Buko salad drink made with young coconut, gelatin, sago, and palm fruits. Sweet and creamy, it’s the perfect summer refreshment!
As a college student in Manila in the late 1980’s, I stayed in a dormitory a block from my university during school days and went home to my province on weekends. After my Friday classes, I would ride a jeepney from Taft to the Philippine Rabbit station in Avenida, where I would take the bus to Tarlac.
It has been decades since I last ventured into the streets of Avenida Rizal, but I remember it to be bustling with hurried drivers and pedestrians alike. The terminal itself was always thick with commuters rushing to get to their destination and vendors peddling fresh fruits, snacks, and beverages.
Buko salad drink was my favorite among the rows of refreshments sold at the bus terminal, and I would always buy a large cup before I got on the bus. The ice-cold milky liquid and chunks of gelatin, sago, young coconut, and palm fruits kept me happily occupied and hydrated through my two-hour-long trip home.
- This recipe is more of a baseline; feel free to add more or less of the ingredients to suit personal taste.
- Drain the kaong and nata de coco well as they’re usually bottled in heavy syrup which would make the drink overwhelmingly sweet.
- The red food coloring is for aesthetic purposes only. If you prefer not to use it, omit or use colored nata de coco or kaong to tint the drink.
- Substitute evaporated milk for the coconut milk if you prefer.
- Store in the refrigerator for food safety.
- For best results, serve cold over ice.
- This buko beverage is chunky; provide spoons to get into all the goodies!
I hope you give this tropical beverage a try. Sweet, creamy, and chock-full of goodies, it’s the perfect Summer refreshment! For more delicious gulaman drinks, check out these Buko Pandan Drink and Sago at Gulaman recipes.
Buko Salad Drink
- 2 bars (.70 ounce) red agar-agar
- 3 cups water
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 bottle (12 ounces) kaong, drained
- 1 bottle (12 ounces) nata de coco, drained
- 1 bottle (12 ounces) cooked sago
- 2 cups young coconut, shredded
- 2 cups coconut milk or 12 ounces evaporated milk
- 4 cups coconut juice
- 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
- 2 drops red food coloring (optional)
- In a pot, soak agar agar in water for about 30 to 40 minutes. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook, stirring regularly, until agar agar melts.
- Add sugar and stir to dissolve. Continue to cook for about 10 to 15 minutes or until agar agar is completely melted.
- Remove from heat. Pour into a flat dish and allow to cool until set and hardened. Cut gelatin into 1/2-inch cubes.
- In a large pitcher, combine gelatin cubes, kaong, nata de coco, sago, shredded young coconut, coconut juice, coconut milk, and sweetened condensed milk. Stir until well-distributed.
- Add food coloring, if desired, and stir until color is dispersed. Serve in glasses over ice.