Singapore is renowned for its incredible cuisine, and chilli crab is at the top of the list. The story goes that the dish was created by Madam Cher Yam Tian in the 1950s when she added bottled chilli sauce and tomato sauce to her stir-fried crabs. She and her husband later opened Palm Beach Seafood where her signature recipe was all the rage. Now an iconic national dish, chilli crab is a staple at eateries all over the island. We’ve rounded up some of the best places to eat chilli crab in Singapore from swanky seafood restaurants to easy-going zi char spots and upgraded hawker stalls.
If you’re on a mission to find the best chilli crab in Singapore, you may as well start at the source. Palm Beach originally started as a few tables along the Kallang River where Cher Yam Tian and her husband cooking seafood over a charcoal fire. It’s now located on Fullerton Road, and although Madam Cher left long ago, the restaurant still offers the same chilli crab that made it famous, albeit with a few tweaks. Expect rich saucy goodness and sweet, tender crab meat.
Palm Beach, 1 Fullerton Road, One Fullerton #01-09, Singapore 049213. p. +65 6336 8118. Open daily 12pm – 2:30pm, 5:30pm – 10:30pm
When Madam Cher and her husband migrated to New Zealand, they left shares of the restaurant to their son Roland Lim, and he used those to open his own restaurant that now serves seafood, Cantonese cuisine, and tim sum dishes. The chilli crab is inspired by his mother’s recipe, but with a lighter and milder sauce and Sri Lankan crabs packed with roe. He also serves other dishes from his mother’s repertoire including sambal mussels and cockles with a homemade chilli sauce.
Roland Restaurant, Block 89, Marine Parade Central #06-750, Singapore 440089. p. +65 6440 8205. Open Mon – Sat 11:30am – 2:30pm, 6pm – 10:30pm, Sun & PH 11am – 2:30pm, 6pm – 10:30pm
Dragon Phoenix Restaurant
Chef Hooi Kok Wai was one of the first chefs to tweak Madam Cher’s chilli crab recipe and add some of the elements we see in many modern versions today like ginger, vinegar, and wispy eggs. He still runs the kitchen at Dragon Phoenix and stays true to his sweet, spicy and sour version of the dish. The latest incarnation of the restaurant at the Novotel Hotel Clarke Quay is a stylish spot to indulge in a bit of culinary heritage.
Dragon Phoenix Restaurant, 177A River Valley Road, Novotel Clarke Quay #06-00 (and various locations), Singapore 179031. p. +65 6339-3368. Open Mon – Sat 11am – 3pm, 6pm – 11pm, Sun 10am – 4pm, 6pm – 11pm
Keng Eng Kee Seafood
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Looking forward to showcase our local cuisine when the culinary world assemble next week in Singapore! repost via @instarepost20 from @theworlds50best Keng Eng Kee Seafood (KEK Seafood) was born in 1970 when a couple migrated to Singapore from Hainan Island to open a Chinese stir-fry hawker stall. The couple’s daughter and son-in-law, a Malaysian-born chef, later took on the business. Now, the third generation is running KEK and continues the legacy by safeguarding the family values and recipes, but also by evolving local Singaporean cuisine. Through dishes that have been passed down, such as the iconic KEK Chilli Crab and Prawn Paste Chicken, and new favourites like Coffee Pork Ribs and Salted Egg Yolk Prawns, KEK Seafood has been promoting Singapore’s food culture abroad from Copenhagen to New York and San Sebastian to Manila. Check out a couple of their dishes which will be served at the Chefs’ Feast at Tangjong Beach Club in celebration of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2019. #Worlds50Best #Celebration #Singapore #Hawker #HawkerStall #Foodie #Travel #Seafood #ChilliCrab #PorkRibs @visit_singapore @tanjongbeachclub
Ask any local what the best crab restaurant in Singapore is and they may just tell you about Keng Eng Kee Seafood. Then again, chances are good they’ll want to keep this gem all to themselves. The place has a real hawker stall vibe, but the food is so good it recently earned a Michelin Plate. The chilli crab comes in a sweet, tangy sauce with hints of spice and ample sized crab. Other great dishes include the fried salted egg crab and coffee pork ribs.
Keng Eng Kee Seafood, Blk 124, Bukit Merah Lane 1 #01-136, Singapore 150124. p. +65 6272 1038. Open daily 12pm – 2:30pm, 5pm to 10pm
Mellben Seafood is one of the most famous crab restaurants in Singapore not just for their chilli crab, but also the other 14 versions of the crustacean on the menu. The chilli crab is a must-order, especially if you like your sauce a little bit on the spicier side. However, they can adjust the spice levels to match your heat tolerance. Other great dishes include the fragrant curry crab and hearty claypot crab bee hoon soup.
Blk 232, Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3 #01-1222, Singapore 560232 (and various locations). p. +65 6285 6762. Open daily 5pm – 10:30pm
It may be a chain, but Jumbo Seafood is anything but generic. The owners actually work with the Singapore Tourism Board to promote Singaporean dishes like chilli crab. Their version includes a hefty portion of meaty crab with a rich sauce that includes ground peanuts to add texture and another dimension of flavour. They have six branches in Singapore including the first one that opened in 1987 at East Coast Seafood Centre next to the water.
Jumbo Seafood, Block 1206 East Coast Parkway #01-07/08, Singapore 449883 (and various locations). p. +65 6442 3435. Open Mon – Fri 5pm – 11:45pm, Sat, Sun & PH 11:30am – 12am
Tunglok Seafood has three branches in Singapore, but the Orchard Central locale is probably the most conveniently located for out-of-town visitors. The chefs add orange juice and thin orange slices to their chilli crab for a unique twist that gives the sauce a citrusy zing. Other popular dishes here include the black pepper crab, deep-fried prawns with salted egg yolk, and lobster with ginger and onion.
Tunglok Seafood, 181 Orchard Road, Orchard Central #11-05, Singapore 238896 (and various locations). p. +65 6834 4888. Open Mon – Sat 11:30am – 3pm, 6pm – 10:30pm, Sun & PH 10am – 3pm, 6pm – 10:30pm
Long Beach is an oldie but a goodie, especially if you like your chilli crab with a bit of heat. The sauce is spicy, slightly salty, and slightly sweet, and goes perfectly with the luscious Sri Lankan crab meat. Order up some steamed or deep fried mantou buns to mop up all the sauce. The restaurant is also the birthplace of black pepper crab, so that should definitely be on your must-try list.
Long Beach, 25 Dempsey Road, Singapore 249670 (and various locations). p. +65 6323 2222. Open daily 11am – 3pm, 5pm – 1am
Red House Seafood
Serving up chilli crabs since 1976, Red House is one of the oldest and most established seafood restaurants in Singapore. We love the focus on sustainability with crabs coming from ethical suppliers in Sri Lanka and the British Isles. The chilli crab features fresh Sri Lankan crabs in a gorgeous sauce featuring tomato, roe, strands of egg, and just a touch of vinegar. It comes with your choice of steamed or fried mantou buns.
Red House Seafood, 68 Prinsep Street, Singapore 188661 (and various locations). p. +65 6336 6080. Open daily 12pm – 2:30pm, 5pm – 10pm
No Signboard Seafood
As you might guess from the name, No Signboard started as a humble hawker stall with no signboard. Since the 1970s, it’s grown into a popular restaurant chain that’s famous for its crab dishes. For the chilli crab you can specify your level of heat, which makes this a great option for groups who want to accommodate those who like it spicy and those who like it sweet. Be sure to try the white pepper crab that originated here.
No Signboard Seafood, 414 Geylang Road, Singapore 389392 (and various locations). p. +65 6842 3415. Open daily 11am – 1:30pm