Makansutra: Coffee, bandung are top picks at Uncle Rabbit Jelly House
Agar agar from Uncle Rabbit Jelly House is easy to eat and light on the sugar
Once upon a time, chilli crab was served in a deep dish plate, and now there is a cocktail version. These days, even ondeh ondeh, that cute little pandan-gula melaka ball, is sometimes dished out as a muffin.
Cooks and chefs are not into something different, they just do it differently.
A practical approach, given how you can never migrate your customer's love for local food culture.
So what do they do with cendol, Milo dinosaur, kopi and even bandung?
Some have given them the agar agar or jelly treatment.
Uncle Rabbit Jelly House, a blink-and-you'll-miss-it shop behind a support beam at a row of shophouses in Toa Payoh, is doing just that.
"We just felt like doing it," said Mrs Denise Chen, adding it has been a satisfying four-plus years running the business, which she does with her husband Auston.
They supply at least seven flavours - which I devoured with gusto - to a few dessert and fruit shops around the island.
Easy and light on the sugar, each triangular block costs $1.20. Here is my bite-by-bite lowdown:
This is done in a layered lapis style and a milk-coffee-milk-coffee look.
I dislike how many versions let the agar agar and sugar taste take over, but it is not so here.
The crunchy texture melts after a couple of bites in the mouth, and the flavour shines through yet does not overwhelm.
The aroma of the rose syrup teases, and it is nothing like that cloying cup of bandung drink you get at hawker drink stalls.
Again, it is done lapis style and the translucent layer between each pink bandung slice reminds you that it is agar agar.
The spilt layers of Milo and milk in this cold agar agar is like a light cold chocolate drink in the mouth. I wish this had been more intense, but the flavours are noticeable nevertheless.
This is the prettiest on the shelf, made with little fingertip blocks of multi-coloured agar agar buried in the clear jelly block.
Taste-wise, it did not register high with me, but it is all texture and fun.
It is essentially the same as the Terrazzo, except the Chens use a coconut milk-base jelly to hold all those coloured pieces in.
It felt a tad richer and if they let some soft sweet potato and coloured gummy flour balls in, it could be a bubur cha cha version, which would please me no end.
This is found in many dessert shops. It comes in layers of brown, blue, green and pink, with a milky and clear jelly layer separating them - making it a tad different from the others.
Along with the Bandung and Coffee, this is my other favourite. Featuring distinct layers of coconut milk, gula melaka, pandan and jelly strips with a layer of soft red bean jelly in between, you cannot lose with this one.
Uncle Rabbit Jelly House
Block 85C, Lorong 4 Toa Payoh, #01-376
10am to 8pm, closed alternate Sundays
KF Seetoh, the founder of Makansutra, dabbles in street food businesses like Food Markets and has his own TV shows on cable. He publishes food guides and online content. He is also the creator of the World Street Food Congress. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.