Filipino Sweets

Indulge in famous Ube dessert or make your own Halo-Halo

Purple Reign

Photo Courtesy of Angie’s Bakery

Ube—the vibrant purple yam used widely in Filipino sweets, pastries and desserts—is not to be confused with taro root or purple sweet potatoes. Unlike those tubers, ube has a mild sweetness balanced with earthy, nutty umami. In recent years, ube has blown up on Instagram and become a major foodie trend.



This classic Filipino ice cream dessert is a kaleidoscope of textures and flavors with many creative interpretations.

Photo Courtesy of Will Hawkins: Halo-halo to go at Susan’s Kitchenette

Meaning “mix-mix” in Tagalog, halo-halo (or haluhalo) is an iconic Filipino dessert made up of shaved ice, evaporated milk and layers of various sweet ingredients assembled in a tall glass. The result is a kaleidoscopic mélange of textures and flavors for mixing up, scooping out and slurping down. For a fun, celebratory spin on it, spike with your favorite clear spirit.

  • Monggo (sweet red mung beans)
  • Langka (jackfruit)
  • Macapuno (coconut sport)
  • Nata de coco (coconut gel)
  • Kaong (sugar palm fruit)
  • Gulaman (cubed jellies)
  • Caramelized saba bananas (optional)
  • Shaved ice (crushed ice is ok, too)
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 2 tbsp condensed milk (optional)
  • Ube ice cream (sub vanilla or mango)
  • Leche flan (optional, but highly recommended)
  • Pinipig (toasted sticky rice, optional)

Layer the first seven ingredients to fill the bottom third of a large glass. Fill the glass to the top with shaved ice. Pour evaporated milk over ice. Top with last four ingredients.

Hannah Serrano Headshot
Hannah Serrano
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Hannah Serrano is director of sales & marketing at the TASTE Family of Businesses and former marketing director at O'Connor Brewing Co. Hannah is a passionate foodie and beer nerd. Her advocacy for local culture developed as an arts editor at Port Folio Weekly, culture contributor at WVEC-13, owner of, and co-organizer of Norfolk's NEON District.

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