City Travel Tip #1374
Chili crabs in Singapore – my favourite place to eat this dish
Chili crab is an iconic local dish in Singapore. It consists of crabs that have been stir-fried in a thick tomato, chili and egg gravy. A pushcart hawker in Singapore supposedly invented this dish in 1956.
When you order chili crab in a restaurant, it will come in a big serving plate for the whole table. You can then scoop out the portion you wish to eat onto your own plate. Don’t be surprised if you see locals digging into this dish with their bare hands at restaurants. Hence, restaurants would usually provide bowl of water for diners to rinse their hands after eating. A common accompaniment to chili crab is mantou – or deep fried plain buns. To me, this is the highlight of the dish, and I dare say that I prefer it to the crabs. The buns are meant to soak up the tasty chili crab gravy on your plate so that none of it is wasted. Usually there will be enough buns for one per diner. However you can always order extra buns if you wish.
Many seafood restaurants in Singapore sell chili crab. However, since I was a child, my family has always gone to Long Beach Seafood restaurant at East Coast Park to eat chili crabs. This restaurant used to have a main branch facing the sea, and I recall that eating freshly cooked crabs at this restaurant was always a special occasion. Even though this branch has since closed, there is a newer outlet located nearby at East Coast Seafood Centre, and the chili crabs’ quality is still excellent.
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