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I’m in Halo-Halo Heaven!

Columns Ono, You Know

April 21, 2013

Story By: Alana Folen | Photos by: Leah Friel

My ultimate weakness is sweets. I know, I know … I sound like a broken record, but what can I say? No matter how much I try to resist, if it has sugar and constitutes as a dessert, this girl is all over it! Don’t believe me? Well, here’s proof: Let’s go back to Wednesday night when I downed three humungous pieces of red velvet ice cream pie — just me, myself and I! I can’t eat just one. They were delicious!

And since I was already on a sugar high this week, I decided why not continue and go all out with a Filipino favorite: halo-halo! Say hello to this fun-filled dessert, which features a mixture of shave ice, evaporated milk, and various boiled sweet beans and fruit.

In Tagalog, the term halo-halo is translated to “mix-mix,” and the secret (no surprise) is in the mixing technique. The presentation of this dish is always eclectic, vibrant and massive, to say the least, but to experience halo-halo in its purist form, you need to take the time to stir all the colorful contents together with your spoon. It’s only then that all the flavors and textures come together perfectly.

The ice cream is only the surface of the dessert, and as it melts and blends with the tropical fruits and beans underneath, you are left with the good stuff ready to be slurped up and enjoyed. Finally, sip every last drop of ice cream and milk, and you’ll be in halo-halo heaven!

So, without further ado, here at the following Ono, You Know establishments, let’s get this Filipino fiesta started!

Max’s of Manila

A true flavor of the Philippines is found at Max’s of Manila, and this time it’s sweeter than ever! Yes, Max’s Fried Chicken is a household name, and Kare-Kare, along with Lumpiang Shanghai and Crispy Pata are a few of my favorites no doubt, but it’s always Max’s Halo-Halo that keeps me coming back for more.

Priced at $5.75, Halo-Halo is a colorful blend of refreshing tropical fruit preserves, beans and milk in shave ice. It’s topped with a decadent scoop of ube (purple yam) ice cream, ube jam, rice flakes and leche flan.

“The fruit preserves consist of palm fruit, jackfruit and coconut gel, in addition to bananas, young coconut strips, and red and white beans,” says Max’s of Manila’s general manager Maly San Luis, who also notes that guests are welcome to choose ice cream flavors other than ube.

This classic Filipino dessert is often meant for sharing, but when my good friend and international singer Lani Misalucha is in town, we go all out and snag one each! Let’s be honest, whenever halo-halo is involved, we simply can’t resist — it’s so much fun to eat!

“Max’s easily sells more than 1,000 Halo-Halo a month,” San Luis adds. “It’s our No. 1 selling dessert.”

Although it may seem that this dessert is bombarded with ingredients, there is a nice balance and all the flavors complement each other nicely.

Max’s of Manila
801 Dillingham Blvd.
(also located in Waipahu Shopping Plaza)
951-6297

Anytime Cafe

This past week has been full of humid and voggy days. Not the best of conditions, but looking on the bright side, the best way to beat the heat is through halo-halo at Anytime Cafe in Market City Shopping Center.

With its Hong Kong-style cafe concept, Anytime Cafe has achieved much success with its plethora of cuisine. Anything goes at this restaurant. You name it, they’ve got it, including Halo-Halo ($6.50).

Upon ordering this delightful dessert, Anytime Cafe’s friendly staff will present you with a tall glass bowl layered with a halohalo mix of coconut gel, white beans, jackfruit, red mung beans, banana, coconut and sugar palm, then topped with shave ice and mixed jelly (green apple, passion fruit and lychee flavors), and a scoop of mango ice cream.

“Customers love this dessert, it’s so popular,” says owner Cindy Wong. “This dessert is not one that’s overly sweet. We don’t add a lot of extra sugar or syrup to it because the halo-halo mix is already naturally sweet.”

Anytime Cafe
Market City Shopping Center
2919 Kapiolani Blvd. #218
735-3888