A summer salutation

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Friday, April 11, 2014

IT'S that time of the year again when shaved ice and all things arctic are sought by people. The beach has been the perfect venue to take pleasure in this summer staple but if you don’t feel like going out to the blue sea yet (which is really unlikely), a hotel might do just fine, especially if the serving is not just one but five more takes at the bar.

Quest Hotel Conference Center Cebu welcomes summer with Halo-Halo Travelogue, the latest offering at the city hotel’s Pool Bar to transport every frost junkie to six different countries via their own version of this season’s signature dessert.

Say halo-halo to what else but the traditional Philippine halo-halo. Oozing with all the local goodness, the version beams as an “animated” output of at least 12 elements, starring the ever-present ube ice cream and leche flan.


A little trivia from Quest Hotel’s food and beverage manager Bojic Bacaltos: Halo-halo in Luzon is made mostly with preserved ingredients and is served in a glass. On the other hand, the Visayas and Mindanao usually consider fresh fruits and bowl servings. The latter is also common in other countries.

From the neighborhood is Malaysia’s ais kacang, a mishmash of syrup, milk and beans among others. The dessert, which is also famous in Singapore and Brunei, is labeled as air batu campur, translated as “mixed ice.”

Thailand’s nam kang sai is an impressive variation of familiar ingredients—nata de coco, jackfruit, coconut milk and the like. Oh what a delightful flavor!

Korea says annyeonghaseyo with patbingsu. The red beans, which are the main cast in the snack, are bowled together with fruit cocktail, mocha, green tea ice cream and condensed milk the way Koreans like it.

Nihao from China’s baobing. Mongo, grass jelly, taro and red beans top a mound of crushed ice base. Pour in condensed milk for a final sweet touch.

Konnichiwa from Japan’s kakigori, the simplest of all. Just add green tea sugar syrup and condensed milk for a minimalist halo-halo experience.

Meanwhile, to match the halo-halo fare is the umami burger at Quest Hotel’s Puso Bistro & Bar. Bacaltos shared that Quest Hotel is changing its buffet landscape into an interactive, conversational atmosphere wherein guests have the option to customize the burger according to their desired taste.

“Umami is known as the sixth flavor. Our umami burger therefore incorporates all flavors,” Bacaltos said.

Mold your patty from a selection of fish, chicken, beef and pork with 30 or 50 percent fat. Adorn your piece with a spread of garnishes and condiments. The burgers come in small portions to make room for other burger options at the table.

Bacaltos mentioned that the series of exciting changes will lead to “something” by June. Make summer a food trip with Quest Hotel’s summer salutation.

Quest Hotel’s halo-halo and umami burger discoveries are available daily from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and from 6 to 10 p.m. Brain freeze or shameless calories, anyone?

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on April 12, 2014.


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