The sweltering heat of the summer months spurs the search for ways to relax and cool down.
In the streets of the Philippines, overheated Filipinos often keep an eye out for halo-halo, or shaved blocks of ice with a steel hand scraper, all to heave into a cup with bursting delicious colors of sauces and toppings.
Filipinos are not the only ones who enjoy a sweet shaved ice treat to cool down in the summer. In this post, we’re going to take a look at 10 different versions of halo-halo that keep people around the world cool in heat of the summer.
1. Philippines: Halo-halo
Halo-halo is the ultimate Filipino staple to help us deal with the sweltering weather of our beloved tropics.
This favorite shaved ice dessert has three layers of ingredients. The bottom layer contains bits of sweet beans, jelly, sago, jackfruit, palm nuts, banana preserves, coconut gel, shredded coconut meat, and sugar. The second layer is the shaved ice. The topmost layer is the delectable garnishes of leche flan, purple yam, ice cream and rice crispy. Evaporated milk is poured as the final finish.
To eat, mixed all the ingredients together first then savor each cool spoonful!
2. Italy: Granita
Italian Granita is a popularly served as a compliment to meals. This semi-frozen dessert is a fusion of sugar and other flavors such as lemon, orange, coffee, and berries.
To achieve a crystalline ice texture, the ingredients are blended together then frozen slowly. Nowadays, granitas are also served as a refreshing slush drink.
3. Korea: Patbingsu
The name literally means “red beans shaved ice,” which is pretty much a giveaway of the main ingredient.
Traditional ingredients are red bean paste, tteok, and ground nut powder. But nowadays, bingsu variants include fruits, whipped cream, ice cream, yogurt and matcha powder.
One serving can fill up two people. But if you want to go extra, Jangpan bingsu is a giant serving size meant for sharing.
4. Hawaii, USA: Shave Ice
The popular dessert was said to be adapted from a recipe brought over by Japanese sugar farmers who migrated to the shores of Hawaii during the 1800s.
Hawaiian shave ice is typically served in a cone or bowl topped with tropical fruit syrups then capped with rich condensed milk.
Traditional shave ice is served with adzuki bean paste and vanilla ice cream which is quite similar to the Japanese counterpart Kakigori.
5. Japan: Kakigori
Kakigori is shaved ice served topped with a variety of sweet syrup options and condensed milk. Some varieties are served with matcha, mochi, fruits, sugar, and sweet azuki beans.
One of the distinctive characteristics of this Japanese delight is the fluffy ice consistency packed in a higher mound.
6. Mexico: Diablito
While many of us consume frozen treats to beat the heat, Mexicans are cooling down with a little heat.
Diablito, meaning “little devil,” is a mischievous sweet to delight your taste buds. It starts with a teasing hint of tangy sorbet, then packs a hot kick with a topping of spices including red chamoy sauce and chili powder.
7. China: Bao Bing
One of the oldest styles of shaved ice, Baobing is scraped to produce a consistency that holds and locks a syrup made from fresh fruit or sugarcane added to condensed and evaporated milk.
The mound of ice is topped with overflowing amounts of sweet beans and fruit chunks like fresh mango and strawberry. Jellies, cereal flakes, and scoop of ice cream are also special additions.
In Taiwan, the dessert is called Xue Hua Bing.
8. Puerto Rico: Piraguas
This Hispanic treat is a labor of love as the ice is hand-shaved.
While the Western counterparts are shaped like snowballs, Piraguas are pointy and almost the same shape of a pyramid. The syrup flavors are typically tropical fruits.
Just like our local sorbetes, Piraguas can be found on the street sold by piragueros from a pushcart.
9. Malaysia: Ais Kacang
Ais Kacang is not only a staple refreshment in Malaysia but it is also popular in Singapore and Brunei.
The name comes from “kacang,” or nuts. Peanuts are by default one of the basal ingredients. Red beans, syrup and evaporated milk are also main inclusions. Some of the popular add-ons are fruits, jelly, ice cream and tapioca.
10. India: Chuski
Most of the shaved ice confections on this post are consumed with spoons, cones and bowls as tools. Yet this Indian cold confectionery is a borderline genius makeshift popsicle.
Hawkers push with force the shaved ice down into a cup, giving the ice it’s shape, then plunge in a wooden handle. Customers then choose a fruit syrup flavor which they can either drizzle over or dunk the treat in.
Sources: Looloo, Saveur, Backpacker Lee, Zagat, Hawaii Shaved Ice.com