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.

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 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.

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.

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.

Glamour shot. Layers of fresh young coconut.. what more could you ask for?

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.