The Philippine cuisine doesn’t simply circle around Sinigang or adobo. It has many other food items that everybody loves as well. And the best Filipino desserts are certainly up in the list.
Sweets and cold treats in the Philippines primarily has glutinous rice as the main ingredient. Milk, coconut, fruits, and many other food items are common as well. And of course, you’d love to try these while enjoying some stories that each yummy dessert can tell.
Here are the Best Filipino Desserts for You to Enjoy
1. Halo-Halo (Mix-Mix)
Undoubtedly one of the best desserts that the Philippines has. Halo-halo is a dessert that is made up of shaved ice and is topped with condensed milk along with many other sweet toppings. That includes ice cream, ube halaya, leche flan, jellies, beans, etc. And it is easy to find in many small and big stores anywhere in the country as well.
What makes halo-halo interesting is its origin. Its basic principle traces back to desserts that mainly use shaved ice with sweet toppings. But it is closest to Kakigori, which is a Japanese dessert that has sweet beans on top of shaved ice.
The Japanese brought such dessert into the Philippines around the early stages of World War II. Luckily, ice plants were already in the country during those years, especially after the Americans built the first one in 1902. Then, the Filipino creativity just kicked in by adding more applicable toppings on the dessert, until it became a unique cold treat on its own.
2. Leche Flan
You can’t talk about the best Filipino desserts without mentioning leche flan. It is the Philippine take of the European crème caramel, and is also made from steamed or baked egg yolk with sweetened milk and caramel. And it also carries a rich backstory from the days of Spanish occupation in the archipelago.
Before, Spaniards put egg white into their concrete mixtures that they use for building different infrastructures. This means discarding so much egg yolk that they don’t need. That’s why Filipinos tried to find ways on how to use those leftovers. As a result, the yummy leche flan came to be.
3. Puto and Kutsinta
Puto and kutsinta are popular steamed rice cakes that Filipinos love to have as snacks or desserts. Puto is often paired with savory Filipino food such as dinuguan and pancit, whereas kutsinta is often topped with grated coconut.
Filipinos also love to have puto and kutsinta during the Misa de Gallo or Dawn Mass at the Christmas season. This is partially because of Lakapati (also known as Ikapati), who is the goddess of agriculture and prosperity of the pre-Hispanic Tagalog people.
Ancient people used to make rice cakes among other delicacies as tribute for Lakapati, which is supposed to get a good harvest on the following year. Such practice was Christianized by the Spaniards, became famous during Misa de Gallo, and continues until today.
That means keeping a good number of the best Filipino desserts for the present folks to enjoy, of course.
4. Filipino Ice Cream
Of course, Filipinos love ice cream too, just like how others in the world do. But ice cream brings some unique experiences for everybody in the country.
First, the biggest ice cream brands in the Philippines have unique flavors that you can’t easily find with western ice cream. Yes, they offer the classic chocolate, vanilla, rocky road etc. But they have ube, buko pandan, and mango among other unique flavors as well. Cheese ice cream is even available around.
And second, dirty ice cream or Sorbetes is an ice cream variation that is truly Filipino. It has its roots when some American traders brought tons of ice from the USA to the Philippines around 1840’s. Sorbetes is manually made by mixing ice, carabao milk, and fruits in a container. But today, the sorbetes is traditionally sold by peddlers on the streets using their small ice cream carts.
5. Ube Halaya
Ube is a popular flavor and topping for many desserts in the Philippines. It is even more popular than vanilla in the archipelago, as well as it has reached other countries worldwide too. Ube is a purple root crop that is a cousin of sweet potato and are tropical plants that are abundant in the Philippines.
Now, Ube Halaya is made from boiled ube root and is then grated before use. It is cooked with sugar and coconut milk among other ingredients until it turns into a jam. It is uncertain how ube halaya was discovered by Filipinos and became one of the best Filipino desserts. But it is a widely used ingredient for many other desserts today, such as Halo-Halo, ice cream, cakes, and turon.
Enjoy the Best Filipino Desserts through Sweet and Unique Ways Today
Ready to try some of the best Filipino desserts today? Begin with the list above to enjoy Philippine delicacies that bring a lot of stories to you. Just remember that Filipino desserts aren’t necessarily eaten after meals, since they’re typically enjoyed during snacks and breakfast too. Choose one that fits your taste today!
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