14 December 2007
I have to confess, I took on a new vice: Regular doses of Razon's Halo-Halo. I know, I know, shame on me. But really, how could anyone resist? All it takes is one puff....I mean, try.
To the uninitiated, halo-halo is your Philippine summer staple made from a variety of sweetened fruits, beans, gelatin and other items of fancy topped with shaved ice, leche flan and/or ice cream, drizzled with milk or coconut cream. One can take it as is, but better to mix the concoction well and blend all the flavors together. What ensues is a cornucopia of different flavors, rummaging itself through the palate.
Now, halo-halo seems like typical fare which would go well only during the hot summer months, where the sweltering heat would naturally prod your body yearn for an icy sanctuary. Not the case these days, where halo-halo can be taken at any time of the year since outlets like Chow King started offering it all year round.
Razon's likewise has always prided itself in its pancit and halo-halo. The Razons branches that are in proximity to the areas I operate in, and that I am aware of, are the ones in Julia Vargas, Greenbelt I, San Fernando (Pampanga), Sta. Rita (Pampanga) and Olongapo. I have tried them all, with the exception of the Julia Vargas branch, and I found the halo-halo in Olongapo to be the best. That's what I think, at least. My friends say they all taste the same. I still beg to disagree.
A short disclaimer here: I have no idea if all these Razon's branches are actually part of the same chain. You know how it is with "The Original Adeng's Puto Binan", "Adeng's Real Puto Binan" and "Adeng's Puto Binan". You never really know, do you?
Back to the halo-halo...
What makes their halo-halo unique, for one, is that there are only 5 ingredients visible: macapuno (or it could also be plain sweetened coconut), sweetened saba bananas, all filled with finely shaven ice, drizzled with evaporated milk, and topped with a slice of leche flan. (Okay, technically its just 3: the bananas, leche flan and macapuno. Ice and milk are part of ALL halo-halo varieties.)
Second, their finely shaven ice rarely has lumps in them, and can easily be mixed with the ingredients as compared to others that need to be poked at constantly. Believe me, when you're dying to eat your halo-halo, poking at fused-together shaved ice can really be frustrating.
Third and last, I believe they have a secret ingredient. I can't believe all those simple items can result in such great tasting halo-halo. I think I've got an idea of what it is: crushed pinipig, or immature glutinous rice flakes. I think that is what makes the beverage a bit 'thick' and tastier than your usual fare.
But hey, with all the trouble in trying to figure out how to make the perfect halo-halo, and making it yourself, why not just order one at a Razon's branch. After all, it probably will cost just about P50.00 no matter which branch.
I wouldn't really recommend their puto to go with it, since the taste and consistency changes each time I order one. Their pancit, I must admit, I wouldn't really know. I'm vegetarian, remember? But hey, maybe I'll try and order one sometime, one without chicharon.