There’s a new Filipino food craze in town and it features the queen of Filo desserts, the Halo-halo! It’s a food truck usually found around Parramatta and the Parklea Markets and it's aptly called MIXMIXCO.
Owned by the dynamic husband and wife team of Kim and Andy Ambrose, who have initially wanted to start a business selling Filipino snacks like bibingka, puto-bumbong with halo-halo and con yelo. But because they wanted to start small to have time to take care of their young family of two kids (a 5-year old and a 9-month old baby) they’ve launched a food craze that has excited Filo and Aussie food aficionados.
Kim works as a pastry chef for one of the biggest commissaries that supplies desserts all over Australia while Andy is an Executive Sous Chef in one of the oldest schools in New South Wales. They are both members of the Filipino Food Movement Australia and are very active in promoting Filipino food to everyone in Australia.
Together they have put together their expertise in creating a modernized take on the Filo dessert with not just its delightful flavours but also its cool packaging.
For those who are not familiar with this Filo dessert, it’s a combination of cooked bananas, sweetened beans, coconut strips and jellies, layered with shaved ice and topped with ice cream and leche flan (similar to crème caramel of the Spanish Flan) finished with a generous amount of evaporated milk.
Is your mouth watering yet? Read on as we interview the owners of MIXMIXCO.
AF: Who came up with the name of the company?
ANDY: The first concept we came up with before Mix Mix Co. was something totally different. We were aiming for a street food business but we knew this would require too much effort and time so we thought of sticking with drinks and desserts which were quick to do but highly impactful and will reach a wide audience including non-Filipinos.
Kim, with her Research and Development Chef background, knew that people easily remember your brand when the name matches the main product or concept. And so the term "Mix Mix" was born because that's exactly what these desserts and drinks were - a mix of colourful combinations that you needed to combine/mix together to enjoy. We added the "Company" at the end because we dream of making this business to become a group of stalls and stores in the future.
AF: What do you think makes MIXMIXCO a cut above the rest?
KIM: Filipino food can be very intimidating for other cultures. In our opinion, our food can be either exotic, too laid-back (one pot cooking), or can be visually unappealing. Imagine a fish head floating in a pot of soup (sinigang) or vegetables in a stew that aren’t properly cut into cubes or butterflied fish fried with all its head until tail still attached.
Don’t get us wrong, it is very delicious and those food specially sinigang is a favourite in our home but that is the reason why other cultures may get intimidated with our cuisine. We feel that with desserts, it will be easier to win their hearts and tastebuds to try it. And in terms of the climate in Australia where half part of the year is extremely hot, Halo-Halo and all Con yelos would be the perfect start to rule Australian appetite.
ANDY: It is a good start for them to be interested to know more of what we can offer. In saying this, our entire concept, especially our food items are what we really worked hard for. People would always comment, we are so colourful but well, we all eat with our eyes first. From there, we were challenged to put halo-halo in the spotlight and make it a “food craze” like milk tea that could be an everyday food for everyone, not just for us Filipinos.
KIM: We pride ourselves in the quality of our products to make it at par with our presentation. We always aim for consistency in that we use the same ingredients, maintain the same quality, and continue with our service always keeping in mind that "what you see is what you get". It took us a year to make sure that the way each product looks, our packaging, our operations are on point and will blend almost seamlessly with our daily lives.
ANDY: We also tried our very best to make Halo-halo our own even though it is something that you will see in every Filipino restaurant around the world. The most unique thing about our version is the soft serve we put on the top instead of the usual scoop of ice cream. We consistently get rave reviews about how our halo-halo is so different from what they have tried before and yet still captures everything that is "original" and familiar about it.
KIM: And last but not the least, the products we sell are things that we really loved growing up that we genuinely just wanted to share with the new generation of Filos and the rest of the Filo-Aussie community who are not in touch any more with our roots and are not able to experience our culture on a regular basis. It is also our dream to be able to continue passing on our culture and traditions to our children even though they will grow up in Australia.
AF: What were the interesting situations that you have experienced since putting up your food truck in September 2019?
ANDY: We look back at our very first event which was in Engadine, about an hour and a half drive from where we live. When we got there, the weather was perfect and we were so hopeful, happy and starry-eyed. It took us ages to park the trailer properly since we have never done it before for an actual event.
Two hours after opening, the winds started to blow stronger and stronger until stuff from our neighbouring stalls started flying everywhere. It was like a scene from an apocalyptic movie. A few more moments later, rain came as well so the organisers had to cancel the event because it was not safe to operate under the circumstances anymore. In our excitement we had brought so much ingredients that day but then we only ended up serving 7 people. On the bright side, we had an event the next day where we managed to recover our losses the day prior.
KIM: Also, it's always so endearing to hear non-FIlipino speaking customers say the names of our products but we appreciate them always asking us how to pronounce them properly.
The MIXMIXCO food truck can be found every Thursday at the Centennary Square in Parramatta from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm and weekends at the Parklea Markets from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm. They can alsl be found at Mercatto Australia every second Saturday of each month from 2:00 pm to 8:00 pm. If you want to get updated on where the MIXMIXCO food truck can be found follow them on Instagram at @mixmixco.syd.