For an ice cream shop that serves flavors inspired by travel, offering a unique one to commemorate Filipino American History Month in October would seemingly be an easy and unique enough move. But thirteen? That's thrilling.
And that's exactly what Wanderlust Creamery in Los Angeles is doing at all four of their locations. All October long, thirteen distinctly Filipino-inspired ice cream flavors have been offered there in honor of the Filipino American celebration. So think true Filipino flavors in the form of region-specific ingredients and styles. The whole list of flavors are as follows:
- Barako Coffee: Barako coffee is a very rare and treasured species of coffee that only grows in the
highlands of the mountain provinces of the Philippines.
- Sans Rival: Literally translates to "without rival" in French. Sans Rival is Filipino cake made of multiple layers of cashew meringue in between layers of buttercream. You can see why this is my favorite Filipino dessert.
- Kalamansi Pie: This is actually a take on the classic key lime pie, made with the distinctly Philippine limes.
- Latik: It's based on a Philippine ingredient called "latik," which is coconut milk boiled until coconut solids separate from coconut oil. The resulting curds then fry in the coconut oil until caramelized and brown.
- Kampangpangan Halo-Halo: This version of the famous Philippine dessert only has four main components of stewed bananas, macapuno, dulce de leche, and jackfruit, as opposed to the traditional 10 plus ingredients.
- Pandan Tres Leches: Pandan is a tropical screwpine leaf, dubbed the vanilla of Southeast Asia.
- Biko: Biko is a traditional Filipino sticky rice cake, made with coconut milk & brown sugar,
wrapped in banana leaves and steamed/baked.
- Green Mango: A sorbet using unripe green mangoes.
- Salted Duck Egg: Custard ice cream made with salted duck egg yolks and flecked with cured yolk. Might sound crazy at first, but salted duck eggs are a popular Philippine snack and this flavor played on the salty-sweet dynamic nicely.
- Queso de Bola: Flavored like aged edam cheese ice cream.
- Limoncito de Castilla: A sorbet made from candied wild lime berries, grown in Camarines Sur, Philippines.
- Sapin Sapin: A neapolitan of ube, jackfruit, and sticky rice ice cream.
- Brown Butter Pili Nut: Pili Nuts are tropical pine nuts that grow exclusively in the Bicol region of the Philippines. These nuts are similar to macadamia nuts with a Christmas tree/piney aftertaste.
Chef and co-founder of Wanderlust Creamery, Adrienne Borlongan, gave plenty of insight into the extraordinary process of procuring the ingredients for these incomparable flavors, whether it be sourcing them from relatives in the Philippines or even from their very backyards here stateside.
"A lot of these [ingredients] are actually sourced from my partner's aunt in the Philippines. She visits the U.S. a few times per year, so we ask her for things like a few pounds of pili nuts, things like that. Others, like the kalamansi, come from my mom's backyard. The pandan, tres leches, most of those things you can find here. The barako coffee, I had to source that through my aunt, which she put in a special request for from a specific farm in Batangas."
Of the lot, the salted duck flavor would be the most alarming to the unfamiliar, but in the Philippines the lauded snack is something that intrigued me more than it reviled. Having it in ice cream form is but another pedestal for the undefeated flavor dynamic of salty and sweet, to a more fascinating degree. This flavor, though, was derived from a current food trend in the Philippines, as Borlongan reveals.
"On my recent trip to the Philippines, I just noticed that on every restaurant menu, there's something with duck egg. There's a Malaysian potato chip brand that sells in the Philippines that's salted duck egg flavor. And whenever they get a shipment in, it always sells out so quickly, like within 24 hours. People line up for it. It's basically potato chips covered in powdered salted duck egg yolks. On ebay they sell it for $65 a bag!"
With such a wide array of unusual and all at once alluring flavors, one can expect a buzz for them. And as Borlongan tells us, the reception has been remarkable.
"We sold out on half of the flavors the first weekend. My employee told me yesterday that when she came to open the shop, there were already people waiting in line. With older Filipinos, however, it's a little different. They're looking for a little more something that is accurate to their nostalgia."
Wanderlust Creamery is offering these thirteen flavors on a limited run through the end of October only. So whether you're a Filipino looking to partake in the Filipino American History Month festivities through ice cream, or are simply just one to appreciate a host of uncommon yet delectable flavors, make sure to come by any of their four locations throughout Los Angeles to try them while they're available.