The essential ingredients of halo-halo are shaved ice, evaporated milk, shredded coconut and sweetened red mung beans. Other ingredients that are often added include sliced plantains, purple yam, coconut gelatin, palm fruit and jackfruit.
Halo-halo means "mix-mix" in Tagalog. This dessert is essentially a mix of many different ingredients that can vary greatly according to availability and personal preference. It is intended as a light, refreshing dessert to be eaten in hot weather. As such, It is always served cold. Usually, the dessert is made by layering ingredients in a single-portion bowl.
First, the sweet ingredients are added. These can include fresh fruits, such as mango, lychee or strawberries. Halo-halo almost always includes sweet red mung beans and other starchy, gelatinous foods like plantains, cubes of purple yam, pounded dried rice and tapioca pearls. One recipe detailed on Serious Eats even includes Captain Crunch cereal. There is no strict limit on how many different ingredients should be included in the halo-halo.
Once these are added, the sweet fruit mixture is covered in shaved ice and evaporated milk is drizzled on top. The dessert is often topped with ice cream. Halo-halo is best enjoyed by mixing all the ingredients together before eating it with a spoon.