Singapore, Part II: Chilli Crab

Chili Crab at Long Beach Seafood Restaurant, Singapore

You cannot leave Singapore without trying chilli crab. I think it might be an official law or something. And as we all know, in Singapore you don’t want to break the law, especially one as delicious as this.

I first tasted chilli crab at Long Beach Seafood Restaurant during another trip to Singapore back in January. Basically it’s an amazing mess of fresh crab meat drenched in a soupy, spicy sauce of tomatoes, eggs, and chilli paste. Long Beach uses giant Sri Lankan crabs and serves them in their already half-cracked shells. As soon as I took my first bite, I could only think of one thing: I had to drag Jim and his spice-craving taste buds back to try it. And nowhere else would do. Long Beach Seafood Restaurant, with its fun, family-style setting on the East Coast Seafood Center waterfront, is the perfect place to get crabby.

And saucy. Eating chilli crab is a true immersion process, as the orange gravy always insinuates its way into every pore of my hands while I wrestle the meat out of its shell. After about 30 napkins I’m forced to give up and turn my attention to the fried, dense buns called mantou that accompany the dish, using them to sop up the silky sauce.

A quick note about napkins: As we walked around Singapore, many people tried to give us small packs of tissues printed with various advertisements. At first I wondered if my nose was running, but then I realized that there was a more practical inspiration behind this promotional blitz. Restaurant owners and hawker center vendors supply only one sealed, wet napkin at the beginning of each meal. After that, you’re on your own. So hold onto those free packs of tissues. Believe me, you’ll need them.

By the way, Jim loved the chilli crab. Did I call it or what?

Located at 1018 East Coast Parkway, T: 6445 8833. There are a few other outlets of Long Beach Seafood Restaurant around town, but this is the original. Crabs are priced by the weight.

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