Ask where the best Chilli Crab is in Singapore, and you may probably get a debate with varying supporters of Roland, Red House, No Signboard, Long Beach, to Jumbo.
I would say Mellben at Ang Mo Kio is a popular and safe choice for finger-licking-good Chilli Crabs and Claypot Crab Bee Hoon.
From a humble stall along Commonwealth Avenue in 1979, the family-run Mellben Seafood has established itself as a well-known seafood destination in Singapore.
In 1985, founder Melvin Soon partnered with Benson to launch Mellben Seafood Catering Service. Today, their network has a total of 8 outlets, including Uncle Leong’s Seafood (Yeah, they are related).
The restaurant is also listed in the Singapore Michelin Guide with a “Michelin Plate”.
The open-air crab shell-adorned restaurant in Ang Mo Kio is located quite distance away from the nearest MRT station, at a kopitiam in one of the HDB estates.
Some people brave the distance for a taste of their heavenly crab dishes, but it is best to call ahead to make a reservation.
Otherwise you will face with a long wait, especially during the weekends.
Almost everybody comes here for the crabs.
Choose from any of the 15 ways their in-house chef freshly prepares the star crustacean, from the classic Chili Crab to Black Pepper Crab, Butter Crab, Curry Sauce Crab, Salted Egg Yolk Crab, Shimmering Sands Crab, Claypot Crab Vermicelli Soup, Laksa Crab, and many more. (The Laksa Crab is exclusively available at their Opal and Pasir Ris Branches.)
Mellben’s Chili Crab is arguably one of the best in Singapore, served using large crabs in a thick, spicy and slightly sweet chili sauce. Level of spice can be adjusted according to your preference.
It is understandable that preference for Chilli Crabs can leave people divided: some may prefer spicier sauce, while others would like more of that sweet-ketchup taste.
Mellben’s style is very starchy, eggy and gooey, ie a lot of sauce that you have more than enough to sweep your mantou.
I won’t say it was spicy, but had more sweet-savoury notes and quite well-balanced. I actually still liked the sauce very much.
Crabs were thankfully fleshy and succulently-sweet, more substantial than some of the recent ones I tried.
However, a medium sized portion could cost you about $100 or even more, and this would be seen as ‘touristy-pricey’, especially when it is at a non-airconditioned space.
The other thing is, the fried mantou were sent much earlier than the crabs, and therefore it lost much of the crispiness by the time the star arrived.
The Claypot Crab Bee Hoon Soup aka Claypot Crab Vermicelli Soup is also a must-try. You may have to wait for 45 minutes, depending on the time you come.
Served piping hot, the milky broth is rich and aromatic with its inherently sweet crabs and smooth glass noodles.
If you are lucky, the crab meat in your crab is “solid”. As they say “Not 100% Guaranteed Solid Crab”.
They also offer live seafood and a variety of zi char dishes.
Average check per person is $50 – $60. Prices are not listed in the menu, so you may want to check before ordering before you end up with a shock.
Mellben Seafood 龙海鲜螃蟹王
232 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3, St 22, #01-1222, Singapore 560232
Tel: +65 6285 6762
Opening Hours: 5pm – 10:30pm (Mon – Sun)