Crab Kingdom – Six Places to Feast on the Seafood Delicacy
MICHELIN Guide inspectors have scoured the island for hawker centres that get their claws into crab dishes. Here are six places where you can feast on the seafood delicacy.
This 20-year-old homegrown restaurant owes its reputation to its mother’s original chilli crab recipe from the 1950s. Meaty mud crabs are fried and doused in her secret sauce before being eaten with pillowy steamed buns.
Sri Lankan Chilli Crab
Indulge in the best of Sri Lankan culinary traditions at this eatery that serves up authentic Jaffna-style crab curry. This signature dish is made with a medley of spices that complements the succulent meat perfectly. It is a must-try for any seafood lover! The dish pairs well with rice, sambal or pittu and can be enjoyed on its own as well.
The restaurant uses mud crabs (Scylla serrata), which are native to Sri Lanka. These are larger than the orange mud crab (S. olivacea) and have distinctive purple pincers.
The restaurant uses a unroasted curry powder which means that all of the ingredients are ground together without being toasted first. This way, the spices keep their flavours longer and also saves on cooking time. It is a good idea to grind the whole spices a couple of days in advance to save time and effort. This can be done easily at home with a spice grinder or mortar and pestle.
Keng Eng Kee Chilli Crab
Featured in Netflix’s Street Food, this long-established cze char restaurant specialises in expertly wok-fried dishes. Its popular offerings include the fiery black pepper crab and chilli crab – both of which can be enjoyed with a luscious and sweet sauce to wipe down with fist-sized soft steamed buns.
Founded in the 1970s, Keng Eng Kee Seafood (Qiong Rong Ji Hai Xian or KEK) is a 3-generation family-run establishment that serves wallet-friendly Chinese zichar dishes. It started out as a Hainanese chicken rice stall, before moving to its current location at Alexandra Village Hawker Centre.
KEK’s salted egg yolk crab is a must-try, combining the briny sweetness of succulent crab with the creamy savory flavours of the salted egg sauce. It is recommended to enjoy this dish with a side of steamed mantou.
Hooi Kok Wah Chilli Crab
The chilli crab here is sweet, firm and perfectly matched with their special sauce – a right balance of chilli, tomato and egg. Served with fried mantous (Chinese steamed buns) to soak up the finger-licking gravy.
This is a must-try for seafood lovers. The restaurant is renowned all over the island for their mouth-watering dishes. They offer a wide range of seafood and meats prepared with the same high standards synonymous with their brand name.
Their chilli crab is a popular dish on the menu, featuring a classic recipe that’s been tweaked to include more spices and a sweeter, tomato-based egg-y sauce. It’s best eaten with a dipping platter of golden mantou buns, which can be fried or steamed to soak up all that flavourful gravy. The dish is a source of national pride for Singaporeans and is highly recommended to tourists who want to experience this unique local cuisine. It’s also cemented itself as a culinary icon around the world, with many restaurants catering to this demand.
Cher Yam Tian Chilli Crab
A dish that is loved by many Singaporeans, Cher Yam Tian chilli crab is said to be invented by a 23-year-old woman called Cher Yam Tian in the 1950s. She reportedly came up with the recipe when her husband, who loved to catch mud crabs and sell them, got bored of their traditional way of cooking them. She added bottled chilli sauce instead of tomato sauce to her stir-fried crabs and the result was instant success.
She soon opened a pushcart stall and subsequently her own restaurant at Palm Beach. Today, her son Roland and his brother Justin are carrying on the family business at Marine Parade.
The restaurant serves a variety of dishes with crab, including Black Pepper Crab, Salted Egg Yolk and Creamy Butter Crab. It also has a range of other seafood, vegetarian and cze char dishes. There is even a special crab wok-fried with bee hoon option where the bee hoon is braised with the crabs, which enables every bee hoon strand to seep in the flavours of the crustacean and vermicelli.