Arguably the Philippines’ most popular dessert (sorbetes is another choice), halo-halo has a history as deliciously rich as its mixture of flavors.
In her book The Governor-General’s Kitchen: Philippine Culinary Vignettes and Period Recipes 1521-1935, food historian Felice Prudente Sta. Maria shares a brief history of Filipinos’ favorite shaved ice dessert:
The Japanese mitsumame, literally “many beans,” a favorite homeland refreshment translated into mongo con hielo by Nippon immigrants, helped bring icy refreshment to the popular market. Philippine variations climaxed in halo-halo, which adds fruit preserves and custards to the prototype. The original mitsumame was at first made with snow until the ice-shaver made its way into the Japanese Asahi company’s technology.