The Filipino desserts not only a scrumptious mixture of native ingredients but are also rich in taste and history. The traditional Filipino desserts play a pivotal role in Philippine cuisine. Through time, these delectable delicacies evolved on their own, from the ingredients used, to preparation up to their packaging.
In the Philippines, desserts are commonly referred to as “panghimagas”. The meal would entirely be incomplete without something sweet and tasty.
The Philippines, sitting at the foot of Southeast Asia is a tropical country. Abundant in coconut and rice production, most sweet treats are typically made from the country’s staple foods. One of the most favoured desserts is bibingka, a rice cake usually topped with butter, itlog na maalat (salted, red-dyed egg), kesong puti (white cheese), and oftentimes grated coconut meat. Also, a special rice cake named biko made with malagkit (glutinous/sweet/sticky rice), sugar, butter and coconut milk topped with latik (caramelized coconut meat). Kutsinta is yet another brown rice cake. Its texture is very soft to the touch and is topped with grated coconut meat. In addition to the list of Pinoy, rice cakes is puto, a steamed rice cake. Sweet to the mouth and is prepared in different colours and sizes. Sapin-Sapin on the other hand is a layered glutinous tri-coloured coconut and rice dessert. The name sapin-sapin indicates “layers” and this kind of dessert is highly recognizable due to its colours layered carefully. Filipinos also love to eat another glutinous rice dough covered with sugar, grated coconut, and sesame seeds known as palitaw. Pitsi-pitsi or pichi pichi is also a delectable sweet treat popular among the provinces of the Philippines. Originated from Quezon province, pitsi-pitsi is made from kamoteng kahoy (cassava) and rolled in grated coconut or butter.
Very hot especially during the summer, Filipinos love to savour cold treats too! Halo-halo recipe is a colourful mixture of sweetened and preserved fruits (such as plantains, jackfruit, long strips of coconut), red beans, tapioca, macapuno, ube haleya, milk, sugar, leche flan, and crushed ice. Other cold treats are maiz con yelo (corn kernels with shaved ice, milk and sugar), saba con yelo (chopped caramelized plantains with milk, sugar and crushed ice), and of course, buko pandan (grated strips or rectangular-cut coconut meat merged with milk, gulaman, and juice extract from pandan leaves or pandan flavouring).
Sorbetes is the Pinoy version of ice cream usually in flavours: ube, mocha, and cheese. Sorbetes are peddled by street food vendors mostly outside the school gates and along with parks for children’s refreshments. Different from sorbet and other ice creams which are made from cow’s milk, sorbets on the contrary is made of coconut milk.
Loved by children and preferred by mothers are the simple and less costly iced candy. Made from typical juice, or other flavourings such as buko, fruit salad and chocolate are sealed in an ice wrapper and froze.