Why “dirty ice cream”? Is it because this favorite frozen delight a dirty food? Actually, even I don’t know why it’s called such. So, I made some research about its origin and the reason behind its name.
Here in the Philippines, eating "dirty ice cream" is not only the thing of the past but still a habit of the present. When we were kids, we used to wait for "Mamang Sorbetero" or the ice cream vendor to pass by our street and buy a cone of this cold treat. Dirty ice cream peddlers use colorful-painted carts that can accommodate three flavors.
"Ice cream was introduced in the Philippines during the American Occupation when refrigerators and other cooling devices were introduced. While American ice cream was made with cow's milk, using the milk of the carabao, a kind of water buffalo, resulted in a cheaper product which became known as "sorbetes."
Both kinds of milk are widely used today. Coconut milk and cassava flour are two other ingredients used that make sorbetes unique from ice cream made in other countries. Flavors also varied from the usual natural fruits such as mango, avocado, melon, jackfruit, coconut and strawberry to flavors imitating commercial ice cream such as chocolate, cookies and cream, cheese, mocha, ube, etc.
The sorbetes industry competes with commercially available ice cream from giant companies operating in the Philippines such as Arce Dairy, Magnolia, Nestlé, and Selecta, which also started peddling their product in the streets in more sanitized carts." -Source
In my kid's generation, the ice cream can be placed in plastic cups like what these two schoolmates are holding, wafer or sugar cones or bread buns. They always enjoy eating dirty ice cream together after class.
The term is dirty ice cream because it's being sold in the streets peddled by hawkers who don’t wear any gloves to avoid germs getting into the food. Buyers are not sure if the vendors’ hands are clean and how these ice creams are being prepared. There is health risk in buying these cold treat but children can hardly avoid the temptation.