Chilli Crab is the king of all crab dishes and one of Singapore’s greatest culinary innovations. Most seafood restaurants have it, and it’s usually served with mud crabs, which have amazingly sweet and meaty flesh. With the ease in measures on traveling to other countries, if you’re planning to visit Singapore sometime soon, we’re sure you’ve been meaning to try the delicacy.
Our geographical position makes it a great place for delicious fresh seafood. Singapore is obsessed with food. It is regarded as a unifying cultural thread and is a key aspect of our national identity. Eating is a national habit and a prominent topic of conversation among Singaporeans, as seen by the abundance of hawker centers and Singapore food blogs.
The origin of this popular dish first started in 1956. A pushcart served this world renowned dish. It was run by a couple, and the husband urged his wife to try several ways of preparing crabs besides steaming them.
Madam Cher Yam Tian’s initial try was stir-fried crabs with tomato sauce, but she decided to add chilli sauce to give the dish more bite. They sold their chilli crabs along the Kallang River and were so successful that they decided to open a restaurant called Palm Beach.
If you’re planning your holiday in Singapore soon and are excited to try our national Chilli Crab dish, we highly recommend you do so because it’s a dish loved by locals islandwide. While you’re at it, we also suggest you try some other popular dishes and flavors of the crab. Singapore is home to one of the most delicious and diverse cuisines we’ve experienced anywhere in the world, and the other flavours besides Chilli Crabs available are also very well-received by locals alike.
We’ll give you a run-down of the well-loved crab flavours that are satisfyingly delicious to sink your teeth into during your visit to Singapore.
The king of all crab dishes. The crab itself is delicious, but it’s the sauce that really shines—sweet yet savory, somewhat spicy, and incredibly filling. As you crack open the crab shells, it will get all over your fingers, and you’ll find yourself licking it clean off your fingers.
We promise you’ll keep coming back for more, dipping fried or steamed mantou into the sauce—a delectable mix of tomatoes and chilli paste thickened with ribbons of beaten eggs. With tangy gravy that oozes into the juicy flesh of the stir-fried crab, Chilli Crab hits all the right notes. The crab sauce with all its sweetness and sensuous-spiciness is an indication of our colourful culture.
Although Chilli Crab gets the most attention in Singapore’s hawker centres, this darker, pepper-flecked variety, thought to have been invented at a restaurant on Singapore’s Long Beach, has a devoted following.
If you have a love for black pepper which, with its complex peppery notes, this one’s perfect for you. Black pepper sauce is perfect with crustaceans such as prawns and crabs. It uses Indian curry leaves, British butter, and Chinese pantry ingredients such as oyster sauce, soy sauce, and preserved yellow beans (tau cheong in Cantonese), a sort of fermented soy bean.
It’s bold, flavorful, and a lot of fun to eat. Black pepper provides spice, while black bean sauce provides sweetness. The dish’s balance of sweet and sour flavors distinguishes it from others. This dish uses hard-shell crabs that have been cooked with black pepper for a fiery, flavorful finish. The sauce is sticky and glaze-y. It has a dry consistency with a robust peppery flavour. The crab is mixed in with butter, dried shrimp, aromatic curry leaves, bird’s-eye chilies, and other ingredients.
Salted Egg Yolk Crab, rich, delicious, and unlike anything else on the planet, has become a Singapore cult favorite in recent years, popping up in everything from desserts and fries to steamed buns and curry puffs. Large mud crabs are lightly sprinkled in tapioca flour, deep fried, and then cooked in a seasoned salted egg yolk sauce in this Singaporean hawker dish (dry version). You can also opt for the saucier version, both tastes just as good and you’ll be licking what’s left off your fingers. The crab meat is so juicy and succulent. The salted egg taste is a complex taste that lingers on your taste bud.
It’s a dish that requires a lot of patience to consume, so if you’re a picky eater, this might not be the food for you. But we promise once you get through the nitty gritty, it’s so worth it. Imagine a thick sauce coating the crab shell and meat, full of umami, salty but not overpowering. Creamy, a little spicy, and mildly sweet, it’s an amazing delicacy and we highly recommend you try it should you get the chance. A close competitor to the Chilli Crab, it’s highly raved by Singaporeans.
Crab eating is a messy but enjoyable experience that is best done with your fingers to separate the meat from the cartilage and claws. You’ll need enough finger bowls filled with weak tea and sliced lemons, as well as plenty of paper napkins and a couple of nutcrackers. It’s an experience you shouldn’t miss out on when you visit Singapore and we promise there’s a lot more local dishes you can devour here.
If you’re not feeling like being in the heat and crowd, you can also enjoy your crabs in the comfort of your own home/hotel! We recommend using a crab delivery Singapore service to have these amazing delicacies delivered right to your doorstep. There are more options such as coffee pork ribs, braised pork knuckle bee hoon, sambal kang kong and cereal prawns.
Enjoy your stay in Singapore and indulge in our different crab delicacies and local favorites while you’re here! We promise it’s worth it.