Of all the frozen treats that exist, none might be more multifaceted than halo-halo, the Filipino delight that combines shaved ice, a motley of beans, tapioca, flattened young rice, a lump of purple yam, and evaporated milk. So when we saw it on the menu of new East Village Filipino restaurant Sa Aming Nayon (201 First Avenue, 212-388-0152), there was only one course of action: Make room for dessert and order this rainbow sweet.
The restaurant opened a little over three weeks ago, and is already doing a brisk business dishing up home-style grub (also home-style — that is, somewhat lackadaisical — service). Not everything on the menu is a winner, but the halo-halo definitely is. For $5.50, you get a large stout coupe (big enough for two to share, for sure) filled with all the ingredients described above: The ice and rice add a textural crunch, the beans a smooth sweetness, palm seeds and jackfruit some fruity goodness; the ube (purple yam) brings a flash of vibrant color and chewy texture. And this is all topped with ice cream and a square of leche flan, because why stop when you’re ahead?
It’s sort of the kitchen-sink soup of desserts, a hodgepodge of flavors and textures, but is neither overly sweet nor too filling. It cools and sates, and is the perfect balance of flavors. Simply put, when the sun’s a-shining, go out and seek this dessert.