Decoding the Filipino Menu 5: The Pinoy Dessert

As in most cultures, meals are best concluded by satisfying one’s sweet tooth and the Pinoy food culture never lacks of anything that will make your dentist cry and your fitness trainer weep---but fully employed.

Photo Courtesy of Fersbite
Lechen flan
Lechen flan is caramel custard made with egg, milk and caramel. It is probably the ultimate Philippine dessert that could make any Filipino living abroad homesick.

Photo Courtesy of My Sister's Kitchen
Turon (“two-ron”) is caramelized deep-fried banana with jackfruit wrapped in crunchy spring roll wrappers. As a dessert, it is served with a scoop of ice cream and chocolate syrup. 

Photo Courtesy of The Filipino Food
Ginataang Bilo-bilo
Ginataang bilo-bilo (“gi-nah-tah-ung beelo-beelo) is a sweet stew of chewy rice balls, purple yam, banana, and tapioca cooked in coconut milk.

Photo Courtesy of Panlasang Pinoy
Filipinos love rice so much that even our dessert is a variation. Suman (“sue-man”) is steamed rice cake rolled in banana leaves. It is usually eaten by dipping it in sugar before taking a bite. Flavored sumans are also available. 
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Sapin-sapin (“layers;” “sah-pin”) is a three-layered glutinous rice made from rice flour, coconut milk, sugar, water, purple yam and coconut flakes.

Photo Courtesy of Taste Buds
Kutsinta (“coo-chin-tah”) is brown rice cake made from rice flour, brown sugar and lye, topped with grated coconut.

Photo Courtesy of Visit Pinas
Casava cake
Cassava cake is made from grated cassava (the poor man’s crop but delicious nonetheless), coconut milk, eggs, butter and topped with a creamy milk mixture.

Photo Courtesy of Market Manila
Buko pandan salad
Salads, especially in the West, are usually an appetizer or a healthy diet alternative but not this salad. Buko pandan salad is made with cubes of pandan gelatin, shredded young coconut and mini tapioca mixed in sweet cream sauce.

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Halo-halo (“mix;” “hah-lo” and not “hay-low”) is the most popular Pinoy shaved/crushed ice dessert made of sweet beans, banana, nata de coco, jackfruit, gelatin, tapioca, corn flakes, evaporated milk, purple yam, leche flan (caramel custard), or whatever may tickle your fancy. It is usually topped with a scoop of ube (purple yam) ice cream. It must first be mixed together with a long spoon before eating but you will later end up drinking it straight from the tall glass.

Photo Courtesy of Yum Filipino Food
Mais con hielo
The next most popular Pinoy crushed or shaved ice dessert is the mais con hielo (“mah-is con yellow”) made with sweet corn kernels, evaporated milk, and sugar. Like the halo-halo, you mix it first with a long spoon before eating and drink from the tall glass later.

And if you’re still in the mood for one more cavity ally, leave the restaurant and look for the sorbetero (ice cream vendor) for that good ol’ fashioned dirty ice cream!

Photo Courtesy of Senior Enrique
Photo Courtesy of B Feed Me

Did I say dirty?


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