Icy Treats in Queens: Halo Halo in Woodside at Red Ribbon Bakery
Editor's note: It's still August, height of the season for frozen treats. We asked our Queens expert Sara Markel-Gonzalez to track down one great frozen sweet for every day this week.
Halo halo! An icy dessert with all sorts of sweet tidbits, this time from the Philippines. Halo halo is typically shaved ice that is placed in a cup or bowl that has already been filled with various fresh or jellied fruits and beans, then topped with ice cream. Red Ribbon Bakery, an international chain, is known for their cakes, but when I passed by the other day, I noticed that every single person there was either eating or carrying out halo halo. So of course, I had to have one, too.
The halo halo had ice cream, in this case fresh mango, and a piece of leche flan. The sliver of flan was dense but not too eggy or too sweet. The ice was finely shaved, and the long plastic spoon helps you mix all the way down to the bottom—for the soft red and white beans; the bright red palm fruit, chewy and sweet; the thin strips of nata de coco; and bits of ube (purple sweet potato). As the ice cream melted, chunks of frozen mango were released into the liquid, adding a fruity freshness and sweetness to the crunchy ice mixture. Perfect for summer, but you have to work to get all of the goodies, mixing them up (halo means mix in Tagalog) with the ice. Another great treat, full of texture and flavor, that's fun to say and fun to eat.
Red Ribbon Bakeshop
65-02 Roosevelt Avenue, Woodside, Queens NY (map)