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Enjoy the King of Crab Dishes and One of Singapore’s Greatest Culinary Inventions-Chilli Crab!

By Samantha Yao - Published May 13, 2020

By Samantha Yao, Delta Singapore Marketing

Singapore, May 11, 2020-Singapore’s number one culinary export to the world is none other than chilli crab, and here's why.

• Chilli crab hits all the right spots with its tangy gravy that seeps into the succulent flesh of the stir-fried crab.
• Despite its name, chilli crab is only mildly spicy, and is often described as having a flavour that’s both sweet and savoury.
• It’s easily available in most seafood restaurants, which typically serve it with mud crabs that have deliciously sweet and juicy flesh.
• One of the favourite ways of eating chilli crab is with bread—Mantou (Chinese steamed buns) are often used to sop up the dish’s delicious sauce.

This world famous dish started from a pushcart in 1956. Run by a couple, the husband asked his wife to experiment with other methods of cooking crabs other than just steaming the seafood. Madam Cher Yam Tian’s first attempt was stir-fried crabs with tomato sauce, but decided the dish will have more kick by adding chilli sauce. They sold their chilli crabs along Kallang River and it became so popular that they opened a restaurant, called Palm Beach.

Hooi Kok Wah, the famous chef who opened Dragon Phoenix restaurant in 1963, created a sourer version of the dish—using sambal, tomato paste and eggs to cook the gravy instead of bottled chilli and tomato sauces. This has since become the version most commonly served in Singapore.

Try it and you will get it all over your fingers as you crack open the crab shells, and it’s simply impossible not to lick it all up.

The best places to have it are:

Red House Seafood

Source: Straits Times

Red House has been serving this chilli-drenched crustacean since 1976 and has justifiably garnered a loyal following. The juicy crab at this stalwart is on the sweeter end of the spectrum, with a touch of vinegar that smoothens the texture of the gravy. If you’re after chilli crab without getting your hands dirty, try their signature Takesumi Chilli Crab Bao, packed with rich gravy and shreds of crab.

Jumbo Seafood
JUMBO Seafood has always been the place to go for the iconic dish since it opened in 1987 at the still-popular East Coast Seafood Centre. The gravy accompanying the flavoursome crab at Jumbo is slightly more tomatoe-y than elsewhere and richly layered with egg.

Palm Beach Seafood
After selling the dish from a pushcart for a number of years, Madam Cher Ya and her husband opened Palm Beach Seafood in 1962 along Upper East Coast Road. While the couple sold off some of their shares in the restaurant and migrated to New Zealand, Palm Beach’s chilli crab today is still tender and sweet, with the sauce done just right!

Did you know?

Source: Travelfish.org

In 2011, CNNgo listed chilli crab as one of the ‘World’s 50 most delicious foods’.

Useful Links:
Visit Singapore Official Site: https://www.visitsingapore.com/dining-drinks-singapore/local-dishes/chilli-crab/

Samantha Yao

About the Author (Guest Contributor)

Samantha Yao

Even though I’m a marketing person by trade, I’m rather quiet by nature. When I am not at work or in denial about having a social life, I am at home mothering 2 lovely kids. They helped me to understand my purpose in life and the importance of standing your ground and holding our own balance. Most of all, I’ve learnt how to make a horse drink the water. Feel free to connect with me to share your motherhood experience.

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