Jollibee and Red Ribbon in Carson

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Whether we have one, small difference or are polar opposites, we can agree on one thing: there is halo-halo in heaven.

Tagalog word of the day: Sarap.
Meaning, “delicious.”

There are only a few desserts I really enjoy and crave: French macarons and halo-halo. Of course, living in Dallas means you don’t get halo-halo often—actually, not at all—and now that I think about it, even French macarons aren’t super easy to come by. That’s probably one of the downsides of living in the Dallas suburbs—a certain lack of culture that is found in places like New York City or Los Angeles.

While I was in Los Angeles last year, one of the things I noticed was the incredible amount of culture and diversity throughout the city. I’ve always been fascinated by the beautiful mix of culture in Los Angeles, especially in places like J-Town/Little Tokyo. While I was in Los Angeles for a weekend with my dad a few weeks ago, I once again had a chance to catch a brief glance at the awkward melting pot of cultures that is LA. (I won’t even go into the bizarre pajama-wearing, sweatpants-loving culture I observed… that’s something for another day.)

Surprisingly, last year, I had no Filipino food—I didn’t even visit a place filled with Filipinos…aside from my aunt’s house—in Los Angeles, despite getting my dual citizenship at the Philippine Consulate! This time around, recommended by mom, my dad and I somehow fit time to make a trip to Carson to eat at… Jollibee.

That’s right.

Now, I think we should take a bit of time to admire halo-halo in all its glory. For those of you who don’t know, halo-halo (“mix-mix”)  is a Filipino dessert that’s meant to be eaten, well… mixed!

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On top is ube (purple yam) and langka (jackfruit) ice cream, accompanied with a chunk of flan. Inside are mung, garbanzo, and white beans, shaved ice, coconut, evaporated milk, colored gelatin, more jackfruit, and sweet banana. I’m sure any non-Filipino just winced at the thought of those ingredients mixed together. But I assure you, it tastes delicious.

I’m no expert in halo-halo—I’ve maybe tried it once or twice in Manila—but I enjoyed the Jollibee version, and that’s all that really matters, isn’t it? Hal0-halo will make your sweet taste buds explode with excitement, all while giving you a brain freeze if you try to indulge too quickly.

Aside from sitting with the only white person—my dad—in the restaurant (maybe the only other non-Tagalog speaker), I also looked way too excited for just fast food. That’s alright, though, since I made my secret escape to Red Ribbon next door!

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The most unfortunate parts of it all were that (1) there wasn’t enough time to eat a cake, (2) I couldn’t bring a whole cake home, (3) we couldn’t fit any more than the two bags filled with mamon and ensaymada in our hands, and (4) I didn’t have time to eat all the ube & butter mamon I could while in-store.

I guess the most shocking part of going to Red Ribbon was realizing there were more flavors of mamon than just the butter flavor I’m so used to. Not even my mom—who I FaceTime called inside the store—knew there are also ube and mocha flavors (both sarap)!

It pains me to not be able to eat more at Jollibee, Red Ribbon, and the Chowking next door (the largest Chinese fast-food chain in the Philippines), or get to explore the rest of Carson—a city with a large amount of Filipino immigrants. But, I guess there always has to be more for next time!

9 thoughts on “Jollibee and Red Ribbon in Carson

  1. Wow! Just wow!

    You know, I came here to the US when I was six… and you know the vocabulary of a 6 year old. What I’m doing now us reading blogs by Filipinos. And I tell you, I’ve learned a lot!!!

    If there’s a Filipino store nearby, you can buy the ingredients (they’re sold in bottles) and make your own. Mom bought this ice shaver, and man, we use it a lot in summer.

    Cheers, Joshua. You should read my blog. I write a lot about Philippine culture… like my latest entry!!

    • Hay naku, I love your blog but I’m always so busy and I can’t read it until later, haha! We don’t have any Filipino stores (or restaurants, for that matter), so it’s hard to find all of the ingredients—my grandma tried and apparently found ube ice cream but I don’t know where to look! 😛

      Happy Easter, Ate!

    • It’s so much fun! I wish I had a Jollibee in Dallas! Maybe I’ll have to move to California—or better yet, the Philippines! 😉

  2. So great that you are trying to learn Tagalog. I, unfortunately, never learned (due to a lot of reasons), but I’ve actually been very good about making sure that I still continue to read or listen in Norwegian (the language that I learned for 3 years at UCLA). I even bought an app on iPad which at least reminds and teaches me about a lot of conversational phrases. I’ll now look into italki and see if they have one for Norwegian.

    In regards to being a dual citizenship, I really want one and a lot of relatives back in the Philippines want me to get it too. (Fun fact: A U.S. citizen needs a visa to go to Israel, but a Philippine passport will allow you to enter Israel without a visa. It was because the Philippines saved/helped some Israeli soldiers a while ago.) However, I still dream about becoming a politician one day and having citizenship from another country is basically a bad thing politically. But I’ll still probably get one anyways when I go back to home to LA this summer.

    And I too love halo-halo =)

    • Any reason why you chose Norwegian? I’ve never met anyone who speaks it—let alone studied it! (It sounds very interesting though… it makes you unique!) If I were to go to UCLA, I’d love to take one of their Tagalog classes.

      You should definitely get your dual citizenship! If you were to be a big politician, you could always drop your Filipino citizenship—then again, it could be a bonus in an area with tons of Filipinos! 😉

      Mmm, I still dream about their halo-halo! 😀

      • I’ll try to make my learning-Norwegian story as short as possible, but it’ll still be long. Starting as an astrophysics major with political science minor, I only had time to do a language in my 2nd year. Only a few languages fit in between my math and physics courses and Norwegian met only twice a week for a total of 3 hours (while virtually all other languages met 4-5 times a week for a total of 4-6 hours). During my 2nd year, I switched from being an astrophysics major in the fall quarter, to a cognitive science major in my winter quarter, and then moved up my political science minor to a major (while dropping my cognitive science) and adding on a Scandinavian minor. As the 2nd year went along, my professor was really engaging which is why I added the minor that spring quarter of my 2nd year. During the summer, I took a Scandinavian culture course with the same professor, and I decided I wanted to take up the major. Unfortunately, they said I had to take a 2nd year of the language but didn’t offer it. Fortunately, the professor saw that I really wanted to do it and decided to offer it and so that 3rd year at UCLA, I was the only person in class so it basically like a one-to-one instruction which I was so lucky to get. I eventually graduated UCLA as only 1 of 2 people in the major; it was interesting to graduate in one of the biggest (pol. sci.) and the smallest (Scandinavian) majors.

        I actually picked UCLA over another university because they offered Tagalog, and I really wanted to learn my culture’s language. However, Scandinavian taught me more about my own culture than I thought possible. Because the cultures are so different, I began to appreciate being a Filipino more and more. Scandinavian people are stereotypically very curt, polite, and formal with each other while Filipinos are loud, forcefully hospitable, and consider everyone family in treating each other. (I’ll make a post further describing about what I like about the similarities and differences between them in the future just for you and others who always asked me that question (= . And you should try to learn Tagalog if you have the opportunity to.)

        Haha, let’s see if I end up in an area with a lot of Filipinos. If I stay in the MidWest, that’ll not be very likely. I’ll definitely miss all that Filipino food, including halo-halo.

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