The tall glass, filled to the brim with shaved ice and sweet corn, towered over the table. Perched regally atop was a lavish scoop of queso ice cream.

I burrowed through the ice with a spoon, attempting to stir the corn and ice together. I hesitated at first, worrying about the likelihood of a mess. Ice strewn all over the place. Spilled milk and melted ice cream on the once spotless table. After a few nervous, curt strokes, I realized my timidity was pointless. The mess I feared was inevitable. I poured more milk and dug deeper into the ice. I held the glass steadily with my left hand and stirred unrelentingly with my right. I churned up the corn with every turn of the spoon while my mouth watered for the sweet summer treat.

A taste of my maiz con hielo [mah-eez con yeh-loh] — literally, sweet corn with ice — instantly hurls me back home, back to the malls in Manila. They are an oasis during the hot summer months, a place of refuge from the grueling heat in the city. The closest shopping mall to our house was only two easy jeepney rides away. As a young adolescent, I spent slow summer days in its meandering, air-conditioned halls. I walked all day tirelessly. Aimlessly. I window shopped until I dropped, browsing through shirts and shoes I couldn’t afford and toys and trinkets I didn’t need.

A meager sum bought me happiness: a plate of barbecued chicken and java rice for lunch and a matinee pass for a Tagalog melodrama. I’ve always liked sad movies. The heartwrenching kind where a tragedy takes place in the first ten minutes but the story’s bida [bee-dah], the heroine, triumphs against life’s odds in the end. After a good cry at the movies, I treated myself to halo-halo or maiz con hielo at the food court downstairs. My afternoon merienda was the highlight of my excursion. I stirred the corn and ice while I watched the world in front of me pass by.

Happiness did not cost a fortune. Life was so simple back then.

 

Maiz con Hielo Recipe

sweet corn, fresh, frozen or canned
shaved ice
milk
sugar
queso ice cream (optional)

Layer sweet corn and shaved ice in a tall glass. Fresh sweet corn is preferred but frozen or canned will do. Shuck fresh sweet corn, cook briefly in boiling water, then carefully strip kernels off the cob with a knife.

Add milk and sugar to your liking and stir everything together with a spoon. Indulge with a scoop of ice cream. Salty and sweet queso pairs wonderfully with sweet corn.

 

Maiz con Hielo

Maiz con Hielo

  • Anonymous

    Shaved ice with sweet corn was always delicious, its kind of a simpler halo-halo…call it only halo. lol! It was good on a hot day especially in days like these in San Diego where the temperature East of the City is hitting the hundred mark. Great Memories!

  • Anonymous

    this must be the most beautiful presentation of mais con hielo I’ve ever seen! thank you for sharing your story. you are right that happiness doesn’t cost a fortune! thanks jun!

  • Row

    That’s how I mix up a glass of halo-halo too… slowly and timidly at first, then I give up and go full throttle. Afterwards, I have to clean up the drips with a j-cloth. I still have some queso ice cream in the freezer and some canned corn… time to make dessert! :D

  • Tracey@Tangled Noodle

    There’s no room for neatness with this kind of treat! I always eat maiz con hielo and halo-halo with fistfuls of paper napkins and a healthy dose of mild cursing under my breath as I try to keep too much from spilling over the side of the glass. Adds a little sumpin’ sumpin’, don’t you think? ;-)

  • Amanda @ Easy Peasy Organic

    Our family favourite ice cream was a corn version we had in Brazill … still trying to recreate it! {This might just come close … }

  • http://blog.junbelen.com/ Jun Belen

    I know, I’m a hopeless neat freak!

  • http://blog.junbelen.com/ Jun Belen

    I think I have a sweet corn ice cream recipe tucked in a cookbook somewhere and when I find it I’ll send it over to you. I love finding bits of kernels in sweet corn ice cream!

  • http://blog.junbelen.com/ Jun Belen

    WOW! It does really get stifling hot down in San Diego. This summer treat is absolutely perfect!

  • Rowena | Apron and Sneakers

    I prefer this over halo-halo. When the whole family goes out to have halo-halo, I was always the only one eating this. And gosh, I already forgot about this summer cold treat! Thanks for reminding me! By the way, I just did your version of binagoongan. I like it because it doesn’t stink the house. I will link you once I am done with my blog post. Thanks Jun!

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