Pampanga's famed crushed ice coolers-A A +A
Saturday, April 14, 2012
IF YOU are looking for a gastronomic way to beat the heat, a food trip on Pampanga's best halo-halo can very well beat the summer fever and provide a delectable way to experience the best crushed ice concoctions in different parts of the province.
Pampanga is not just the culinary capital of the Philippines; it is also home to the best halo-halo brands. Wikipedia bests describes halo-halo as a popular Filipino dessert that is a mixture of shaved ice and milk to which are added various boiled sweet beans and fruits, and served cold in a tall glass or bowl. But in simple words, halo-halo is a sinful, delectable and cooling dessert that is best eaten during the summer months.
With heat almost unbearable these past few days, a couple of friends and I managed to make a road trip to the best halo-halo stands. We found ourselves huddled in a car in a short trip to Guagua town for the famed Razon's halo-halo.
Razon's had braked away from the food stand industry and has evolved into a full-blown commercial restaurant. The Razon's halo-halo is a family enterprise in itself but to discuss the history of their business would fill the entire space for this column.
The best place to taste Razon's halo-halo is to troop to Guagua town. There are at least three branches there, one along Olongapo-Gapan Road and two of the older branches inside the town proper. Their halo-halo is not colorful but makes use of a blend of sweets that creates a simple, subtle, and almost divine blend. The sweetness of the ingredients does not overpower one another but instead complements a distinct sweet taste that is not boring.
A serving of this famed halo-halo should be eaten with a plate of native palabok or puto and dinuguan. The price of the halo-halo is a little over P60 and could be eaten in a convenient ambiance. The Razon's brand is one of the most accessible halo-halo brands of Kapampangan origin, as its branches are well established in key cities in Luzon. Wikipilipinas, a Philippine based website, even places Razon's halo-halo among the top ten best halo-halo in country.
But if you are a sweet-tooth and have a penchant for sweeter ingredients, better troop to Arayat town for their famed Kabigting's halo-halo. Instead of using milk, this halo-halo makes use of carabao milk to give it a finer flavor. The unique addition of pastillas and other pre-sweetened ingredients that are added contributes to the flavor of the dessert. One can describe the blend as soothing but a bit sweeter if not only for the carabao milk that tempers the taste.
A much more economical choice for a halo-halo craving is to visit Halo Halo sa Corazon in Angeles City. When in Angeles City, look for Corazon St. along Nepo Subd. The halo-halo here boasts of finely shaved ice and the unique blend of ingredients and sugar syrup. Halo Halo sa Corazon is also a snack house with specialties that include palabok, dinuguan and puto. Started in the year 2000, they have two branches mainly in Angeles City.
These three are only a few of the best popular brands in the province. There are in fact a dozen more halo-halo brands claiming fame as the "best halo-halo" in Pampanga. But as any food lover would know, de gustibus non est dispotandum (there is no arguing about taste). So the next time you feel the summer heat too unbearable, get out into a halo-halo adventure and have a fill of the best ice crushed coolers this province has to offer.
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Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on April 15, 2012.