Pampanga's Best Halo-Halo(s)
When we had a Pampanga Taste Trek some time ago, one of the many great food finds we stumbled upon at this culinary haven, is Halo-halo. The province claims of creamy, rich and tasteful versions of this luscious dessert/snack. If you search Wikipedia, you'll find that Halo-halo is described there as “a popular Filipino dessert that is a mixture of shaved ice and milk to which are added various boiled sweet beans and fruits, and served cold in a tall glass or bowl”. With its recent commercialization and move to go onto the mainstream market, Razon’s currently tops this food category. When I had my first experience of its Halo-halo in Guagua, Pampanga, it easily got an 8 out of 10 sensory rating. It’s made of finely shaved ice crystals with macapuno, langka, leche flan and milk. Taste wise, it’s very creamy and milky. The overall taste is not overpowering with just the right amount of sweetness therefore, you can easily consume one serving. This version's advantage is its use of very fine ice crystals. Because it's so fine, it provides a creamy, smooth mouth feel and the taste of the other ingredients became distinct.
However, Razon’s is just one of the many good tasting halo-halos the town of Pampanga is proud of. There are also Corazon’s and Kabigting’s which are equally acceptable and popular. Corazon’s is made of shaved ice with a mixture of fruits (cooked sweetened banana and beans, corn, macapuno) and milk. It’s also creamy and milky with a noticeable corn top note. It has a thick mouth feel because of the macapuno. It is also rated 8 out of 10.
The third yummy Halo-halo is that of Kabigting’s in Arayat, Pampanga. It is made of shaved ice with sweetened beans that is cooked for hours, carabao’s milk made into pastillas and cream style corn. Likewise, it’s milky and creamy but very rich in taste. It has a slight beany note, not too sweet, thick consistency with grainy mouth feel coming from the beans. We noted that Kabigting’s version of Halo-halo “does not water”. As you consume it, the creamy consistency is retained. That’s why, it’s perceived very rich down to the last gulp. Because it’s very rich, others might find it satiating. But for a big fan of Halo-halo like me, it suits me just fine.
For these wonderful choices, evidently for a mouth-watering taste of Filipino’s most popular dessert that is Halo-halo, Pampanga is simply the place to go!