The occasional showers are suggesting that summer is about to end, and that rainy season is just around the corner here in the Philippines. But before we say goodbye to beach parties and the extra-scorching heat of the sun, I made it a point to make one last hurrah and experience one of the best things that I love about summer – the liberty to go all out on chilled desserts!

One of the first things that come to mind when you’re saying “dessert” and “summer” in the same sentence is the well-loved Pinoy Halo-Halo. This is so popular here in the Philippines, that we have lots of versions of it already, with several restaurants coming up with their own special Halo-Halo varieties. With this much competition, it’s a challenge to stand-out, and I can only count with my fingers the ones that are most memorable to me.
Just recently, another entry was added to my “Must-try Halo-Halos” List. I saw one of my friends rave over Snapchat about how she’s not a huge Halo-Halo fan yet she can’t get over how good the Kuya J Halo-Halo Espesyal was! With my curiosity tickled, I knew I had to get a taste of the Kuya J Halo-Halo Espesyal.

I visited the SM Manila branch of Kuya J with a few of my blogger-buddies to finally satisfy the curiosity of my taste buds. The best part of the meal? Kuya J’s endorser, Jericho Rosales himself, was also in the restaurant to accommodate and entertain us while we have our lunch. What can be a better appetizer than Echo himself singing to you while you’re waiting for your food?

To prepare us for our much-awaited dessert, we first had a full meal made up of Kuya J’s specialties and best-sellers. I’ve already had a taste of Kuya J’s dishes several times before (you can check out my review here), and I’m glad that they’re consistent with the quality and taste. Here are what we had for lunch:

Danggit Rice
Kuya J Lumpia Presko
Crispy Catfish 
Kuya J Crispy Pata
Kuya J Grilled Scallops
Kuya J Sisig
Kuya J Kare-Kare
The best part of that meal was saved for last. After all the crispy pata, rice, and Kare-Kare that I hungrily gobbled-up, I thought I can’t eat more and yet, when the Halo-Halo came in, my eyes widened and apparently so did my stomach!

One look at the Kuya J Halo-Halo Espesyal and you can already tell that this is different from the regular Halo-Halos that you might know. The shaved ice was paper-thin, and appears to be cotton-like in smoothness. Most of the ingredients were also found at the bottom of the glass. It looked so simple yet also gives an impression that you’re in for a treat!
After digging through with my spoon and having a taste of the shaved ice, I knew what makes the Kuya J Halo-Halo Espesyal different. The shaved ice is not just plain water, but is made of rich, creamy milk that has that melt-in-your-mouth consistency. Unlike other Halo-Halos where you have to rely on the other ingredients for flavor, the ice in Kuya J’s Halo-Halo Espesyal is already flavorful on its own! Pretty much like the Korean Bingsu.

Other people prefer to eat their Halo-Halo as it is served – that is working from the toppings, then digging their way to the bottom. My style is to mix and stir the whole thing up until I get one delightful mixture of ice, fruits, and other ingredients (it is after all, called “Halo-Halo” for a reason). The array of meaty macapuno strings, nata de coco, caramelized saba, ube jam, and glazed langka found at the bottom of the glass were also served in a generously. To top it all off, you have a thick chunk of homemade leche flan, and crunchy corn flakes on top of the heap. As if this wasn’t good enough, the whole thing was also drizzled with ube ice cream!

I finished a whole glass by myself, although one order may also be good for sharing if you don’t have an appetite like mine.
All this goodness for only Php 99.00! Honestly I was expecting it to be more expensive because other Halo-Halos I know were already priced somewhere near Php 100.00. But hey, I’m not complaining!
If you haven’t been to Kuya J (I strongly suggest that you give it a shot), you can know more about their specialty dishes and desserts by following them on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

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