Who doesn’t love a good dessert? Sweet treats and snacks do fulfill our cravings and makes some of us incredibly happy. In Asian cuisine, confectionaries are popular and from the young to the elderly who have a sweet tooth, every region has its own sweets selection, and the Philippines is no exception. Here are five Filipino desserts you can find in Macau to satiate that sweet tooth.
The city centre–between Rua da Felicidade and St. Lawrence district–is the to-go area to get the best Filipino goodies, including drugstore related but also food, both savoury and sweet. One of the best known is Anak Philippine, which has now opened a second brand dedicated to traditional sweets and desserts! It’s located in the same street as the first shop.
(See featured image)
May we introduce the king of Philippine desserts: his cool and refreshing beverage is a perfect dessert for summer. Halo-Halo (which translates to “mix-mix” in English) has a varied combination, but the general ingredients consist of sweet beans, nata de coco (coconut gelatin) or pandan–jelly with a specific local Filipino leaf– sweet corn, banana, jackfruit, sweet potato, leche flan (egg pudding) and boba (sweet pearls) over a layer of shaved ice, drizzled with a generous amount of evaporated milk and finally topped with ube (purple yam) ice cream. Snap your photos quickly before eating because to fully enjoy halo-halo you literally have to use your spoon and mix it all together to get the most out of each ingredient.
This is one of the most well-known and popular Filipino desserts! Almost as soft as a pudding but with a cake-like consistency, cassava cake is mainly made with cassava, an ingredient that comes from a root–which can be poisonous, so it’s usually boiled before being cooked to ensure it’s safe and edible–and sugar cane. Traditional recipes also include coconut–which gives it a crunchy sensation–palm seed and salt to balance its sweetness. Cassava cake is quite popular and very sought-after in Macau, especially by Filipinos looking to feel closer to home.
“Leche” is milk in Tagalog–as well as in Spanish. Leche flan is a kind of pudding made mostly with condensed milk (that’s why it’s called “leche”), sugar and caramel syrup. Although it can look like your everyday pudding, this really does taste like homemade and makes up for a perfect dessert to take to a group dinner!
Leche flan is super sweet and it might not be ideal for people craving for less sugary things, but why not share it amongst friends and family? With a very soft consistency and fresh caramel taste, this is a must-try in Macau, directly from the Philippines. Also available at Anak.
A Filipino party would most definitely not be complete without this eye-catching green and white mixture made with shredded young coconut, green jelly cubes, fresh coconut water, cream, and pandan flavoring. Sometimes it also comes with added tapioca pearls for an extra burst of texture. With a refreshing and creamy taste, it’s hard to stop eating this satisfying sweet treat. We advise you to grab a bowl or a glass of this greenish delight at Filipino gatherings and parties because it’ll be devoured in minutes!
Made of glutinous rice flour, it’s a dessert mostly sought-after by children and that’s why it has such bright colors. Sapin sapin is topped with coconut and has a jelly consistency, almost playful even. The coconut gives this dish a crunchy feeling. Eaten as a snack and an after meal delicacy, this colorful dessert can be bought in some places in Rua da Felicidade area, known for being a place with lots of restaurants and shops especializing in Filipino food.
Puto (Steamed rice cake)
In Asia, they say “rice is life”, and Filipinos have incorporated rice into all meals and all course, this includes desserts and snacks. This is where puto comes in. Known to many as a Filipino rice cake or rice muffin, it is made from rice flour, eggs, a dash of salt, sugar, evaporated milk, and grated cheddar cheese on top, which is all placed in muffin molds and steamed. This snack comes in all types of colors and can be found in most Filipino parties and fiestas. Believe it or not, this bite-sized snack can be partnered with just about anything, but people commonly dip it in coffee or add a custard topping to transform it into a “puto flan”. There’s so much more to this small modest steamed rice cake than meets the eye.
Once more, a ube dessert! If you’re a true fan of this fruit, don’t hesitate to try this wonderful cheesecake. If you’ve adhered to the cheesecake craze already but still haven’t tasted this one, it’s time to. Made like a regular cheesecake, it’s topped with a ube paste which is sweet but also fresh enough to eat the whole slice and maybe ask for a second one. This is also a great option to take to a friends dinner, introducing yet another new recipe to your bunch.
Filipino Assorted Sweets
Cravings are sometimes hard to control and you never know when your need for sugar is going to hit and with these Filipino assorted sweets, you can have your afternoon tea any time of the day. The most addictive of these sweet treats is A&A’s sweets and pastries, which you are guaranteed to never get tired of–chocolate crinkles, soft fudgy chocolate cookies enclosed with confectioneries but mostly powdered sugar, that come in small sizes to make you feel less guilty. But wait there’s more! They also have coconut macaroons and boat tarts–both with a creamy and gooey texture that is great with hot tea and especially coffee.
Sweet Dreams 40C Rua do Almirante Costa Cabral, +853 2852 9491, www.facebook.com/sweetdreamsbyrocha
This article was originally written by Hannah Estenillo in 2018 and updated by Leonor Sá Machado in June 2020.