Monday, June 07, 2021


Halo halo is shaved ice, topped with evaporated milk, sweet red beans, grated coconut, grass jelly, sweet taro or ube cubes, fruit cocktail, syrup, and ice cream. Sort of an insane over the top stoner excess cold and refreshing Filipino dessert, distantly related to 'es-Shanghai' (shave ice, canned fruit in syrup, multi-coloured squiglies) which everyone remembers from the movie theater in Glodok where they went on hot days to chill out. And swat furiously at the tjorotjoro scooting across the sticky cement floors with their flip-flops.

Yeah, well okay, maybe you don't remember that.
I don't either, as I was too young then.
Also ten thousand miles away.

And I still don't know what that green syrup was. It didn't taste like screwpine (pandan), and there was a motorcar on the label, which didn't give a clue.

[There was an entire aisle of electric-hued fruit syrups for soda or dessert at the Albert Hein for many years, but you bought green or pink syrup at the toko, which my mother never went too because the labels were more unintelligibly Dutch than she could deal with. What the heck is 'trassi bakar'? Um, better not know. (it's roasted dried shrimp paste, btw).]

So I am ashamed to say that I have never been to Jollibee in San Francisco, at 6955 Mission Street. I've only heard about them. Filipino spaghetti, burgers, hot dogs, fried chicken, and dessert. My walking circuit did include all the Filipino food places in the downtown, because sometimes a man needs adobo, lechon kawali, dinuguan, lumpia, or an avocado shake.
Pancit, sinigang, kaldereta, or inihawan.

Jollibee, as everyone knows, does American food. Apparently their fried chicken is da' bomb. But as a concession to their original demographic, they also have halo halo.

One of these days, man.

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