A Dozen Uniquely Filipino Ice Cream Flavors (Plus Where You Can Try Them)

If you think ube ice cream is exotic, I got news for you. Compared to what our local sorbeteros have churned out, that purple stuff appears rather, well, vanilla in comparison. And no, I’m not even talking about “dirty” ice cream, which isn’t actually dirty, by the way.

 

When you live in a tropical country, ice cream can be a cheap and delightful fix for the heat. And thanks to the rise of several local artisans in the industry (and the public’s enthusiastic reception to their creations), we Filipinos are spoilt for choice.

 

So, the next time you want something creamy, cold, and oh-so-different, seek out any of the following distinctly Filipino flavors below:

 

1. Spanish Bread.

 
1-Spanish Bread

Image Credit: yummy.ph

 

Remember that fragrant log-shaped bread from your childhood? The one filled with butter and sugar, then rolled in bread crumbs? Well, someone figured out how to turn it into ice cream.

 

Merry Moo’s take on this merienda staple is made out of actual Spanish bread from a local panaderia. According to founder Kelvin Ngo, they blitz the bread before infusing a sweet cream base with it. Afterwards, they strain the mixture into an ice cream maker to churn. Finally, a few chunks are added. Yum!

 

Get it here: Merry Moo has branches at SM Aura, SM Megamall, and The Podium. You can also visit them at the weekend Salcedo and Legazpi markets.

 

2. White Chocolate Sampaguita.

  2-White Chocolate Sampaguita  

If you like fragrant food, you’ll love Papa Diddi’s White Summer Lei ice cream. Here, Davao white chocolate joins forces with the humble sampaguita. The result? A creamy, aromatic concoction that will delight your nose as well as your taste buds.

 

Get it here: Papa Diddi’s Handcrafted Ice Cream, 68 Maginhawa Street, Sikatuna Village, Quezon City.

 

3. Squash Blossoms.

  3-Squash Blossoms  

Exasperated at getting your kids to eat more veggies? Well, this particular flavor ought to make everyone happy.

 

The local pumpkin or kalabasa infuses this ice cream, and a hit of cinnamon complements its custard-like texture. Eating vegetables has never been this indulgent.

 

Get it here: Papa Diddi’s Handcrafted Ice Cream, 68 Maginhawa Street, Sikatuna Village, Quezon City.

 

4. Butterfly Pea.

  4-Butterfly Pea  

Have you ever heard of the Butterfly Pea flower? It’s this magical flower that you steep in hot water to make a brilliant blue tea. What makes it really special, though, is that adding a bit of lemon or calamansi turns it purple. Wicked.

 

Of course, you can’t quite transform the color when it’s in ice cream form, but the subtle tea flavor should make up for it.

 

Get it here: Papa Diddi’s Handcrafted Ice Cream, 68 Maginhawa Street, Sikatuna Village, Quezon City.

 

5. Bicol Express.

  5-Bicol Express

Are you an adventurous eater? You may enjoy this arguably savory ice cream then!

 

Sangkap’s iteration of the Bicolano classic has all the dish’s essential elements: sweet, spicy coconut milk and chili pepper.

 

Get it here: Sangkap Filipino Restaurant, Portico, Captain Javier Street, Oranbo, Pasig 1605

 

6. Calamansi and Candied Pili.

  6-Calamansi and Candied Pili  

Speaking of Bicolano specialties, Fog City Creamery’s ode to the region’s most famous nut might be a milder alternative. Crunchy, buttery pili takes centerstage here, with calamansi’s citrusy notes providing a deliciously tart contrast.

 

Get it here: Fog City Creamery

 

7. Lechon.

  7-Lechon  

And you thought a suckling pig on its own was decadent, eh?

 

Surprisingly, whoever came up with this was on to something. Apparently, it actually works! The sweet and salty combo, along with the crispy lechon skin on top (!), makes this really special.

 

Get it here: Azon’s Boneless Lechon Matina, Mcarthur Highway, Davao City

 

8. Salted Egg.

  8-Salted Egg  

Clearly, salted egg remains ubiquitous these days. So, if you’re craving for some, a Kapampangan restaurant’s got you covered.

 

Apag Marale’s Ebun Malat ice cream is made with genuine salted eggs, so you can expect that distinct sweet-salty creaminess in every bite.

 

Get it here: Apag Marangle Restaurant, Space 16 & 17, Park Square, Ayala Center, San Lorenzo, Makati City

 

9. Taho Gelato.

  9-Taho Gelato  

This beloved Filipino snack is comprised of silken tofu, arnibal syrup, and sago pearls. It’s usually consumed hot, but its smooth texture also lends itself really well to gelato. Talk about fusion cuisine.

 

As a bonus, this dessert is also gluten-free and vegan.

 

Get it here: Bono Gelato, SM Megamall

 

10. Green Mango and Bagoong.

  10-Green Mango and Bagoong  

Say what? Oh, I kid you not. Maverick ice cream artisan Ian Carandang actually makes this typically savory combination work as a sweet, frozen treat.

 

The tart green mangoes are present in sorbet form, and are topped with a generous helping of bagoong or shrimp paste. As with its original iteration, the salty-tart medley of flavors remains utterly delightful here, if a little unusual.

 

Get it here: Sebastian’s Ice Cream, 5th floor, The Podium, 12 ADB Avenue, Ortigas Center, Quezon City, Philippines 1550

 

11. Champorado and Dilis.

  11-Champorado and Dilis  

So, here’s another sweet-savory pairing. Sweet champorado (chocolate rice pudding) is traditionally enjoyed with dilis (dried anchovies). (Not so) surprisingly, the combo also translates beautifully into ice cream form. The salty, crunchy fish even provides textural contrast for the nubby, chocolatey cream.

 

Get it here: Sebastian’s Ice Cream, 5th floor, The Podium, 12 ADB Avenue, Ortigas Center, Quezon City, Philippines 1550

 

12. Red Horse Beer.

  12-Red Horse Beer  

Just when you thought you’d seen it all, this one comes along and really takes the cake.

 

Made with a custard base, eggs, and spiked with lashings of local Red Horse beer, this is the kind of ice cream you shouldn’t feed kids. But if you like consuming your dessert and night cap all at once (and are of legal age), feel free to dig right in.

 

Get it here: JMJ Foodmart, Northern Samar

 

Obsessing over ice cream seems trivial, sure. However, the presence of variants that make use of local flavors and ingredients and the encouraging response to them does have significance.

 

For one, this means that after decades of fixating over foreign food concepts, we Filipinos are finally beginning to appreciate our own culinary heritage. Secondly, this trend can only be good for our local farmers and purveyors. Filipino ice cream flavors are clearly here to stay, and the demand for fresh, quality ingredients could hopefully help provide them with livelihood.

 

Right, see you at the ice cream parlor then.

Serena Estrella

Serena joined Remit back in 2016, and has tormented its Marketing Head constantly ever since. To get through the rigors of writing about grave concerns like exchange rates, citizenship requirements, and PH-AU news, she likes to blast Mozart, Vivaldi, ONE OK ROCK, and Shigeru Umebayashi in the background. She does a mean Merida voice in her spare time too.

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