ice cream flavors

LOOK: This chef made 3 Mindanaoan gelato flavors that represent Tausug cuisine

Steph Arnaldo

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LOOK: This chef made 3 Mindanaoan gelato flavors that represent Tausug cuisine

MINDANAO FLAVORS. Chef Miguel Moreno of Palm Grill, in collaboration with Karabella Dairy, has come up with three Tausug cuisine-inspired gelato flavors.

Palm Grill

Ever had gelato in Syunug Lahing (Burnt Coconut), Knicker (Zamboanga's halo-halo), and Kahawa Sug (Sulu Coffee) flavors?

MANILA, Philippines – Championing his Mindanaoan heritage, Chef Miguel Moreno of restaurant Palm Grill has created three limited edition gelato flavors that represent the islands of Zambasulta –Zamboanga, Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi.

Moreno worked with Karabella Dairy to come up with a Southern Mindanao-inspired gelato line – the Syunug Lahing (Burnt Coconut), the colorful Knicker (Zamboanga’s halo-halo ice cream), and the bold Kahawa Sug (Sulu Dark Roasted Robusta).

Syunug Lahing (Burnt Coconut) captures the essence of Tausug cuisine, since “burnt coconut is one of the main ingredients of ‘Pamapa,’ a spice mix used in making Pianggang Manok,” Moreno explained.

SYUNUG LAHING. Photo courtesy of Palm Grill

“The burnt coconut, or syunug lahing, is a method unique to the Tausug people, resembling a Latik with a coconutty, toasted aftertaste,” he added. This flavor is a tribute to Tausug’s ancestral cooking practices, churned into a creamy, thick ice cream that’s mildly sweet and milky, featuring the smoky nuttiness of burnt coconut. Actual burnt coconut strips are mixed in for some chewy, toasted texture.

SULU DARK ROASTED ROBUSTA COFFEE. Photo courtesy of Palm Grill

If you love strong coffee flavors in your desserts, try out the rich and chocolatey Sulu Dark Roasted Robusta gelato – an ode to the powerful robusta bean from the Sulu Archipelago. This flavor is strong, smooth, potent, and proud in its deep espresso flavor that showcases Sulu region’s coffee heritage.

“For this gelato, we used only carabao milk, infused with the strong flavors and aroma of Sulu coffee beans. We wanted to stay true to simple and traditional flavors,” Moreno said.

The vibrant and fruity Knicker flavor pays homage to Zamboanga’s unique take on halo-halo (the pint resembles a cathedral cake). Unlike the traditional halo-halo, knicker is made without shaved ice, using chilled fresh fruits like watermelon, mango, banana, and coconut jelly.

It’s a milky, refreshing dessert with chunks of chewy fruit in every bite. Chef Moreno calls this flavor “a unique one.”

KNICKER. Photo courtesy of Palm Grill

Moreno’s passion for Mindanaoan cuisine was poured into every meticulously curated scoop of gelato, with his “purpose to introduce a new and fun way to discover the flavors of Southern Mindanao that have never been done before.”

“I want to celebrate core memories of my childhood and in hopes of sharing the same with those who would want to rekindle with their own,” he said about his connection to these flavors.

The Sulu Coffee and Burnt Coconut variants cost P490 per pint, while Knicker costs P500. In store, it costs P190 per scoop.

The collection is made from locally sourced ingredients and 100% premium and pure milk, crafted in small batches to ensure quality and authenticity.

“I wanted to elevate these flavors because I am extremely proud of my Tausug heritage that has fought many battles to preserve an identity that is still very evident in their way of cooking and life. Which, for me, is truly Filipino,” Moreno said.

Palm Grill – a purveyor of Southern Mindanaoan cuisine in Metro Manila – and Karabella’s new flavors were launched on Independence Day on June 12. They’re exclusively available at Palm Grill’s branches in Tomas Morato and Gateway Mall 2 until the end of July. –

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Steph Arnaldo

If she’s not writing about food, she’s probably thinking about it. From advertising copywriter to freelance feature writer, Steph Arnaldo finally turned her part-time passion into a full-time career. She’s written about food, lifestyle, and wellness for Rappler since 2018.