Back in the simmering summer season, I got the chance to go to Zamboanga. Landing there late in the afternoon, we hit Paseo del Mar for some chow.
Paseo del Mar is their version of Roxas Boulevard there. Rows after rows of cozy eating places on this baywalk, stinky wind touching your face. Sorry, not a big fan of marine life. =) The food was very good though, it was inihaw.
We were craving for halo-halo and we requested our generous hostess for one. She said we should try KnickerBocker.
I was thinking, “(K)Nickawhat? Sana halo-halo na lang – malamig, maraming ingredients, matamis.”
A few walks later, we reached this kiosk with buyers on all three opened sides, waiting for their… Nickawhat. =)
It looked delicious. It’s got fruits, milk and ice cream.
We sat and waited for it to be served.
And OMFG! It was spoonful after spoonful of heaven! In almost half a pint glass, there’s watermelon chunks at the bottom. Followed by sweet mango and banana cuts. There’s a layer of their special home-made red gulaman. Then a super generous scoop of vanilla ice cream. And then another layerd of mango and banana. Creamy milk is poured over when it’s almost glass full.
Then there’s more!
Chunks of green gulaman (again, home-made) are added. Red luscious watermelon chunks again. Then strawberry ice cream! Then one last sinful pour of creamy milk.
That was definitely better than halo-halo!
Every single day after that night I was eating a glass of KnickerBocker.
There was one night though that I wasn’t able to order one because Paseo del Mar baywalk was closed already. I asked the trusty driver to drive me down to Palmera Restaurant where they said serve my new-found favorite halo-halo replacement.
We didn’t find that restaurant. I thought I was on the brink of death.
But the following day, I was able to eat some again. And the coupla days following that.
I could not stop talking about it. I would always insert Knickerbocker in every conversation. Even after weeks of getting back to Manila.
Then one lazy Saturday afternoon, me and my sister were in Megamall, just strolling. She was craving for a sizzling plate so we went to the Food Court at the basement of Building A.
As we were walking out of the Food Court, I noticed a colorful, inviting kiosk selling cold treats. I went near it and guess what!
The sales people there are from Zamboanga! This is definitely THE KnickerBocker.
We bought a glass each at P79 (the big size). I knew the small P59 ‘er is not enough for me.
A novice like my sister wouldn’t know how to handle such a glassful of this fabulous fruitty dessert. The fruit bits fall off. Ice cream lazily melts. You could not even dig your plastic spoon into it.
But the trick is to start slowly on the strawberry ice cream. As it melts, you can start nibbling on the watermelon sitting invitingly under the ice cream. Then get the taste of the sweet and cold juice of Knickerbocker which is a combination now of the melted ice creams (strawberry and vanilla), fruit essences and the milk!
You can then chow on the mangoes, the bananas, the vanilla ice cream and the special colorful gulaman!
I easily finished mine. And finished off half of my sister’s.
I just had to text blast people of my discovery!
Days later, I would bring my friends there – some are novices; some have tasted it from Zamboanga and are sold that this is the same KnickerBocker from down south!
Palmera’s KnickerBocker opened another kiosk in SM North last June. And as the salesboy has chika’ed to me, it sold well there especially during the food festival.
Needles to say, whenever I’m in Megamall (like 8 days in a week), I buy the P79’er.
This dessert is so good it’s bad!
I’m so freakingly obsessed with it!
Do not try KNICKERBOCKER!