Must-Try: Quirky Ice Cream Treats in the Philippines

Photo Credit: Drowning Equilibriums

It’s been exceptionally sunny these past few months, and it’s natural to drink your way through several bottles of water or crave for ice-cold refreshments all the time! Classic desserts such as halo-halo, sago’t gulaman, and even good ol’ dirty ice cream are in demand. Up for something different? Here are quirky ice cream treats all over the Philippines that you probably never knew existed, even though they’re perfect for summer:

Sili (Red Chili)

Photo Credit: Appetizing Adventure

Can you imagine piling curry on top of a cheesecake, or garnishing a honey-drizzled pancake with kimchi? Spicy and sweet are two flavor profiles that hardly ever go together, but with some culinary wizardry, it can work: sili ice cream is one of the bestselling menu items at 1st Colonial Grill, wich has its main branch at Albay. You can choose from three levels, keeping a glass of milk handy in case it’s too much to handle. This established restaurant also serves other unusual flavors, including cucumber, salabat (ginger tea with honey), and tinutong (sticky rice dessert with toasted mung beans).

1st Colonial Grill
Address: Main Branch – Luis San Los Baños Avenue, Legazpi Port District, Legazpi City, Albay

Durian with Crocodile Eggs

Photo Credit: Davao Food Trips

Durian ice cream has caused a few raised eyebrows because of the fruit’s notorious strong smell, but here’s something even more unusual: durian crocodile egg ice cream from Sweet Spot Artisan Ice Cream in Davao, where the fruit grows abundantly. Ice cream here is made the classic way, with sugar and condensed milk, except that crocodile eggs are used instead of chicken eggs, resulting in a denser, creamier concoction balanced out by tangy durian bits.

Sweet Spot Artisan Ice Cream
Address: Davao Crocodile Park River, Diversion Road, Maa, Davao City, Davao del Sur

Malunggay (Horseradish)

Photo Credit: On My Bookshelf

Malunggay is a medicinal herb that belongs in the realm of warm, comforting soups, freshly brewed tea when you’re sick, or supplements touted as natural cures. In Bohol Bee Farm, an organic farm that cultivates bees, malunggay is put to another use entirely. It’s reincarnated as ice cream with a telltale pale green color, set atop a cassava cone–and people love buying it, although the malunggay flavoring has been described as subtle. The more adventurous can go for tomato ice cream, which you’ll be hard-pressed to find anywhere else!

Bohol Bee Farm
Address: Dao, Panglao Island, Bohol


Photo Credit: Trip Ko ‘To

Inside the walled city of Intramuros, the past comes to life–but there’s innovation bubbling in the kitchens of Ilustrado, an old-world restaurant that’s often on the itinerary of travelers and history-seekers. A homage to the Filipino spirit of times past, it fittingly has a dessert that’s based on the country’s national flower: sampaguita ice cream. Delicate with a characteristic fragrance, it’s a breath freshener, the taste heavily influenced by vanilla beans. The owners confided that they tried other flowers such as ylang-ylang, rosal, santan, but sampaguita won out as the most appealing.

Ilustrado Restaurant
Address: Main Branch – 744, General Luna St, Intramuros, Manila

Ice Cream Palette

Photo Credit: Drowning Equilibriums

After such an oddball selection of flavors, it might be refreshing to venture into more normal ground. Hill Station in Baguio City serves homemade ice cream that’s creative but not outlandish: Benguet Coffee with Choco Chips, Vanilla Cinnamon, Salted Caramel, Mango Rum, Dark Chocolate with Cayenne, and Green Tea. But what lands it a spot in this list is you can devour them in an usual manner–five sampler scoops laid on a palette, the colors flowing together when slightly melted to create an edible work of art in itself.

Hill Station
Address: Casa Vallejo, Upper Session Rd, Baguio, 2600 Benguet


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