Monday, February 18, 2013

Singapore slinging - part 2: Singapore chilli crab at Jumbo Seafood Restaurant

It was an odd admission to some: that I’d never tried Singapore chilli crab before. But if this was ever going to change, there was no better place for it than in Singapore where I spent a few sweaty days in December last year.

I adore mud crabs, especially the meaty claws, although I tend to eat more blue swimmer crabs in Australia. My favourite eating style is, without doubt, Cantonese style ginger and shallot crab with e-fu thick, soft egg noodles to soak up all the juices and sauces.

Singapore chilli crab from Jumbo Seafood Restaurant, The Riverwalk, Singapore
We met an expat friend at one of the many Jumbo Seafood Restaurants across Singapore, which was in turn, recommended by one of his local workmates. Beers ordered, we got down to business with plastic bibs around our necks.

The market priced Singapore chilli crab arrived to the table in impressively quick time, with finger bowls and crab crackers. The large black pot held a whole crab, cracked and in pieces, with lots of the tomato-based chilli sauce.

It was all hands on deck with the mud crab a little smaller than its Queensland cousins. However, the depth of flavour in the sauce - not just sweetness and very mild chilli, but an array of spices - was most satisfying.

Deep fried man tou buns
We had to get a few orders of the small, fluffy, steamed man tou buns - both plain steamed and deep fried - to soak up the chilli crab sauce.

Steamed man tou buns 

Singapore black pepper crab
For variety, we also ordered a crab in the other popular Singaporean cooking style: black pepper. With a much drier sauce of mostly cracked black pepper, this was a little surprising in its heat and spice - indeed, more spicy and lip burning than the chilli crab.

I'm a bit torn choosing a favourite of the Singapore chilli or black pepper crab, so I'll revert to ginger and shallot, which probably allows the true flavour of crab shine through better than the spicier options.

Jellyfish salad
We also ordered a starter of jellyfish salad, which came heavily and appropriately dressed in lots of roasted sesame oil and raw coriander.

For those unfamiliar with jellyfish, it comes in translucent, light brown strips without any real trace of the sea but with a sometimes challenging texture of soft crispness.

Mee goreng - stir fried noodles
Crab-fest as it was, we added some carbohydrates and vegetables to the dinner order for balance. The mee goreng noodles were pretty unexciting in flavour with prawns, egg and bean sprouts tossed through. There was also a generous plate of sambal kangkong water spinach - a Malaysian favourite.

I'm not sure Jumbo Seafood Restaurant was the best Singapore chilli crab available in Singapore, but there you have it - my first Singapore chilli crab.


Tina @ bitemeshowme said...

I adore jumbos. I too went there for the first time last year. I'm a fan of the fried man tou buns with the singapore chilli crab. I find the taste is much more clean than it is here, but none the less the ones in sydney do satisfy all cravings.

Anonymous said...

My only experience with chilli crab was delicious but too messy to repeat on a consistent basis. I've never had jellyfish, looks interesting.

Shanshan Lam said...

LOVE Singaporean chilli crab! Get all that crab meat in ma belly now!

milkteaxx said...

i love the deep fried man tou with the singaporean chilli crab! yum!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

I'd imagine the title of the best chilli crab in Singapore would be a hard fought one! But one fun to test out :)

Gourmet Getaways said...

Oh I can't wait for my April Singapore trip... so much food to try out and so little time :0!

I loved the look of the fried bread, I know this will be a favourite of Mr GG's

Julie said...

heard nothing but good things about Jumbo. My last visit was to Long beach but keen to try Jumbos :)

sooks said...

My vote goes to long beach!

Tina said...

Hi Tina - I can't help but order ginger and shallot all the time in Sydney...

Hi lateraleating - Crab s such hard work. Sometimes worth the effort. The texture of jellyfish might take some getting used to but I love it.

Hi Shan Shan - Mmmm, claw meat...

Hi milkteaxx - Such a great mop for the sauces, isn't it?

Hi Lorraine - Yes but I only had the chance to try one :(

Hi Goumet Getaways - So little time was my main problem...

Hi Julie - And me vice versa!

Hi sook - I know! But our friend took us here... Next time!

Rita (mademoiselle délicieuse) said...

Cherry popped, haha! I swear half the fun of Singapore chilli crab is swathing mantou through that sweet, tomato-ey sauce with chilli. Best stuff mixed through rice.

Neil Chung said...

Yummm! Your post brings back good memories at Jumbo. I was just there 3 weeks before your post!Looks like I missed out on the fried man tou buns and pepper crab.

Tina said...

Hi Rita - Oooh yes, indeed. I actually liked the steamed mantou best :)

Hi Neil - I can't wait to try more chilli crabs next time I'm in Singapore :)


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