Jello (Gelatin) vs. Gulaman (Agar-agar)



I realized I have a lots of misconceptions about food (with the curry and all). Another major one comes from the jello and gulaman debate. The title atop is a bit confusing since I know Jello is a brand. But I always equated gelatin with gulaman, when it should be so not! So for the sake of reader’s sanity in reading in this post, I shall say jello referring to those made from bones while gulaman as the one made from seaweed. WHAT? Yeah, you read that right.


I always figured that jello is the brand of that gelatin that comes in boxes. And gulaman as the local name of gelatin. And also, I assumed that agar-agar is what you call gelatin when you’re Thai. Oh the misconceptions.

So reading up on everything, jello is not vegetarian since it’s made up from (not human) bones, where they get the bone marrow or the glutinous stuff to make things set. Remember how your nilaga or bulalo soup kinda sets in the fridge? That. And no, I’m not talking about the sebo.

On the other hand, gulaman is from seaweed. They also make things set. And they maintain that state at room temperature. Uh-huh. That’s one thing that jello can’t do. I have made jello shots and when left far too long on the counter, they just become shots. 🙂

But besides that melting point, both items perform the same for me. I mean, really. 🙂 Now time to try something out 🙂


7 thoughts on “Jello (Gelatin) vs. Gulaman (Agar-agar)

    1. i don’t have pictures, just the post following this one. Basic differences

      Gelatin (brand name Jello or Knox)
      comes from animal bones
      melts at our room temperature

      Agar agar (locally known as gulaman, like from gulaman bars or local Alsa, Mr. Gulaman, etc.)
      from seaweed, considered vegetarian
      keeps form until melted
      more locally available 🙂

  1. If gulaman is use instead of gelatin in black sambo, does it taste the same or there is a difference let say on texture???

  2. I have been using both products with much success for practically every recipe that calls for gulaman or gelatin.
    There is a difference though. Since gelatin melts at room temperature, it has a unique mouthfeel when consuming it. Yes, it slowly melts in your mouth. This would be very obvious in the dessert like cathedral windows were the original recipe calls for different flavors of JELLO (gelatin). Pagsinubo mo na, IT MELTS IN YOUR MOUTH!
    Gulaman on the other hand remains solid. So you eithed chew it or swallow it whole.
    For other uses like a cream stabilizer, best to use gelatin to retain the needed mouthfeel-yung natutunaw sa sarap feeling which gulaman can not achieve.

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