You can’t say you’ve lived in Singapore if you haven’t tried our unofficial national dish: the Singapore Chilli Crab. And here’s where to find some of the best!
Word on the street is that back in the 1950s, Madam Cher Yam Tian, who ran a humble eatery, created what’s known and well-loved as Chilli Crab today. She spiked the crustacean dish with sambal and served it with crusty French bread, and this creation eventually became a signature dish in her eatery.
Madam Cher’s son, Roland Lim, conitnues to serve this iconic specialty in Roland Restaurant today. His rendition is a lighter, sweeter version of his mother’s original chilli crab creation, while equally rich and piquant.
89 Marine Parade Central, Singapore 440089
NEXT: Dragon Phoenix Restaurant →
In another version of how the Singapore Chilli Crab came about, it’s said that this famous dish was created by Masterchef Hooi Kok Wai of Dragon Phoenix in 1963. The crustacean comes in a thick gravy of tomato sauce, ginger and eggs, and is still consistently well-executed by the kitchen team to this day.
An insider tip: Besides the original Dragon Phoenix Restaurant, you can also enjoy this dish at The Lobby Lounge at Shangri-La Hotel. Chef Hooi shared his recipe with the kitchen team at the hotel!
#06-00 Novotel Clarke Quay, 177A River Valley Rd, Singapore 179031
NEXT: Red House Seafood →
Red House Seafood is another decades-old restaurant famous for its crab dishes. The previous owners came up with their own rendition of Chilli Crab and Black Pepper Crab. The former is inspired by Peranakan cuisine, hence its sweet-spicy flavour, and cooked with crab roe, fresh tomatoes and ribbons of egg; the latter is inspired by the Western way of cooking black pepper steak.
NEXT: Hua Yu Wee →
Before Singapore’s land reclamation project completed in 1970, Upper East Coast Road was the centre of Singapore’s seafood universe, restaurants fronting the shore teeming with happy diners. However, many were made to relocate in the late 1970s to mid 1980s; Hua Yu Wee has lingered on till today in the last remaining bungalow-style space.
Be warned, though: The Chilli Crab here is spicier than others, but ultra satisfying if you can handle the heat. (And ultra satisfying because of the heat!)
462 Upper East Coast Rd, Singapore 466508
NEXT: The Blue Lotus →
The secret behind The Blue Lotus’s signature Chilli Pomelo Crab is in the sauce, which contains assam, chilli, ginger flower and a whole array of herbs. And – you guessed it – pomelo pulp, which lends a refreshing tangy bite to the dish.
The special sauce is also featured in their Chilli Pomelo Crab Xiao Long Bao (soup dumplings), Chilli Pomelo Crab Udon, Chilli Pomelo La Mian Soup (pulled noodle soup) and Crab Balls with Chilli Pomelo Sauce.
#01-13 Quayside Isle, 31 Ocean Way, Singapore 098375
NEXT: Seafood Paradise →
The restaurant name says it all – Seafood Paradise’s rendition of Chilli Crab features a well-balanced sauce that’s subtly sweet, spicy and tangy; they’re also known for their Creamy Butter Crab, prepared with curry leaves, white pepper, lemongrass and chilli padi, and topped with coconut crumbs. Another bonus: It’s one of the restaurants with more refined settings.
#02-03 Marina Bay Sands, 10 Bayfront Ave, Singapore, 018956
NEXT: VLV – Chilli Crab Bun →
At once a modern Chinese restaurant, chic bar and no-holds-barred club lounge, we dare say that this multi-faceted dining destination is Clarke Quay’s crown jewel. For one, it certainly looks the part – golden ceiling lights and accents evoking a lounge-like ambiance give the place an upmarket feel.
On the food front, a must-try on the dim sum menu is the Singapore Chilli Crab Bun, deshelled crab cooked in their signature chilli sauce and louded in a house-made mantou bucket.
3A River Valley Rd, Singapore 179020
NEXT: Grub – Chilli Crab Pasta →
Tomato-based, mildly spiced sauces is at the heart and soul of traditional Italian pastas like marinara or amatricana, so it’s no surprise that our Chilli Crab works wonders when reinvented as a pasta dish. Grub’s rendition is a delicious mix of linguine in a chunky Singapore-style chilli crab sauce, topped with a whole battered soft shell crab that livens up the entire dish.
510 Ang Mo Kio Ave 1, Singapore 569983
NEXT: Restaurant Labyrinth – Chilli Crab Ice Cream →
Yes, you read that right. Labyrinth pushes the envelope of local flavours, and remarkably, too – they’ve even got a nod from the Michelin folks in the form of a star.
Every dish here delights your tastebuds, but the finale is what’s most memorable. The Chilli Crab Ice Cream – deep-fried soft shell crab with a dollop of spicy-cold chilli crab ice cream. Even in dessert form, the mantou (Chinese buns) is an essential complement, and it features here on a “beach” of man tou sand.
#02-23 Esplanade Theatres on the Bay, 8 Raffles Ave, Singapore 039802
NEXT: Roland Restaurant →
Adapted from The Peak Magazine, December 2017
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