I am a fan of Anthony Bourdain! His food and travel TV programs, “Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown” and “No Reservation”, on CNN and Travel Channel, respectively, are culturally educational.
As a fan, I wanted to clarify (for the would-be viewer) on a dessert, HALO-HALO, which, I heard on CNN, that Anthony will be featuring this Sunday night “Parts Unknwon” as part of his visit in Koreatown-Los Angeles,
Since the program is featuring the food in Koreatown, allow me to reiterate that HALO-HALO, though exotic sounding as it is, is NOT a KOREAN dessert. It is FILIPINO’S!
In Philippine language, specifically in Tagalog, the word HALO` means “to mix two or more stuff”. Hence, HALO-HALO means “mix-mix”! And in the Philippines, one can buy or order HALO-HALO in food carts of street vendors, small food stores, and in classy restaurants. The common components in HALO-HALO is shaved ice, evaporated milk, sugar, cooked red beans (Filipinos usually use cowpea, a specie of genus Vigna), a colored bar of “gulaman” (agar-agar) cubed once cooked, and, at least, some cubed fruits- cubed cooked banana, etc..
In classy restaurants, you can find in the mix, cubed caramel custard (leche flan), a scoop or two of ice cream, a mashed purple yam, coconut gel or shreds of young coconut meat, cubed mangoes or jackfruit, and “pinipig” – rice, which were harvested before they reach complete maturity, and roasted and pounded or ground.
The richness of the mixture and taste of HALO-HALO, therefore, depends on where you get it. Those who would like to taste the real HALO-HALO should look for it in Filipino restaurants, not in a Korean restaurant. Probably, one would be asked for an extra dollar if a scoop of ice cream would be added.
I hope the HALO-HALO, that Anthony Bourdain is featuring this Sunday in his CNN program, is from a Filipino restaurant in Koreatown. Otherwise, what he’d have is a HALO-HALO fusion or copycat, not the real thing.
Meantime, pls. check this video that I got on You Tube, courtesy of campoxanto’s channel.