Strawberry and Blueberry Haluhalo

A drizzle of coconut milk makes this strawberry and blueberry haluhalo even more addictive. #halohalo #filipino #shavedice #icecream #dessert

i started off wanting a fourth of july colored dessert, and was going to do a s’mores rendition. but somehow i ended up with haluhalo (also spelled as halo-halo), a filipino dessert that has nothing in common with s’mores besides the fact that they’re both sweet. and really, this is not an authentic representation of haluhalo. 

which brings me to cultural appropriation, which feels kind of heavy, and yet also pretty relevant, for the fourth of july. bon appetit received major flak for their version of haluhalo, which had gummy bears and popcorn. and while ruminating about haluhalo on a summery saturday night, i questioned what made people react so violently to their version of the recipe. was it because the gummy bears and popcorn sound like sacrilege? and if that’s the case, where’s the outrage for dale talde’s version, ft captn crunch, a decidedly trashy (+ delicious) and american product? maybe because the ba version originated from an author who, at least upon first glance, has no filipino ties? maybe talde’s version just didn’t make the rounds on the internet.

at the end of the day, i think it has a lot to do with intention. wong fu, asian american champion extraordinaire, touches on this topic, and they explore it in much more detail than i’m going to right now. the gist is this: it’s not acceptable, but so long as you don’t go in with bad intentions, it’s easier to understand. i honestly don’t think bon appetit and co were trying to throw junk into a glass and BAM call it haluhalo. they have more integrity and responsibility than that. but they also could have done a lot more to make their unwitting audience aware of traditional haluhalo (and filipino culture overall), as well as make obvious to their haluhalo-experienced readers that they know what they’re talking about. i like how this article breaks it down.

tl;dr: here’s a strawberry and blueberry haluhalo. it’s not authentic, and i know that, and i hope you know that, and i hope you like this even though it’s very different than a more traditional haluhalo. it’s sweet and creamy and bean-y and chestnut-y like the og, but with fresh fruit and other non-typical ingredients. happy fourth of july.

Typically, halo-halo is made with canned or jarred fruit, beans and coconut, but you can use whatever you'd like! In this strawberry and blueberry haluhalo, there's fresh berries, red beans and sweet potatoes. #halohalo #filipino #shavedice #icecream #dessert

1 year ago: rosemary no churn ice cream pops | summer berries and earl grey cream
2 years ago: strawberries and mint cream | anaheim 2016
3 years ago: laura vitale’s granola bars | matcha cake with strawberry swiss meringue buttercream
4 years ago: thomas keller’s chocolate chip cookies | chicken dijon

Strawberry and Blueberry Haluhalo
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
20 mins
This strawberry and blueberry haluhalo is a non-traditional take on the Filipino shaved ice dessert.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Filipino
Keyword: blueberries, coconut milk, dessert, filipino, ice cream, red bean, shaved ice, strawberries, sweet potatoes
Servings: 1 person
Calories: 449 kcal
  • 2 mini white sweet potatoes peeled and cubed
  • 2 T sweet red beans
  • 2 strawberries diced
  • 1/4 cup blueberries
  • 1/4 cup shaved or crushed ice
  • 2 T coconut milk
  • 1 scoop ice cream
  1. In a small pot, add the sweet potatoes and add water just to cover. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes, or until fork-tender. Drain and mash the potatoes, then cool completely.
  2. In a tall glass, layer the sweet potatoes, red beans, strawberries, blueberries and ice. Drizzle the coconut milk over everything. Add the ice cream on top and serve immediately.
Recipe Notes

Ube ice cream is traditional, but I used vanilla here.

Halo-halo literally means "mix-mix", so make sure you mix up this strawberry and blueberry haluhalo before you eat it. #halohalo #filipino #shavedice #icecream #dessert

more asian desserts

Butter mochi is a classic Hawaiian treat that features sweet rice flour, which gives the dessert its characteristic chewy texture. #buttermochi #custardmochi #mochi #hawaiian #dessert

butter mochi and custard mochi

Yaki manju, a flaky Japanese pastry, is brushed with egg wash and topped with sesame seeds. #japanese #yakimanju #dessert

yaki manju

This strawberry and blueberry haluhalo is a refreshing Filipino dessert with plenty of fruit, red beans, sweet potatoes, ice and ice cream. #halohalo #filipino #shavedice #icecream #dessert

22 Replies to “Strawberry and Blueberry Haluhalo”

  1. Heather this is beautiful, festive and appetizing! Plus, something Ive never even tried! Thanks for the recipe!

    1. thanks laura! tbh i’ve only had haluhalo a handful of times, and need to get more acquainted with filipino food in general :3

  2. Looks creamy and delicious!! I have never had any type of haluhalo so i wouldn’t know the difference! I really enjoyed reading your blog post Heather. Happy 4th!!

    1. thanks kelly! hope you had an awesome holiday (:

  3. I’m familiar with halo-halo, but I’ve never tried it. It can have so many different ingredients in it. I like your use of fresh berries and the sweet red beans (so good!) in it. Happy 4th of July!

    1. you’ll have to try some soon!! there’s so many tasty versions out there- i really like the one from cafe 86 in southern california (if you’re ever in the area!), since it has ube ice cream and flan and plentyyyy of red bean. mmmmmm.

  4. I’m not familiar with haluhalo, but your non-traditional version looks delicious! I hope you had a great 4th of July!

    1. thanks, leanne! it was my first fourth of july outside of the us, so i almost missed it because no one was celebrating lol.

  5. I love your non-traditional version of haluhalo! Perfect for 4th of July – hope you had a great one!

    1. thanks, katherine! (:

  6. You know, I’ve never had Haluhalo. Your strawberry and blueberry sounds perfectly delicious to me!! It has such good flavor and texture (I’m sure I would like the authentic version as wel)!

    1. you’ll have to try it! and i’m so biased that anything with fresh berries is automatically tasty to me (:

  7. I love how refreshing this dessert it! Bigger plus that it fits in with the whole America vibe. It is interesting to see that there’s so much going on around haluhalo.

    Nancy ♥

    1. yes super refreshing! have you heard about bon appetit and their pho debacle? it’s kind of similar to why people were mad about the haluhalo (they were calling pho the new ramen, and had an obviously non-asian chef demo the pho, etc etc). i’m mostly surprised that it seems like they didn’t learn their lesson, since both pieces of content came out within a month of each other.

    1. thanks mimi! hope you had a wonderful fourth of july (:

  8. This looks so delicious and refreshing! We got to try it out 😀 Thanks for sharing, just in time for this summer vibes!
    With love,

    Patricia & Miguel

    1. thanks patricia and miguel! and you’re so right- these are perfect for summer (:

  9. This looks and sounds so delicious and really refreshing in the summer heat!

    1. thanks, caroline! it’s super perfect for the middle of the afternoon when you’re drained and hot and just need a pick me up (:

  10. I must admit I am ignorant of haluhalo, this was definitely an interesting post. I think sometimes it’s difficult to come up with exciting new food ideas without ‘borrowing’ a little inspiration from other cultures. Asian inspired, Mexican flavours, Irish influenced, American styled. We all borrow a little from other cultures with no intentions of insulting anyone. I guess it’s a fine line to walk! The main thing is this haluhalo of yours looks so lovely a festive, I’d love to give it a try sometime.

    1. yeah i don’t think there was any bad intentions, but the combo of gummy worms and popcorn and milk just sounds a little sketchy (;

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