From champorado (chocolate porridge) to spaghetti with banana ketchup, it's safe to say that Filipinos are fans of adding a bit of sweetness to practically everything. So it comes as no surprise that Filipino cuisine has a rich dessert culture.
In no particular order, here are some indulgent desserts anyone new to Filipino cuisine should try!
One of the most iconic Filipino desserts is Halo-Halo (which translates to "Mix-Mix"). This delectable concoction is made with shaved ice and an array of flavorful toppings: ube halaya, leche flan, nata de coco, jackfruit, sweet beans and other delightfully tasty ingredients that you have to mix and mix to fully enjoy.
Mais con hielo
Similar to halo-halo, this dessert also makes use of shaved ice as a base but pairs it with milder flavors. Corn, evaporated or condensed milk, and sugar are traditionally used, but some prefer adding toppings to add more flavor and texture, like corn cereal, cheese, vanilla ice cream, and leche flan.
This creamy, fragrant dessert, which is also a favorite across Southeast Asia, is made with young coconut, cream, sweetened milk and chewy pandan (Screwpine leaves) gelatin that's bursting with flavor.
image: i_rine87 Instagram account
Often likened to Taro, Ube or purple yam is fast becoming one of the most popular flavors associated with Filipino cooking.
Though commonly used as a base for both savory and sweet dishes, ube is also used to make ube jam (halaya), which is made by grating, mashing, and boiling ube until it reaches a rich consistency that can be likened to chewy pudding. It's often drizzled with latik (caramelized coconut or coconut curds).
image: bake_munchies Instagram account
This silky, caramelized custard dessert, which draws inspiration from Crème caramel, is a local favorite! Made with eggs, milk, sugar, and hints of vanilla, this is one of the popular Filipino desserts that will win your heart.
This Filipino steamed rice cake has a spongy texture and a mildly sweet and tart flavor, making it a great match for richer courses like meat stews or stir-fried noodles. It can be topped with cheese or salted egg and enjoyed in an assortment of flavors, like ube or pandan.
A variant of puto, kutsinta are steamed rice cakes made with rice flour, brown sugar, lye water, and annatto extract. Unlike puto, however, this rice cake has a more chewy consistency. It's usually topped with shredded coconut meat.
These pastries of Spanish influence are soft, buttery rolls sprinkled with sugar and topped with handfuls of grated cheese.
image: Desserts by Robert Flavios Instagram account
Ice cream in tropical flavors
The diverse flavors of Filipino cuisine have naturally found their way into their soft serve selection. Some local favorites are mango, ube, and macapuno (sweetened coconut).
Sweetness is a flavor that binds many Filipino dishes together. It's so beloved by the local palate that it's blurred distinctions between what counts as dessert and what is considered to be breakfast or merienda.
Have you tried any of these popular Filipino desserts?
Much like these classic desserts, each handpicked premium treat inside every Chibundle is bursting with the unique flavors that define Filipino cuisine.
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lead image: Romulo Cafe London