Nata de Coco
Nata is the Spanish word for cream, but Nata de Coco is more like cubes of coconut-flavored gelatin. The gel is cultured from coconut water.
One of the most frequent uses of nata de coco in the Philippines is as an ingredient in haluhalo, along with macapuno and kaong.
In its natural state, nata is translucent white, but it can be colored. As you can see in the photos below, a beautiful brown color was produced with the addition of brown sugar.
In Japan, when you say nata de coco, the first thing that may come to the minds’ of the locals is a product made by the company Ito En, which purports to be a yogurt-flavored drink with bits of nata de coco. The can prominently displays a label that says “Nata De Coco Yogurt Taste” in English and NATA DE KOKO (ナタデココ) in larger Japanese katakana letters. Price: 130 yen
Nata de Coco (ナタ・デ・ココ) is so big in Japan they even have star-shaped bits!
To go back to the name… It is definitely Spanish and we know that it must have originated from the Philippines because we’re the country where the Spaniards spent four centuries using that language on our shores.
Up until a few years ago, the Philippines was the world’s top producer of coconuts. We’ve now been overtaken by Indonesia. And in fact, many coconut products that we associate primarily with our country are being made throughout Southeast Asia, such as in Brunei and Malaysia.