Beat the heat with Filipino summer treat in month-long Vancouver halo-halo festival

Let’s start with the proper pronunciation of this Filipino cold dessert treat.

Say “ha-loh ha-loh”.

Now that we’ve got that right, let’s talk about halo-halo.

It’s basically a colorful melange of sweetened preserves, topped with shaved ice, drizzled with milk, and then topped with jam, flan or ice cream.

The name of this medley comes from the Tagalog word “halo”, which literally translates to “mix”. Halo-halo thus means “mixed”.

Typically served in a tall glass or a wide bowl, halo-halo is best enjoyed after stirring all the contents together.

After consuming the ingredients with a spoon, one can drink the slush for a luscious finish.

Haven’t tried halo-halo before?

Well, here’s your chance to sample this ultimate Filipino summer treat.

The developers of Berb, a social media application focused on food, is organizing a month-long halo-halo festival across various locations in Metro Vancouver.

One of the organizers is certified halo-halo fanatic Ryan Ferrer.

“It’s summer and it’s a perfect time to enjoy halo-halo,” Ferrer told the Straight in a phone interview.

The event starts Saturday (July 16) and runs until August 15. (See list below for participating vendors.)

Ferrer’s family started a restaurant in General Santos City in southern Philippines when he was a young boy.

The establishment was named Ryan’s Lechon House after him, and it specialized in lechon or whole roast pig.

“I was cute and chubby when I was young, and I may have suggested my name for the restaurant,” Ferrer recalled.

“Still am,” Ferrer quickly added jokingly about himself.

For its dessert choices, Ryan’s Lechon House served a fully-loaded halo-halo.

It has sweetened plantain (minatamis na saging), sweet palm fruit (kaong), silky coconut (macapuno), sweetened jackfruit (langka), tapioca pearls (sago), sweet beans, and jellies.

The concoction is topped with shaved ice, drizzled with evaporated milk, and then topped with purple yam jam (ube halaya), custard (milk flan), and ice cream, and sprinkled with crispy young rice (pinipig).

Ferrer took up business studies in the Philippines before coming to Canada as a student in his 20’s.

He ended up staying in Metro Vancouver, where he is now engaged in marketing and financial services.

Meanwhile, his parents retired a few years ago, and Ryan’s Lechon House has closed in General Santos City after three decades in business.

“I think living in a tropical country like the Philippines, we always wanted something cold and that helps in battling the hot sunny day,” Ferrer explained why Filipinos like halo-halo.

“Plus, Filipinos are known to love sweet food, so this is a perfect comfort food,” he added.

In addition to traditional halo-halo, stores participating in the month-long Vancouver halo-halo festival will also offer their own twist on the dessert.

For example, Filipino Plate (two locations in Vancouver and New Westmister) has maja or pudding or halo-halo toppings.

Also, Mr. Siopao De Langley offers buns filled with halo-halo ingredients like purple yam and silky coconut (ube, macapuno).

For choices:

VANCOUVER

FILIPINO DISH

MENU:

  1. SPECIAL HALO-HALO
  2. GINATAANG HALO-HALO

Address: 5175 Joyce Street

Website: www.platofilipino.ca

Phone: 604-559-9155

PAMPANGA’S CUISINE

MENU:

  1. PINOY UBAE HALO-HALO
  2. SPECIAL HALO-HALO

Address: 5179 Joyce Street

Website: pampangascuisine.ca

Phone: 778-379-7003

PAMPANGA’S CUISINE

MENU:

  1. PINOY UBAE HALO-HALO
  2. SPECIAL HALO-HALO

Address: 6094 Fraser Street

Website: pampangascuisine.ca

Phone: 604-566-0505

WIN WIN CHICK-N

MENU:

  1. SPECIAL HALO-HALO ICE CREAM
  2. UBE CAKE HALO-HALO
  3. HALO-HALO THREESOME

Address: 8197 Main Street

Website: winwinchick-n.com

Phone: 604-423-4818

MABUHAY FOODS (Mabuhay Supermarket)

MENU:

  1. MABUHAY HALO-HALO SPECIAL
  2. HALO-HALO POTATO
  3. HALO-HALO WITH CARIOCA

Address: 3369 Kingsway

Website: www.mabuhayfoods.com

Phone: 604-453-0343

KAON ‘TA CHICKEN INASAL – ONLINE ONLY

MENU:

  1. HALO-HALO KAONTA

Address: 8811 Laurel Street

Website: kaontachicken.com

Phone: 778-862-4070

NEW WESTMINSTER

FILIPINO DISH

MENU:

  1. SPECIAL HALO-HALO
  2. UBE MAJA WITH HALO-HALO TOPPINGS
  3. GINATAANG HALO-HALO

Address: 892 Carnarvon Street

Website: www.platofilipino.ca

Phone: 604-553-6747

TOGO

MENU:

  1. SPECIAL HALO-HALO
  2. BUBBLE WAFFLE CONE With UBE HALO-HALO

Address: 813 12th Street

Website: www.sagotogo.com

Phone: 604-553-2215

KABAYAN PARTY

MENU:

  1. KABAYAN SPECIAL HALO-HALO
  2. HALO-HALO WITH CARIOCA

Address: 941 12th Street

New Westminster, B.C.

Phone: 604-553-1220

RICHMOND

WIN WIN CHICK-N

MENU:

  1. SPECIAL HALO-HALO ICE CREAM
  2. UBE CAKE HALO-HALO
  3. HALO-HALO THREESOME

Address: 12160 First Avenue

Website: winwinchick-n.com

Phone: 604-423-4818

SURREY

GRAND KITCHEN

  1. SPECIAL HALO-HALO
  2. HALO-HALO BOODLE
  3. FAMILY SIZE HALO-HALO

Address: 10257 King George Boulevard

Website: grandtkitchenfilipinocuisine.com

Phone: 778-395-0900

LANGLEY

Mr. SIOPAO DE LANGLEY – PRE-ORDER ONLINE

MENU:

  1. SIOPAO WITH UBE MACAPUNO
  2. SIOPAO WITH BUKO PANDAN
  3. SIOPAO WITH BUKO TARO
  4. SIOPAO WITH MILK FLAN

Address: 5680 198 Street

Website: mrsiopaodelangleybakery.ca

Phone: 604-518-7914

Ryan Ferrer is an organizer of the month-long Vancouver festival.

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