Filipino dessert will always hold a special place in our hearts. No matter what season or occasion, Pinoys will always find the right thing to satisfy our sweet tooth. During hot summer days, we cool down with halo-halo and sorbetes. For classic merienda treats, we turn to suman and kakanin. And of course, classic Filipino flavors like ube, mangga, and keso can be found in tons of dishes.
As modern and fusion food are getting more and more popular with local restaurants, people are finding new ways to turn these classic Filipino dishes into something new. They may be different from the dessert we grew up with, but they’re just as special! Here are just some places that have put new twists on some old favorites.
Image: Locavore Kitchen & Drinks
This restaurant boasts of locally grown and produced dishes – hence the name, “Locavore,” which is a word used to describe someone who is conscious of eating locally made food. They proudly support local farmers and ingredients, and even their beverages feature locally brewed beers! Locavore Kitchen and Drinks is known for their unique take on classic Filipino dishes made with quality ingredients. When it comes to dessert, their Sizzling Pandesal Pudding (P250) is a must try! Locavore does their own Pinoy take on the well-loved bread pudding by using none other than pandesal, and also includes custard, cheese, salted egg dulce de leche, and homemade mantikado ice cream, all served on a sizzling plate. The contrast between the sizzling sauce, warm pandesal pudding, and homemade ice cream will surely make for an unforgettable sweet treat!
Image: Sarsa Kitchen + Bar
With six branches all over Metro Manila, Sarsa is bringing contemporary Filipino-Negrense food to the people. Their dishes are inspired by many Philippine regions, especially traditional Filipino and Negrense food. If you’ve been dying to get a taste of the flavors of Negros but don’t know where to go, give Sarsa a try! While many of their cooking methods remain traditional, they aren’t afraid to put some spins on classic dishes. Take their Piaya Ice Cream Sandwich (P145) for example. Many of us are used to having this popular Bacolod delicacy on its own, but at Sarsa, it is served with salted muscovado caramel sauce, and your choice of vanilla or ube ice cream. So, we say ditch your usual chocolate chip cookie and go for this locally-inspired ice cream sandwich instead!
Image: Neil's Kitchen
Neil’s Kitchen is a family-favorite restaurant in Alabang, popular for their Filipino dishes by Chef Neil Ramos. After tasting their delicious, hearty meals, you might want to give their desserts a try! The Fried Suman, Mangga, and Chocunt (P250) by Neil’s Kitchen seems like the sweet combination we could only dream of as children. The sticky rice is fried and topped with a big piece mango jelly, tons of crumbled Chocnut, and a drizzle of coconut cream. A classic kakanin dish made even better with refreshing mango and a childhood chocolate treat – this is the merienda level-up we never knew we needed!
Chelsea Kitchen’s Ube Pancake
Image: Chelsea's Kitchen
Located at the ground floor of SM Megamall’s Fashion Hall, Chelsea Kitchen is a good spot for busy shoppers to take a break and enjoy comfort food. They offer a wide range of dishes that are good for sharing, with their pasta and pizza being a popular choice. For a flavorful dessert, their Ube Pancake (P250) is a must-try! It’s a delicious fusion between the western dish and Filipino flavors, topped with coconut cream, tapioca pearls, and crispy coconut strings. The extra drizzle of ube sauce on top gives the pancakes that unmistakable purple color Filipinos have loved for years now. Chelsea Kitchen’s soft and fluffy pancakes look like a wonderful dessert, but we wouldn’t blame you if you were tempted to devour these for breakfast, too!
Image: 7107 Culture + Cuisine
7107 Culture + Cuisine aims to promote the beauty and uniqueness of local culture through their array of Filipino dishes. Through their restaurant, they hope to cultivate a sense of Pinoy pride with food that Filipinos of all ages can enjoy! Based in Bonifacio Global City, 7107 Culture + Cuisine is a collaboration between Treston International College and MASE Investments Inc., and serves as a training ground for students of Treston. The Molten Pastillas Lava Cake (P185) is their take on lava cake which involves a molten pastillas sauce in the center, a chocolate and siling labuyo drizzle, and is served with vanilla ice cream on the side. Now, just imagine capping off a wonderful meal with that creamy pastillas and chocolate goodness!
Image: Sentro 1771
Sentro 1771 is well-known for their modern and sophisticated Filipino cuisine. The atmosphere is a nice balance between casual and formal that is great for get-togethers with family or friends. While they are most recognized for the crowd favorite Sinigang na Corned Beef, Sentro 1771 also offers some unique dessert options. A popular choice is the Keso Flan (P220), which is an unassuming cheesecake presented to look like leche flan, with a side of queso de bola and red egg. Sentro 1771 describes the dessert as “parang bibingka na hindi!” To really get the full experience, make sure to get a bite of each component all together. The Keso Flan combines salty and sweet flavor profiles in one simple dessert that will leave you wanting more!
Image: The Baker's Table
If it’s a nostalgic dessert you’re looking for, this bakery in Maginhawa is the place for you! The Baker’s Table makes nostalgia-inducing cakes that take inspiration from local candies and flavors that take us back to our childhood. Imagine walking in to the store and being greeted by the sights and smells of Flat Tops, Butterball, and even Tang orange juice! One of their best- selling cakes is the HawHaw Cake (P1,050/whole; P110/slice), inspired by the powdery, milky candy. It’s The Baker’s Table’s version of a tres leches vanilla cake, layered with cream cheese and melted HawHaw frosting. They top it off with a light blue icing, reminiscent of the HawHaw candy wrapper. It’s a treat for candy and cake lovers alike!
Garage 88’s Black Piggy Back Ride
Garage 88 is a restaurant with a rugged feel, serving great bar chow for a chill night out with friends. They take pride in their flame-grilled burgers, but they have a lot on their menu to offer from appetizers and salads to all-day breakfast. One thing you can’t miss at Garage 88 is their Black Piggy Back Ride (P188) – dark chocolate-covered chicharon, topped with ground Chocnut and chocolate sauce, and vanilla ice cream on the side. Who would’ve thought you would want chicharon for dessert? With all its elements, the Black Piggy Back Ride is unique but distinctly Pinoy – and definitely good for sharing. This sweet and savory combo from Garage 88 might just surprise you!
Image: Sebastian's Ice Cream
Over the past few years, Sebastian’s Ice Cream has become one of the most well-known artisanal ice cream spots in Manila – and for a good reason. They come up with flavors you’d never imagine belong in an ice cream scoop, and they make it work! Many of their flavors are inspired by Filipinos delicacies, like Kuchinta, Leche Flan Con Kape, and even Green Mango. If you can’t decide on just one flavor, or you’re looking for an indulgent dessert to share, try their Fiesta Sorbetes Sundae (P375)! This festive treat comes with an ube brownie and three scoops of ice cream, topped with ube fudge, latik crunch, ube whipped cream, and a maraschino cherry. This Fiesta Sorbetes Sundae is one of the biggest step-ups we’ve seen from the usual dirty ice cream, and we’re not complaining!
Kanin Club’s Turon KC
Image: Charlene Hugh on Instagram
Kanin Club is known for serving Filipino comfort food, which is made clear by their name – how can one get through a Filipino meal without rice, right? The restaurant’s interior is decorated with paintings and wooden furniture that give the place an old Manila feel. With delicious Pinoy meals and a home-y atmosphere, Kanin Club gives comfort to guests of all kind! Here, the famous dessert is their original Turon KC (P100/regular; P135/a la mode) – bananas, ube jam, sweet coconut strips, and monggo beans wrapped in a rice paper roll, deep fried and drizzled with caramelized sugar. This isn’t just your regular banana turon, it’s pretty much halo-halo in a wrap! If you want to take your dessert to the next level, you can choose to top it off with a scoop of ice cream. No wonder Kanin Club’s turon is such a popular dessert choice!