Pacific Islander Cuisine serves halo-halo, a funky Filipino dessert

The mysteries of a melting halo-halo.

The mysteries of a melting halo-halo.

If you like bubble tea and tri-color beverages, here's another Asian sweet to try.

The new Pacific Islander Cuisine in the Midtown Global Market is serving Filipino halo-halo, a colorful hot-weather hurricane of a dessert.


Halo-halo starts with shaved ice, layered with a veritable rainbow of tropical bits. The woman making the dessert scooped all the garnishes out of a tray containing nearly a dozen glass jars. A few things were lost in translation, but I think I was able to identify jackfruit, kaong (sugar palm fruit), macapuno (sometimes labeled in English as "gelatinous mutant coconut," I kid you not!), sweet beans, and evaporated milk.

The dessert is supposed to be piled high in the glass--to show the proprietor's generosity, I was told--and mine nearly overflowed. The gummy bits add a lot more textural interest than the typical American sno-cone, and as the thing melts, it turns into a pink-gray creamy liquid that resembles the milk in the bottom of a bowl of sugar cereal.