Phat in the Phillipines: Sweet Treats

Needed a quick escape from NYC… and a serious pork fix. So here I am, eating my way through the Phillipines! I’ve been seriously eating nonstop, alternating between pork, fried pork, fried fish, and double fried pork. But more on that later, I thought I’d kick off my Phillipines blog posts by having dessert first.

halo halo sa buko phillipines dessert ube ice cream
Definitely can’t mention Filipino desserts without the most popular – Halo halo, extra special because it was delivered in a young coconut (buko). Halo halo is all about the textures and layers of flavor – dried sweetened jackfruit, creamy adzuki beans, pandan jelly, chunks of silky flan, coconut cream and lots of other goodies all topped with a scoop of ube (taro) ice cream. If you like Singaporean bobo chacha or Vietnamese che, this is for you.

buko pandan filipino dessert
Buko pandan is a rich dessert featuring pandan (a leaf with a faintly coconut taste and bright green color) jelly, coconut cream, and strips of buko. Delicious, but the cream makes it so that you only need a few bites of this.

bibingka filipino dessert rice cake salty duck red egg
If there’s one dessert you need to try in the Phillipines, I’d say its this – bibingka, or rice flour and coconut milk cake cooked over coals in a banana leaf. It already sounds amazing, but top it with some buko shreds and salty duck egg – and it becomes infinitely more incredible. It’s both sweet and salty at the same time, while the rice flour in the cake gives it an almost custard-like texture.

buko tart pie filipino dessert loumars
Everywhere you go, you’ll see shops that sell buko pies and tarts. Little tartlets with strips of layered buko meat – a nice little treat. (see what i did there) We got ours at Loumar’s.

buko tart pie filipino dessert loumars
Glamour shot. Layers of fresh young coconut.. what more could you ask for?

tagaytay roadside fruit stand
And the best dessert of all – loads of fresh fruit. I’m staying in Tagaytay, a little resort town high up in the mountains outside of Manila where you can get fresh fruit off the side of the road. Pineapple fields everywhere – producing the sweetest pineapple you’ve ever tasted. Fresh mangos, fragrant calamansi lime, jackfruit, baby bananas… this.. is seriously paradise.


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  1. excellent blog post. my only qualm is the mix-up between ube and taro. it’s a common mistake though, and up until a few years ago, i thought they were the same thing too. i only have an issue with it simply because ube is kind of like the resident “purple flavor” of the philippines, so it’s more of a pride thing.

    also, i think the flavors are slightly different, though very similar.

  2. Leykwon the Chef

    i had no idea! thanks for the tip!

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