4 Favorite Halo Halo on O‘ahu, One You Need to Get Now
When it's hot, holo holo for halo halo at Via Gelato, Shimazu Store, Magnolia Ice Cream & Treats and Max’s of Manila.
Ouf, it’s hot. Give me a spoon and a halo halo, one of the best ways to stir me out of a lazy haze. Here are my favorite places for the maximalist Filipino dessert.
Via Gelato’s special of the month, a halo halo sundae, is a showstopper: a Hawai‘i version unlike any halo halo you’ve ever had. Get the large, which adds a scoop of mango sorbet to two scoops of halo halo gelato, made with locally grown Okinawan sweet potato, fresh corn and swirled with pirie mango sauce. The gelato itself is a marvel, the corn providing pops of crunchy sweetness, but the sundae, in the spirit of halo halo, takes it over the top. Azuki beans and osmanthus jellies studded with water chestnut pave the bottom, more mango sauce fills in the gaps, and the whole thing is crowned with mashed sweet potato and a wedge of flan, then finished with sweetened milk and brown rice puffs.
$15 for a large, 1142 12th Ave., viagelatohawaii.com, @viagelatohawaii
SEE ALSO: Try These New DIY Gelato Cakes from Kaimukī’s Via Gelato
Until recently, I didn’t know Shimazu sold halo halo, even though it’s literally listed on its sign, right after shave ice. Now, it’s one of my favorites. It’s the most restrained on this list, but Shimazu makes each component count, including coconut strips that taste of fresh coconut meat, slippery sweet coconut gel, and even an entire jackfruit pod, a treasure found at the bottom. Azuki beans, ube ice cream, a coarse shave ice, and evaporated milk tops it all off.
$8, locations in Liliha and Kapahulu, but call the Kapahulu location before going to make sure it’s not sold out
Magnolia Ice Cream & Treats
Nine ingredients, contributing to a riot of textures and colors, make their way into the signature halo halo at Magnolia, aka the Halo Halo Place. Coarse ice is piled on top of sweet beans and fruit, including jackfruit, saba bananas, macapuno (coconut strings), red bean, and kaong (date palm jelly). Good luck not getting the lightly sweetened milk to overflow as you try to mix in the ube ice cream and puffed crispy rice.
$7.74, multiple locations, magnoliatreats.com
SEE ALSO: My 8 Favorite Filipino Foods on O‘ahu Right Now
Max’s of Manila
I’ve had bowls of cereal less sweet than Max’s halo halo, which helps me justify it as a summer meal. There are even white beans in there—it’s practically a salad! An assortment of colored jellies lend texture while the flan, ube ice cream and ube paste add sweetness to the otherwise unsweetened milk and ice, somewhere between coarse and fine.
$7.95, multiple locations, maxsrestaurantna.com/hawaii