Chilli Crabs is considered one of Singapore’s national dishes and for a good reason.
Our geographical position makes it a great place for delicious fresh seafood, and the crab sauce with all its sweetness and sensuous-spiciness is an indication of our colourful culture.
Some of the places you can find Chilli Crabs in Singapore include Palm Beach Seafood Restaurant, Momma Kongs’, Keng Eng Kee Seafood, Mr Crab Seafood Restaurant, Dancing Crab, Majestic Bay, Uncle Leong, Hua Yu Wee, Mattar Road Seafood, Blue Lotus, Kelly Jie, and New Ubin Seafood.
Here are 9 other restaurants you can find sumptuous Chilli Crabs:
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)
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).
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.
Their style of crab sauce 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 succulent-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. Mellben Seafood (Ang Mo Kio)
Red House Seafood – Grand Copthorne Waterfront
Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel (Level 2), 392 Havelock Rd, Singapore 169663
Tel: +65 6735 7666
Opening Hours: 12pm – 2:30pm Last Order 2pm, 5pm – 10pm Last Order 9:30pm (Mon – Sun)
No trip to Red House Seafood is complete without sampling its signature dish Crab in Red House Chilli Stew, a tangier and slightly sweeter version of the iconic Singaporean dish.
Choose among three types of crabs – Sri Lankan Mud Crab, Scottish Brown Crab or Alaskan King Crab – to customise your dish.
The firm, meaty claws of the Sri Lankan Mud Crab and the sweet and delicate Alaskan King Crab are recommended for chili crab.
One thing that strikes me was the amount of eggy sauce given – the crabs are literally quite drowned in it. Good for those who loves saucy crabs.
If sweet tangy tomato-like sauce without much spiciness is your kind of thing, then you probably enjoy Red House’s version.
Plus point: It does not become overly gooey or clog up even if you leave the dish there for a while.
No Signboard Seafood
8 Raffles Avenue #01-14/16 The Esplanade Mall Singapore 039802
Tel: +65 6336 9959
Opening Hours: 11am – 2.30pm, 5.30pm – 10.30pm (Mon – Fri), 11am – 10.30pm (Sat, Sun & PH)
Famed for its crab and seafood dishes, No Signboard Seafood had humble beginnings in 1970s when founder Mdm Ong Kim Hoi started a seafood hawker stall at Mattar Road Hawker Centre.
You often find tomato ketchup in other versions of the Singapore Chilli Crab, but No Signboard Seafood’s take is created with an own Peranakan-inspired recipe with herbs and spices. The recipe has been maintained over the years.
The Chilli Sri Lanka Crab with Macaroni is priced at $10 per 100g for medium crab, $13.80 per 100g for large crab, $128 for Dungeness crab.
What you get is a slurp-worthy and rather eggy version of the sauce, slightly on the sweet side and not too spicy.
Worthy of mention are the mantou which are larger than usual, no less crispy and still very fluffy on the inside.
Interesting to know is that the crab sauce is also wok-fried together with macaroni, which is quite an unusual take. No Signboard Seafood (Esplanade Mall)
#03-09/10, 10 Paya Lebar Road, Singapore 409057
Tel: +65 6909 8933
Opening Hours: Lunch 11:30pm – 3pm, Dinner 6pm – 10:30pm (Mon – Sat)
Lunch 10pm – 3pm, Dinner 6pm – 10:30pm (Sun)
Whether you’re a first-timer or a long-time follower of the TungLok brand, the TungLok Seafood Chilli Crab ($7.80 per 100g) comes highly recommended.
Aside from the fresh crabs with chunky and juicy meat, what makes this rendition unique is how the sauce combines tomato sauce and fresh-squeezed orange juice to deliver a distinct taste.
You would find that the sauce to be fruitier and even eggier than usual, and so makes it appetising yet not overly rich. The good thing is there is A LOT of sauce, so good that you can even have it on its own.
Of course, it is best appreciated when you dunk those piping hot deep-fried mantou to soak up all that mildly-spicy gravy. TungLok Seafood (Paya Lebar Quarter)
Blk 89 #06-750 Marine Parade Central, Singapore 440089
Tel: +65 6440 8205
Opening Hours: Lunch 11:30am – 2:30pm (Mon – Sat), 11am – 2:30pm (Sun, PH)
Dinner 6pm – 10:30pm (Mon – Sun)
You cannot talk about Chilli Crabs without a mention of Roland Restaurant, known to be the creator of the iconic Chilli Crabs and mecca for crab devotees.
Of course, some other restaurants also do lay claim on that honours, but probably none has “The Year 1956 – Founder Of Chilli Crab” printed on the menu.
The Michelin Guide Singapore has also listed it with a “Michelin Plate”. (On a side note, Olympic champion Joseph Schooling is also said to be a fan of their crabs).
The recipe was created by Mdm Cher herself, and the original version had neither no eggs nor sambal, and served accompanied by mantou for dipping into the sauce.
Compared to most Singaporean seafood restaurants, their chili sauce was more red than orange, and its savoury taste mildly spicy and slightly sweet.
I really enjoyed their sauce, which had a luscious almost gooey texture and mildly-spice kick.
To be honest, I thought some of the other versions I tried had too strong ketchup sweetness which I didn’t really fancy. If I needed to nit-pick on something, I thought the crab meat could be juicier and chunkier. Roland Restaurant (Marine Parade)
Riverside Point #01-01/02, 30 Merchant Road, Singapore 058282
Opening Hours: 12pm – 2:15pm, 6pm – 10:15pm (Mon – Sun)
Won’t be right mentioning about Chilli Crabs without a word of JUMBO Seafood. The brand has been well-known to be a tourist-favourite, and perhaps the first Chilli Crab restaurant that comes to mind for the international market.
JUMBO Seafood had humble beginnings in 1987, operating from a single outlet in East Coast Seafood Centre (now the flagship). It has currently 6 outlets in Singapore and 12 across Asia.
Their award-winning Chilli Crab contains live crabs drenched in a mouth-watering sauce containing a myriad of over 10 different Southeast Asian spices.
The sauce can be described a sweet sourness with subtle eggy fragrance that brings out the freshness of crab.
Diners can choose from Mud Crab (recommended, $9.80 per 100g), Dungeness Crab and Alaskan Crab:
Long Beach Seafood
25 Dempsey Road Singapore 249670
Tel: +65 6323 2222
Opening Hours: 11am – 3pm, 5pm – 1am (Mon – Sun)
Long Beach Seafood first started at Bedok Rest House (1946), a period when it was then one of the few restaurants that served local food. The Black Pepper Crab is apparently said to be a Long Beach creation.
I am not sure if the same applies to other seafood restaurants, but the service staff offered to help de-shell the chilli crabs and ‘dig’ the meat out for us.
Oh, clean hands.
Sure, it takes some of the ‘fun’ out of the struggling and licking, but this provides an easier and convenient way of having crabs.
The crab meat was elegant sweet and moist, and the sauce was rather eggy and had a spicier kick towards the end (in fact spicier than most of the average out there).
2 Tan Quee Lan Street, #01-03, Singapore 188091 (Bugis MRT)
Tel: +65 8444 2722
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 2:30pm, 5:30pm – 10:30pm (Mon – Sat), 5:30pm – 10:30pm (Sun)
Helmed by the straight-talking Chef Elton Seah, he used to operate Holycrab as a private dinning concept for 7 years, but decided to collaborate with the owners of Joo Bar to set this up.
The Chilli Crabs ($9 per 100g) turned out to be different from the normal ones, boosting a spicier-than-usual sauce that paired well with the sweet flesh of the crab.
The triangular shaped mantous ($4 for 5) are a must-have, deep fried to golden brown, crisp and fluffy. Worked wonders with the chilli crab sauce as well. Holycrab (Tan Quee Lan Street)
PARKROYAL on Beach Road, 7500 Beach Road Singapore 199591
Tel: +65 6505 5710
Opening Hours: Lunch 12pm – 2:30pm, Dinner 6pm – 10pm
Your feasting at Ginger won’t be complete without their much-loved Singapore Chilli Crab and its aromatic wok-hei.
Other than the Singapore Chilli Crab, you may find other varieties available on rotational basis, from Black Pepper to Salted Egg.
Fresh mud crabs and stock are added into sautéed shallots, ginger, garlic and chilies, and fried until the crabs are red and cooked.
The stock is thickened with corn starch, and flavoured with tomatoes and chilies for that sweet-savoury balance. The eggy sauce was especially addictive, now let me go find some mantou.