In the summer, Japan gets hot. With the high humidity and the lack of central air conditioning, it can feel several degrees hotter than it actually is. So what can one do to help stay cool? Luckily, Japan has a wide variety of cool summer treats to help beat the heat! For example, kakigori (shaved ice), ice cream and jelly. Jelly in Japan is like American jell-o. But why not try all three of these treats at the same time? With Halohalo, one can do just that!
All over Japan, Halohalo is only available at the convenience store “Ministop” during the summer months. It combines shaved ice as a base, a jelly layer in the middle, and vanilla ice cream on top to make the perfect summer treat! The sweet vanilla ice cream combined with the texture of cold jelly and shaved ice all come together for an extremely refreshing treat. With a wide variety of flavors to choose from, getting tired of halohalo is hardly an option! Flavors include shirokuma (condensed milk shaved ice, jelly with chunks of fruit and vanilla ice cream), kinako (shaved ice, vanilla ice cream topped with mochi sprinkled in roasted soybean flour), grape (grape shaved ice, clear jelly, fruit pieces and vanilla ice cream) and Ramune (Ramune-a Japanese soda- shaved ice, clear jelly with fruit and vanilla ice cream).
This year, two new flavors were added: condensed milk strawberry and cola. Condensed milk strawberry has condensed milk shaved ice with strawberry pieces on top of vanilla ice cream. Cola has cola shaved ice with a pop rock-like candy to give it a fresh soda fizz. On top of that is a thin layer of jelly and vanilla ice cream on top.
This year is the 20th anniversary of the treat, at least in Japan. Halohalo actually originated in the Philippines. In Tagalog (a language spoken in the Phillipines) Halohalo means “mixed together.” The traditional Filipino dessert has an ice cream and shaved ice base, sweet beans, fresh fruit (usually jackfruit, bananas and palm fruit), coconut string (a thick coconut-flavored jelly cut into strings), jelly and flan. Sometimes it has a sprinkle of cereal, oats or tapioca on top. Purple sweet yam is also a common topping and condensed milk is usually drizzled over the whole thing right before serving. The dessert was so popular among Japanese tourists, some brought back the idea and made it their own!
Halohalo is available at “Ministop” during the months of June through August. Prices range from only 280YEN to 390YEN!