These desserts I’m talking about are from different countries but are almost the same. Patbingsu is from Korea and Halo-halo is from the Philippines. Both are served with fruits, shaved ice and milk.

Patbingsu - a korean shaved ice dessert

Honestly, I had no idea Korea also had this cold dessert. I was so intrigued when Maangchi did a video on how to make Patbingsu – check out the video here http://www.maangchi.com/recipe/patbingsu. The ingredients included strawberry, kiwi, banana, sweet red beans, shaved ice and condensed milk. While Halo-halo has more ingredients: boiled kidney beans, garbanzos, sugar palm fruit (kaong), macapuno, and plantains caramelized in sugar, jackfruit (langkâ), gulaman(agar agar cubes), tapioca or sago, nata de coco, sweet potato (kamote), pounded crushed young rice (pinipig).

For Patbingsu, I guess the sweetness of the dessert is toned down because of the kiwi & strawberry. There is one interesting ingredient though, the rice cake. I am much interested how strawberry, kiwi and rice cake would taste like with sweet red beans and ice with condensed milk.  Problem is, strawberry is really rare in groceries here, as well as rice cake. As for kiwi, not so much. Sometimes I see pre-packed strawberries in certain groceries but they are reaaaaaally small and expensive! Not so appetizing if you ask me.

Halo-halo, from the root word halo (not to be pronounced as hey-low) meaning mix.For halo-halo, most of the

Halo-halo and its ingredients, remember it is NOT pronounced hey-low hey-low.

ingredients are ‘sweetened’ already. Halo-halo ingredients can be bought in small jars in groceries, like the beans, garbanzos, sugar palm fruit, nata de coco, jack fruit, purple yam, macapuno, sweetened plantain – or you can always make homemade halo-halo ingredients, it will just take time. During the summer months in the Philippines, you can see and buy halo halo just about anywhere; the streets, as well as some fast food restaurants offering a classier presentation of the said dessert with a higher price. Now this made me wonder, if they also sell Patbingsu on the streets in Korea just like in the Philippines.

This is how the usual halo-halo is served

Just like Patbingsu, all you have to do to make this dessert is to layer all the ingredients one after another. The usual halo-halo I grew up with has the all the ingredients all placed in a glass, then topped with ice, a slice of leche flan and ube halaya. Those that are served in restaurants have all the ingredients on top of the ice and come with the option of being served with a scoop of ice cream and sometimes with a wafer stick.

One of the restaurants that serve halo-halo is Chowking, and the other is Razon’s. Chowking halo-halo is the traditional halo halo I grew up with, only much more expensive. As for Razon’s, they only have five ingredients for their version of halo halo – sweetened plantain bananas, macapuno, sweetened jack fruit, leche flan and evaporated milk and that’s it. It has little ingredients but it can satisfy your craving for a cold and sweet treat. Then there’s also Digman, although I haven’t tried their version of halo halo.

Other Asian countries also have their own version of this shaved ice dessert. Malaysia has Ais Cakang, Cendol from Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore, Sâm bổ lượng from Vietnam and Kakigori from Japan, although this is a much simpler version of the dessert, with only flavored syrup and condensed milk as the ingredients – much like the snow cone.

        So if ever you’re in one of the Asian countries mentioned above during a hot summer month, just remember the names of the desserts if you crave for a sweet and cold treat 😀 look for a local store that sells these treats and enjoy!

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