Filipinos have a major sweet tooth, which I can totally get behind. Since I got here, I’ve been working on sampling the local cakes and sweets, so I thought I’d make an illustrated guide, in case you ever find yourself in the Philippines and in need of a serious sugar injection. Let’s call it “great things I ate and you didn’t”.
Ube (purple yam) is purple, so at first I thought it was the same as taro, which is also purple. Apparently it isn’t. It has a sweet and subtle flavour, which was especially subtle in this cake, which tasted much like creamy sponge cake.
My introduction to the Philippines as a kid was a book about bananas, which had in it a lot of stories from the Philippines, alongside the interesting trivia about how many types of different bananas there are here. Apparently, quite a lot. These little bananas are not the kind I’m used to back home, but they are roasted on the BBQ. I’m not sure they are really called banana-q but the name makes sense. They taste sort of like a cross between a banana and a plantain and are coated in something very sugary. This skewer originally had 2 on it, but I ate one.
Lovely buns with fluffy dough and a sweet and sticky coconut filling that’s more sweet than coconutty. This one may not look amazing in the pic, but I assure you I’d have eaten a whole bag of the stuff if it weren’t for the fact that I was already stuffed full of bananas on a stick.
Literally “mix mix”, I think, this is the local sundae and is the king of Philippine desserts. You can get other sundaes here, but I don’t think anything gets better than this. It’s got ice cream (I chose ube flavour), ube jam, pieces of leche flan, shredded coconut that tastes like coconut and feels like noodles, cornflakes, jelly, crushed ice and, perhaps surprisingly, sweetcorn. It might have other bits in it, for all I know. This one comes from Ice Castle, which is apparently the best one. I think they are all over the Philippines.
Sweetcorn, by the way, is eaten as a dessert here and so is avocado. A bit of an unusual context for me, but the sweetcorn kinda works.