It’s hot and humid and my head’s about to explode – 3H combination equating to the absolute perfect excuse to devour an entire bowl of halo-halo.
Truth is, there’s no need for the weather to conspire in my favor to have a fill of this Filipino dessert. I crave for it all-year round. Who can resist a tower of sweetened banana, red Adjuki beans, yellow Kidney beans, coco jelly, leche flan (milk flan), crushed ice, evaporated milk, rice crispies (or corn flakes) and a scoop (or two) of ice cream?
Most places that sell halo-halo have a selection of ice cream flavors to choose from.
Why?!? I begrudgingly ask. Why do we need so many options?
Halo-halo goes well with one, and only one, flavor of ice cream – ube!!!.
Ube [oo-beh] is, I guess (since I’m not an expert in botany) a close relative of yam. A lot of people insist it is purple yam. But I say no. Ube has a deeper shade of purple to it. I’ve seen yam in different countries and it’s always a lighter shade – kind of like lilacs. Ube also has a more pronounced taste. Most purple yams border on being a potato but my dear ube is a sweeter version of the sweet potato.
This same specificity for taste had a friend baffled over bananas. A few months ago, I was in Chicago and was invited over for lunch. She offered me some bananas which she proudly pointed out were from the Philippines. I take one look at the bunch and told her I didn’t want any because they weren’t sweet.
A confused knot forms between her brows. “Are bananas supposed to be sweet?” She asked.
“Of course!” I replied in a voice that I now fear may have sounded too all-knowing. “Well at least they are back home. They’re just not the same elsewhere.”
She humored me by saying, “Well these are from home.”
“They’re just not the same.” I insisted.
Last week, my boyfriend and I were out selecting rental suits for a friend’s wedding.
We wondered, since the reception was at the beach (and the wedding would be right smack in the middle of a dry El Niño spell), why not wear shorts?
A few seconds after visualizing the look, we figured it just wouldn’t work – unless the look you’re aiming for is of a magician’s assistant. I may have had a goofy grin on my face as Z said “Hell no!” as if he knew that I was imagining him pulling out a bunny from a top hat.
It’s odd how I take imagination and preferences (What difference does the shade of ube and regular purple yam make, really?) too far sometimes. Another peculiarity of mine is an obsessive-compulsive gravitation towards order.
Siblings, particularly my sister, could never quite understand why I color-coded my closet and categorized each item. She also couldn’t understand why I’m thinking of hiring someone to catalog all my books. When I explained the benefits to her, she simply shook her head and said, “You’re nuts!”
We all have those traits and behaviors that become sources of peeves and annoyance. Then again, things or people would just be terribly unrecognizable if they didn’t take the form of what or who they innately are.
A part of me feels that I shouldn’t be too organized or too meticulous. But I wouldn’t recognize myself if my dog’s next vet visit wasn’t scheduled 2 months early. Maybe change is in the horizon (What if we were suddenly able to export sweet bananas to Chicago?). Until then, I’ll have my fill of halo-halo topped with ube ice cream after picking up that tuxedo my beau’s wearing for his best friend’s wedding. I need to borrow his suit, which I will take to the dressmaker, to color-coordinate my dress.
Tell me about your eccentricities, friends. If you don’t have any, I’m almost certain you’re not human.
June 3, 2014 | Cebu City
These awesome halo-halo pictures were from these fellow eaters:
This halo-halo diagram is pretty neat.