Snapshots from Singapore: 13 Singaporean Sweets You Should Know

Gula Melaka

The best cendol I encountered came from Jin Jin Hot Cold Dessert in the ABC Brickworks hawker center. The secret is the gula: so thick it pours like hot fudge, it remains rich and syrupy even when diluted by the shaved ice. The boys at Jin Jin steep their gula syrup with a mix of herbs and spices to lend it extra complexity.

If I ever embark on a rap career, my stage name will be Gula Melaka.

Max Falkowitz

After breakfast, lunch, and dinner, (or some time in between those meals), you'll probably want a bite of something sweet.

And rest assured, Singaporeans have a sweet tooth, or more accurately, a composite sweet jaw made with teeth from all over East and Southeast Asia. You'll find Hong Kong egg custard tarts, Malay shaved ice, tropical fruit fritters, and Indonesian sugar say nothing of the steamed and baked cakes, fresh fruit, and silken tofu that command long queues at hawker centers well into the night.

This list isn't anywhere close to comprehensive, and is as much constrained by my tastes as the random items I came across. But I think it shows just how varied the world of Singaporean dessert can be, from candy-sweet but refreshing ices to subtle baked treats. Got any that I missed? Have a particular hawker that makes your favorite sweet? Sound off in the comments.

The Sweets

More Snapshots from Singapore

Note: Max's recent trip to Singapore was arranged by the Singapore Tourism Board. Special thanks to our awesome guide, Garry Koh.