The Anatomy of Halo-Halo (mix-mix)

Summer, summer is almost end in the Philippines but it does not mean the summer or gray snapper fish foods or (foods match the summer) are about to lost too especially when we discuss the Halo-Halo or "mix-mix".

for those who did not yet know what is Halo-halo (mix-mix) is all about here is the interesting gma blog article that I just wanted to share with you..

photo by Staticnomore

If you can’t stand this blistering heat any more, you might as well start moving to Alaska. The
local weather station just dropped a bombshell: the heat will last until June. That means more days of hair sticking to the back of our necks, more icy drinks taken hour after hour, and more hours spent sitting across an electric fan blowing gusts of hot wind on our faces.

The end is near and yet so far. Which leads some of us to ask -- what have we done to deserve such punishing weather? Have the gods put a curse on us? Should we ask the Cebu inmates to now do a rain dance?

Thankfully, the gods did not entirely forsake us and gave us a magical solution with the power to deliver us from what could very well be the fires of hell: the halo-halo.

No one knows exactly who invented the halo-halo or the “mix-mix," so named because of the interesting combination of ingredients put into it.

Some point to the early Chinese in the Philippines because of the use of red mung beans and jelly. But really, who cares? As long as there’s a halo-halo store around the corner to save us from a heat stroke, we should all say a silent prayer for the genius behind this gem of a dessert.

Since we are all going to be gorging ourselves with more halo-halo to last us until June, the question that begs a good answer these days is: are all store-bought halo-halo created equal?

They say the proof of the pudding (or in this case, the halo-halo) is in the eating. We sampled several “special" halo-halo in Manila and listed down the ingredients in each one while also observing important details like the kind of ice used (crushed or shaved), the brand of evap, and if sugar is added to the mix.

Barring the unavailability of their regular set of “recados" on the day we went to their branches, here are the comparative results of our thorough investigation into the anatomy of the halo-halo being served in some stores across Metro Manila:

It’s easy to assume that the one with the longer list of ingredients is the ultimate halo-halo. But really, the difference lies in the little twists each has done to their version.

The use of cornflakes by both DEC and Icebergs adds a nice delicious crunch to the mix. DEC uses huge jelly balls instead of the usual kaong or nata de coco and sweetened mixed nuts that renders it with just the right sugary taste. They’re also the only one using fresh milk instead of evaporated milk. It does make a slight difference in the creaminess of their halo-halo.

However, there are two drawbacks to their version: you can only have it “to-go" which means by the time you can get to a place to sit down and enjoy your halo-halo, the ice has turned into slush and well, the bigger downside is that it doesn’t come with ice cream.

As for the king of halo-halo makers, Icebergs, they added peaches to the mix, thus no sugar needs to be added. While they have fewer recados than some, what makes the Icebergs halo-halo a super special is that theirs come with not one, but two scoops of ice cream!

Max’s version stands out as the one with the most number of ingredients in the mix. Their addition of grated cheese with the pinipig over the ice cream provides a slightly salty balance to the sweetness of the halo-halo. We also got huge servings of leche flan and ube halaya. Their use of an expensive brand of evap may have added a bit more to the creaminess of their version.

However, devotees of the popular Razon’s halo-halo are quick to argue that theirs is the best among the lot despite having only three ingredients. They say “less is more" with the winning combination of these essential ingredients: a huge chunk of leche flan with a slight hint of dayap, sweetened macapuno strips and slices of saba.

At the height of the Razon’s craze, there was an urban myth going around that the great secret behind the Razon’s halo-halo is fresh carabao’s milk. Well, as we found out, there is no real mystery to the milk – they use any old evap they can find. Two things that definitely make theirs taste better is the hefty serving of really good macapuno and the finely shaved ice which mixes smoothly with the milk and doesn’t leave you with a block of shatterproof ice when you’re done.

Among the stores we tried, it was the top-selling Chowking that had several variants of their halo-halo: the regular without beans at P39, the regular with beans but no ice cream at P49, regular with ice cream at P59 and their special with everything on it at P89. It’s a pretty smart marketing strategy to attract those wanting a halo-halo everyday -- you can always get one that’s within your budget, enough reason to make a quick stop at a Chowking for your daily halo-halo fix.

I also tried to look for the halo-halo specialty store Digman but it seems the number of their outlets has dwindled since their heyday in the '80s. Digman is the pride of Bacoor and made quite a killing with their Sandosenang Halo that had a dozen ingredients in their mix.

And then there is the world-famous Halo-Halo Harana of the Manila Peninsula Hotel which has the same mix-mix ingredients but is a standout because of its enormous serving good to be shared by four people or maybe two persons in this stifling weather. Max’s took a cue from the Pen with its the Giant Halo-Halo good for 4-6 people at P395.

Armed with this mix of information about the heavenly halo-halo, we can only conclude one thing. Save perhaps for the brand of milk, the kind of ice used (crushed or shaved) and the quality of the ingredients, a halo-halo being offered at your neighbor’s makeshift store can’t be much different from the glorified version in a 5-star hotel.

The original mix of ingredients is so ingeniously good there’s no need to mess with it just for the sake of being different. The truth is, the essence of a good halo-halo lies not in the mix of ingredients but in how well it works in making the world feel right again on a long hot summer day. - GMANews.TV


Ian said...

this post makes me drool for halo-halo especially the strawberry mix...

Philippine Travel Guide said...

one of the best pinoy merienda especially during summer. nice set of pics

Ecommerce Templates said...

This is the best! Must eat this when you're in the Philippines especially during summer time :)