My final working lunch while in the Philippines took place in one of my company's customer cafeterias. The food itself was unremarkable and mostly westernized. The highlight of the meal actually came afterward. Earlier in my visit, I had mentioned that I wanted to try Filipino "dirty" ice cream, especially the cheese flavor. Of course it isn't actually dirty. The name refers to home made ice cream that's sold by street vendors from carts (some are push, some motorized). At the end of our meal. Eric spotted an ice cream vendor making his way around the factory cafeteria and summoned him over.
The vendor had a selection of mango, cheese, and purple yam ice creams, available in either cup or cone. Eric and Alex ordered me a cone of cheese ice cream and a bowl with the remaining flavors. The vendor must have misunderstood because he handed me my cone and then proceeded to make up three full bowls containing several small scoops of each of the flavor - all for less than $1 US.
First up was the cheese ice cream. Not knowing anything about the production of cheese ice cream, I had assumed that they somehow made it cheese flavored by incorporating a soft cheese into the original mix while cooking it. I was completely wrong. Filipino cheese ice cream is basically vanilla ice cream with chunks of cheddar cheese mixed in! It sounds like a strange combination, but something about the sweetness of the ice cream and the saltiness of the cheddar cheese come together to produce something that's quite tasty. It should be easy enough to make at home with my ice cream maker. I'm planning to try it out on unsuspecting dinner guests at some point.
The second ice cream I tasted was the mango. As expected, it tasted just like mango. Filipino dirty ice cream is a lot less creamy than most American ice creams, probably due to the use of less milk/cream and more water. It's not quite as icy as sherbet or sorbet, though.
The final ice cream was the purple yam flavor. It was bright purple in color, and had didn't have a particularly strong yam flavor. It was sweet, but I just couldn't detect any more than the subtlest of yam flavor. It was still good, though, and I'd definitely try it again. In fact, I'd try any of the flavors again as they were all good, and didn't leave me with that heavy feeling you get from eating creamier ice cream.