Thursday, June 29, 2017

DINING | Aleng Taleng's Halo-Halo in Pagsanjan, Laguna

halfwhiteboy - aleng taleng's halo-halo 01
Tempting, isn't it?

It was my first time trying the famous Aleng Taleng's Halo-Halo in the town of Pagsanjan, Laguna but apparently I had no idea just how popular it is. To say that the place was packed when we arrived at half past three in the afternoon is probably an understatement. It was chaotic!

Normally I would have bailed out when faced with a long wait at a restaurant but we thought, since we were already there and it's not everyday that we get to drive to Pagsanjan, we might as well brave the storm.

halfwhiteboy - aleng taleng's halo-halo 02
Pure chaos.

halfwhiteboy - aleng taleng's halo-halo 03
Full house. And it doesn't get any fuller than this.

We were on our own in finding a table. Good thing we chanced upon a group that was about to leave, so we immediately secured our spot. But getting the attention of any waiter also proved to be a challenge. I've read many complaints about their service online and true enough we waited at least 30 minutes for our order to arrive--to think it was only halo-halo and water. So in anticipation of another long wait, we already asked for the bill long before we were finished with our treat.

A popular Filipino dessert, halo-halo is a mix of all sorts of ingredients--the most common of which include sweetened plantains, sweet potato, beans, sago, gulaman, nata de coco, kaong, purple yam, and macapuno--topped with shaved ice, evaporated milk, leche flan, and ice cream. Aleng Taleng's, however, eschews the leche flan and ice cream for a rather unique choice of topping: sweetened kundol (winter melon).

halfwhiteboy - aleng taleng's halo-halo 04
Kundol as topping instead of leche flan and ice cream.

The halo-halo (around Php 110) was really good. It wasn't too sweet and I like the shaved ice's texture because it melted easily and allowed for a more efficient mixing. I hate it when there are bits of ice that just won't melt (like the halo-halo from one popular fast food chain) because I always end up spitting them and making a disgusting mess.

I didn't bother identifying all the ingredients but there was none of the likes of sago, gulaman, and nata. Aleng Taleng's was more into native ingredients, which to me is a good move. And of course, the sweetened kundol topping was a delight.

Considering that they've been around since 1933, then they must be doing it right, with their halo-halo transcending the restaurant's chaotic ambiance and poor service.

They also serve hot meals and snacks but we were there plainly and simply for the halo-halo. Besides, I didn't want to subject myself to the potential agony of an even longer wait and mixed up orders. But who knows, maybe the place isn't as packed now that summer's over.

Assuming you're already in Pagsanjan along the main highway, once you reach the church, turn right towards a bridge. At the end of it is Aleng Taleng's Halo-Halo.

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