Here at The Ice Cream Informant, we love ice cream. We also love weird ice creams. Caitlin takes us through a Reader Review unlike any other. Continue reading to take a tour of some of the interesting selections from San Miguel's Best of the Philippines...
Price: $9.99 each
Found at: Lotte Plaza Market (Catonsville, MD)
After browsing around several Asian markets a little over a week ago with my dad for Taro ice cream to celebrate my birthday instead of traditional cake since I have a weird Taro obsession, something slightly more interesting caught my eye: Purple Yam with Cheese Bits ice cream. Excited to try such a unique and intriguing flavor, I decided to give it a shot. My father, on the other hand, was more reluctant and purchased a second container (Coconut sport with Purple Yam ripple) just in case it turned out disgusting. That, my friends, is why this review features two ice creams, not just one. I got too excited and completely forgot to take pictures of the nutrition label (I apologize), but I'm sure you can find the specific ingredients somewhere online; I included some of the general nutritional information for each.
First Review: San Miguel Best of the Philippines - Ube Keso: Ube (Purple Yam) with Cheese Bits
Nutrition: 1/2 cup, 140 calories, 5g fat, 21g carbs, 2g protein
Upon opening the container, I was slightly disappointed. As you can see in the picture, there was only one cheese swirl present, although several chunks of cheese were apparent on the surface. The rest of the ice cream had a deep purple hue, and had a very sweet smell to it, so I remained confident regardless of the lack of cheese.
As I scooped some out, the swirls of cheese failed to make any real appearance; it was the tiny chunks that stole the show in the mix-in game. The ice cream itself was also very dense and didn't seem to melt fast, which of course was an added plus considering a lot of other brands seem to melt on me before I can finish my bowl.
As I tasted the ice cream, the purple yam was the first thing I noticed. I would definitely say it reminded me more of taro than purple yam since I consider purple yam to have a more distinct floral taste whereas taro tastes more like a mix between vanilla, nutty, sweet potato, and just a hint of floral flavoring; I know this sounds confusing, but once you taste it the description really comes together more. The floral taste was very subtle and it was very flavorful, slightly sweet, and really delicious. The cheese swirl didn't really have a taste to me, perhaps because it was so insignificant, but the cheese bits were very dense and took about the same amount of effort to chew as a chocolate chip. It added a savory appeal to the sweet ice cream, but the purple yam continued with its dominance. I definitely consider this a good thing though, since I was able to enjoy the cheese without it overpowering the yam. While I was admittedly slightly scared at first since this was my first exposure to ice cream made with cheese, I was certainly impressed between the taste and texture of this ice cream. It was very balanced, interesting, and complex. I definitely rank this an easy A.
Second Review: San Miguel Best of the Philippines - Macapuno Ube Ripple: Coconut sport with Purple Yam ripple
Nutrition: 1/2 cup, 160 calories, 7g fat, 22g carbs, 2g protein
Upon opening the container, this ice cream had much more notable ripples of purple yam. It was sweeter than the purple yam & cheese ice cream, but lacked any of the floral taste that the former ice cream had. Despite it having coconut in the name, the coconut flavoring was not intense by any means; there were no chunks or shreds of coconut, either. Like the first ice cream, however, this was also very dense and I did not have to worry about it melting too fast.
The ube ripple was slightly chewy, but didn't make me like this ice cream any more or any less. After a few spoonfuls, the yam flavoring becomes pretty muted as the sweet ice cream base takes over, and it was much harder to taste the ube.
That being said, it was still creamy and sweet, and I rate this ice cream as a B; not an A only because the purple yam flavoring wasn't as strong as I had hoped and certainly doesn't compare after trying the first flavor. Still something fun to try if you happen to see it, but not something I would go out of my way to get.
After trying both flavors, my family enjoyed them both but agreed that the Purple Yam with Cheese Bits ice cream was the better option out of the two. The Coconut sport with Purple Yam ripple was sweeter, but the Purple Yam with Cheese Bits had a more complex flavor profile to it and was much more indulgent. I will definitely be purchasing the Purple Yam with Cheese Bits again, despite the high price tag of $9.99; these are pretty large containers of ice cream! I must give it to Best of the Philippines, they are a hidden gem in the Asian market freezer aisle that produces high quality, authentic, and appealing (or at least interesting) ice cream flavors! If you're like I was several years ago and have been limiting yourself to American ice creams, I urge you to try some ethnic flavors to mix things up, and your local Asian grocery store is the best way to start! (I hope I can find a Black Sesame flavor next)
Need some ice cream suggestions? Click on what component you're craving for further assistance!
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