Gula melaka, or liquidized coconut palm sugar, has been used for years in local cuisine, and is an unrefined sweetener that provides a caramel-like richness in desserts. The modern chef knows that it’s a substitute for everything from maple syrup to brown sugar, and the foodie with a sweet tooth knows that its flavour is very particular to Peranakan cuisine.
If the mere mention of desserts like chendol, sago gula melaka and ondeh ondeh make you drool, it’s probably because of the rich, sometimes smokey sweetness that comes courtesy of gula melaka.
Eateries both old and new have taken on gula melaka as a sweetner, and you should know that the taste is one you can’t beat. Click through the gallery to check out the 10 places you should head to for a gula melakafix.
Churros Factory offers churros with an unctuous gula melaka dip. The churros come in Original, Pandan, Charcoal and Chocolate flavours. Pick your favourite and enjoy the crisp exterior combined with the sweetness of the dip. It’ll cost $7 in total.
Where: #B1-26, 112 Katong (112 East Coast Road). Open from 10am to 10pm daily.
Photo: Churros Factory/Instagram
Overrun whips up a chendol soft serve for $6. Topped with green rice flour jelly, coconut flakes and — yes! — gula melaka syrup. You’ll be coming back for more as soon as you hit the bottom of your cup.
Where: 18 Baghdad Street, S199657. Open on Tuesdays to Thursdays from 12pm to 8.30pm, on Fridays from 2pm to 9.30pm, and on Saturdays and Sundays from 12pm to 9.30pm. Closed on Mondays.
Perfect for avid Instagrammers, this bold dessert ($6.50) is a vibrant blue shade, and is topped with flower petals. Resembling a Nonya kueh, the very centre of each muffin is a surprise — a delicious gula melakacoconut filling.
Where: Level 1 at Seletar Aerospace Park (3 Park Lane). Open Mondays to Thursdays from 9am to 11pm, Fridays from 9am to 1am, Sautrdays from 8.30am to 1am, and Sundays from 8.30am to 11pm.
For just $2, you get to indulge in a hearty bowl of ice-cold chendol. Featuring tender red beans atop finely shaved ice and a bed of green jelly, the star of the show is the gula melaka drizzle that’s brown, sticky, and thicker than average. It’s just the right amount of sugary goodness.
Where: #01-20 ABC Brickworks Market /Food Centre (6 Jalan Bukit Merah). Open daily from 12pm to 12am.
On the lookout for a proper chow-down treat? Butterscotch Café has got you covered with its Ondeh Ondeh waffles ($12). Bright green and fragrant, the crisp waffles are matched perfectly with gula melaka ice cream and crunchy desiccated coconut.
Where: #01-3625, 164 Bukit Merah Central. Open from Tuesdays to Fridays, 10am to 10pm, and Saturdays and Sundays from 9am to 7pm. Closed on Mondays.
Photo: Butterscotch Café/Instagram
These Ondeh Ondeh Éclairs are filled generously with gula melaka cream, and topped with crunchy white chocolate and fragrant pandan. They were originally created to celebrate Singapore’s 50th birthday, but have stuck around because of their popularity.
Where: 88 Horne Rd. Open on Sundays and Mondays, and Wednesdays and Thursdays from 9am to 6pm. On Fridays and Saturdays, operating hours are 10am to 10pm. Closed on Tuesdays.
Photo: Two Bakers/Instagram
A combination of three traditional flavours, this cake ($43 for a whole cake) would be a mouthwatering centrepiece for any celebration.
This flavour also comes in cupcake form ($18, for 2 boxes of 6 cupcakes). Order online for direct delivery or opt to pick up at the Edith Patisserie store.
Where: 772 North Bridge Road. Open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10am to 5.30pm, and on Sundays from 10am to 2pm. Closed on Mondays.
Photo: Edith Patisserie
Nothing tastes better on a humid day than a generous serving of ice cream, and the gula melaka flavour from Sunday Folks hits all the right notes. Featuring a Sea Salt Gula Melaka soft serve over freshly baked waffles (S$10.70 for a single stack with ice cream), this dish comes with fresh fruit and drizzle of maple syrup and hazelnut sauce that set off those smokey gula melaka undertones.
Where: 44 Jalan Merah Saga, #01-52 Chip Bee Gardens. Open Tuesdays to Thursdays, 1pm to 10pm, Fridays and Saturdays from 12pm to 11pm, and Sundays from 12pm to 10ppm. Closed on Mondays.
Photo: Sunday Folks/Instagram
At the Hello Kitty Cafe is an array of local flavours in its Hide & Seek dessert ($16.90). You’ll get a decadent pandan panna cotta drizzled with a luscious sauce of gula melaka, as well as passionfruit and strawberry marshmallow sauces. Served with berry compote, crumble, fresh berries and gelato.
Where: #01-22 Changi Airport Terminal 3 (65 Airport Boulevard). Open 24 hours, daily.
Photo: Hello Kitty Orchid Garden Café