Crabs with a Bite

Singapore

Chilli Crab is a Singaporean favorite that features mud crabs stir-fried in a sweet, savory, and spicy tomato-based gravy. It was said to be invented by Madam Cher Yam Tian in the 1950s, using only bottled chili sauce and tomato sauce. Today, the Chilli Crab customarily contains sambal (hot sauce made of chilis, herbs, and spices), lemon juice, vinegar, tomato paste, and egg ribbons. This is a tweaked recipe by Masterchef Hooi Kok Wah, one of the four “Heavenly Kings” of the Chinese culinary world. Indulge in the quintessential Singaporean dish as you go through our list of the city’s best Chilli Crab! Remember to weigh your crustaceans to avoid overspending, though. You don’t want to feel crabby when the bill arrives! Lastly, get a plate of Mantou (饅頭, Chinese steamed buns) to complete your Chilli Crab experience!

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Updated 2 years ago

Long Beach Seafood (East Coast Seafood Centre)

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Singapore, Singapore • Recommendation • 

The heat is on at Long Beach Seafood! A popular choice for being extra spicy, their Chilli Crab puts the spotlight on fresh Sri Lankan crabs drenched in an impeccably flavorful gravy. It’s perfect for scraping your Mantou in! Save some room and order the Black Pepper Crab (hard-shell crab fried in black pepper sauce), too—another Singaporean delicacy created by Long Beach Seafood.

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JUMBO Seafood (East Coast Seafood Centre, Singapore)

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Singapore, Singapore • Recommendation • 

Hungry foodies who aren’t too keen on spicy food will love JUMBO Seafood’s Chilli Crab. Theirs is slightly sweeter than most, with a spiciness that’s almost non-existent. The line wait can be quite long so make a reservation to get your hands on the delicious dish as soon as possible!

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Red House Seafood

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Singapore, Singapore • Recommendation • 

Follow Red House Seafood’s loyal following to the riverside eatery for a taste of their Chilli Crab! Its sweet sauce is made rich by using fresh tomatoes and adding crab roe. The restaurant also offers a delectable Western-inspired Black Pepper Crab, which is a great introductory meal for more sensitive palates.

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Roland Restaurant

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Singapore, Singapore • Recommendation • 

Roland Restaurant is operated by the son of Madam Cher Yam Tian. He makes it a point to stay true to his mother’s recipe, but also puts a lighter and sweeter twist to the dish at the same time. Situated on the sixth floor of a lackluster parking lot, the joint is a bit run down, but still gets packed during peak hours. Come here on a weeknight to enjoy old-school Chilli Crab!

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Blue Lotus Chinese Eating House

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Singapore, Singapore • Recommendation • 

Blue Lotus Chinese Eating House stands out in the game with their Chilli Pomelo Crab. Every bite is owed to the entrée’s zesty sauce, which is a perfect blend of lemongrass, curry leaves, ginger flowers, and, of course, pomelo pulp.

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Hua Yu Wee

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Singapore, Singapore • Recommendation • 

Hua Yu Wee is the longest standing bungalow-style seafood eatery along Upper East Coast Road. Locals keep coming back here for its savory Chilli Crab, which comes with a kick that’s ultra satisfying—for those who can take it, at least! The restaurant is also known for its 1970s vibe, so relish in the atmosphere of yesteryear as you devour plates of Chilli Crab and Chinese comfort food!

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No Signboard Seafood (Geylang Road)

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Singapore, Singapore • Recommendation • 

No Signboard Seafood lets you control your food’s level of spiciness, making it easy for all types of diners to enjoy Chilli Crab! Don’t stop there, though, as they also serve White Pepper Crab. Here, they make it just right—strong and peppery, without overpowering the sweetness of the crab meat. Eating everything on your plate can get pretty messy, so skip wearing anything white when you visit. Also, pray that Singapore’s culinary gods are on your side before ordering because experiences here are said to be hit-or-miss!

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Mellben Seafood (Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3)

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Singapore, Singapore • Recommendation • 

Mellben Seafood dishes out one of Singapore’s best Chilli Crabs, using giant crabs cooked in rich, thick, spicy gravy. The shop also does an outstanding Claypot Crab Bee Hoon Soup (crab with vermicelli noodle soup), which has been acclaimed by critics left and right. Their exceptional Butter Crab also ranks high in our book, with a sauce that will have you licking the plate clean!

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Palm Beach Seafood Restaurant

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Singapore, Singapore • Recommendation • 

After selling her famous Chilli Crab from a pushcart for several years, Madam Cher Yam Tian transitioned her business into a full-fledged establishment by opening Palm Beach at One Fullerton. Although the chef is no longer at the helm of the restaurant, it still produces the same high-quality Chilli Crab with tender meat that perfectly complements the savory gravy!

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Froth

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Singapore, Singapore • Recommendation • 

The classic Chilli Crab may be too much for a lunch break, so head to Ascott Raffles Place for a quick fix of the Singaporean delicacy! Froth’s signature Chilli Crab Pasta, made of linguine in Chilli Crab sauce with soft-shell crab meat and fried Mantou, hits the spot for a midday pick-me-up.

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Seafood Paradise at Marina Bay Sands

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Singapore, Singapore • Recommendation • 

Seafood Paradise at Marina Bay Sands is the ideal place to get a no-fail serving of Chilli Crab in a quiet, refined setting. A well-balanced gravy complements the plump crabs, which your waiter will be glad to de-shell for you. The restaurant also serves a scrumptious Creamy Butter Crab prepared with lemongrass, chilli padi (Bird’s Eye Chili), curry leaves, and white pepper, topped with coconut crumbs.

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Dragon Phoenix Restaurant (Novotel Clarke Quay)

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Singapore, Singapore • Recommendation • 

Located in Novotel Clark Quay, the capacious Dragon Phoenix Restaurant still holds the signature hot and sour Chilli Crab recipe by Masterchef Hooi Kok Wai. The restaurant features private rooms and banquet facilities, perfect for celebrating the most special occasions with family and friends!

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VLV Singapore

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Singapore, Singapore • Recommendation • 

A mix between a modern Chinese restaurant, a bar, and a club lounge, VLV Singapore has everything you need for a high energy evening. Stop by the culinary joint and pre-game with some Singapore Chilli Crab Buns, which are de-shelled crabs cooked in Chilli Crab gravy loaded in Mantou bread pots.

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Labyrinth

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Singapore, Singapore • Recommendation • 

Take your Chilli Crab experience up a notch with one Michelin-starred Labyrinth’s innovative Chilli Crab Ice Cream! A part of the restaurant’s signature menu, it features a deep-fried soft-shell crab perched on a scoop of Chilli Crab ice cream, topped with Mantou crumbs. It’s an unusual take on ice cream, but you know what they say: don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it!

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