature on the origins of the halo-halo. Some say it might have come during the Japanese occupation as the Japanese then were selling shaved ice with red beans in it. Others say that it might have been in the 1920’s when ice plants were constructed, thus making the main element of shaved ice less expensive.

Through the years, the importance of  ice is highlighted. For the more discriminating, the quality of shaved ice is as important as the freshness of the ingredients incorporated in halo-halo. Ice should be truly fine and powdery, not coarse nor crushed.

As Filipinos are inventive, many have tried to recreate, retouch, and reassemble this kind of Pinoy cooler. The humble vendors in the markets would do a scaledown version of halohalo by putting less ingredients or even eliminating some of the less popular or expensive ingredients such as garbanzos and pinipig.  Others even make substitutions like slivers of  fruits like melon and mangoes. All components are then squeezed in a shorter glass, usually a coffee brand giveaway. Everything is done to economize, and yet still can give  the same effect of cooling down the average people.

Another variant becoming popular is the creamy halo-halo, made popular in Pampanga. 
This kind is focused on just several ingredients, doing away with some of the fruit and rootcrop components of the usual hal0-halo.  This version has shaved ice, leche flan, cheese, macapuno, banana, and camote, and more of the milk ingredient. In fact there are supposedly three kinds of milk in this cocoction. Thus this halo-halo produces a cream and yellow blend.

To enjoy halo-halo, at the start let the spoon slightly stab on the shaven ice and let the milk and the ice cream produce a gooey melange.  Then let the tongue distinguish the flavor of each food element. But make sure that all the stuff come together  into a meld which should compose its own textured yet luscious taste. It has been told that establishments Little Quiapo, Aristocrat and even fastfood area Chowking serve up the best halo-halo. But for those a little upscale, Manila Peninsula Hotel in Makati is touted by Time Magazine, no less, to have created the ultimate one.

Many ponderers have used the halo-halo as a tool for commentary on our Filipino psyche. The festival of colors inside a cup describes the Pinoy’s artistic eye – a fear of the unadorned.  (Look at the jeepney – another Filipino icon.)  Moreso, the concoction is also an apt symbolism of  the Filipinos’ imaginative spirit, creating something so sublime and inspired with such a hodgepodge of almost diverse ingredients. Halo-halo – so Filipino, so cool.


Posted in culture, people, religion, tradition with tags , , , , , , on December 23, 2008 by mijodo

get warm this christmas

During this time, with the chilly weather in many parts of the world, particularly in the Philippines, it is but just appropriate that one tries to get all the warmth he or she could receive.

And the Christmas season brings all the good old warm feelings inside all of us.  The affectionate embrace from all our friends and family. The spirit of forgiveness and reconciliation with hurting loved ones. The satisfaction of doing simple good deeds and huge charitable projects. All to get the loving fuzzy feeling.

And of course, one should not forget the food that comes from the kitchen during the holiday season. One becomes appreciative of that uncomplicated usual spaghetti and meatballs or the more elaborate paella for as long the food is piping hot.  How about that bibingka and puto bumbong during the cold mornings after “simbang gabi?” And sure why not have some wine or hard liquor to increase body temperature.

So during this time make sure to get some warmth and provide some warmth. Merry Christmas everyone.

pigging out

Posted in artifacts, events, food, locales with tags , , , , , on May 22, 2008 by mijodo


Yes, of course. It is about time. After having always been the centerpiece of every Filipino fiesta’s gluttonous celebration, the famous Lechon should be honored with its own festival, replete with a parade and bugle band. And there ain’t no other place that can give higher courtesy to such delicacy but in La Loma (Quezon City) where every corner restaurant dishes out whole roasted suckling pig skewered usually on bamboo.

Last May 18, many of the famous brands that sell Lechon offered free servings to guests and neighbors. Politicians and even the Military partook as well, munching on the crispy golden brown skin covering that only the Lechon can offer. Such merriment of food intake is said to bode well of good life. But for those having bad cholestorol days, I say “good luck.”

not to be sidelined

Posted in artifacts, food with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 14, 2008 by mijodo

I am quite certain that the concept of having a “sideline” where a person earns a living by having a business aside from having a day job, is universal. Furthermore I know that having a sideline has been a prevalent coping strategy among  Filipinos to alleviate the economic pinch afflicting many parts of the world, including even Western countries.  Now more than ever, when crude oil has reached unprecedented values in the international market, and when the scarcity of rice grains has increased its price at its highest, the Filipino families try to find ways in doing something financially significant as not to be overwhelmed with the new economic demands. 

The resiliency of the Filipino will shine through again as each responsible family person will seek new methods of putting food on the table. Dad will be a freelance insurance agent while he double works in his day job. Teacher Mom will sell tocino, longganisa, and tapa to coworkers and students. Surely, the children should do their share as well – offerring cellphone credit loads to classmates and friends to finance their own cellphone habits.

In my case, among other sidelines, I sell biscuits, cookies and chocolates wholesale. The return is not much but it can signficantly help in my day to day financial needs. And of course in doing so, those who get such in bulk are blessed as well as they distribute the goods to others. It is a neat sideline for many of us.

At the moment, only the wise and the hardworking have better chances of surviving.