Hello there! If you’re visiting Singapore, one of the “must try” dishes is definitely Chilli Crab. It’s one of the special dishes peculiar to Singapore and most tourists gush about how delicious it is.
Chilli crab in Singapore actually comes in various flavors. There’s the traditional Chilli Crab which is consists of a huge crab lathered with delicious chilli sauce, as well as variants like Black Pepper Crab and Salted Egg Yolk Crab which taste equally good, if not better.
Now, before we discuss where you can eat the best chilli crab in Singapore, there are four little chilli crab facts you should know.
First, the dish itself is not too spicy, despite the word “chilli”. In fact, the chilli crab sauce only has a very small hint of spice. In fact, chilli crab sauce is technically sweet and spicy chilli tomato sauce, mixed with pieces of cooked egg.
It has a rich consistency and thick gravy, which enhance the flavor of the crab meat.
Second, Singaporean chilli crab comes with breaded buns called “Man Tou”, which is Chinese for “bun”. These buns are typically steamed and are absolutely delicious when dipped in the chilli crab sauce. So make it a point to order “Man Tou” with your chilli crab and enjoy it together! Alternatively, if you prefer, you can also enjoy the crab with rice.
Third, it’s useful to understand a bit of history of about chilli crabs here in Singapore. The chilli crab dish was produced by a prominent Singapore Chef, Madam Chef Yam Tian and her spouse, Lim Choon Ngee in 1950. Since then, it has evolved into a national dish favored by locals and tourists alike.
Fourth, the crabs are generally sold on the basis of their weights which are measured in grams and kilograms. It’s useful to remember that the average market price of chilli crabs range from $30 to $80 (in Singapore dollars), depending on the crab type and the restaurant.
Alright then, let’s move on to the main topic of this article – where can you eat the best chilli crab in Singapore?
There are several restaurants well known for chilli crab:
- Jumbo Seafood Restaurant
- Long Beach Seafood Restaurant
- No Signboard Seafood
- Palm Beach Seafood Restaurant
- Red House Seafood Restaurant
- Hua Yu Wee Seafood Restaurant
These five restaurants are the mainstays of chilli crab in Singapore. You can expect huge crowds lining up to enjoy the crabs every weekend. Most of them are centrally located and are within the vicinity of major tourist attractions.
Let’s talk about each of these restaurants in turn.
1. Jumbo Seafood Restaurant
Easily the most famous chilli crab restaurant in Singapore, Jumbo Seafood has its main branch at East Coast Parkway, whilst other branches are near Boat Quay, Clarke Quay and Dempsey Hill, all of which are major tourist destinations.
Jumbo was initially located at the East Coast of Singapore, before it went on expansion mode and set up restaurants all over the city.
It is well known for its traditional chilli crab, as well as its plethora of good Chinese seafood dishes. Other favorites include the black pepper crab and cereal prawns. You can also try the garlic scallops and drunken prawns.
Tip. A quick tip from a Singaporean (me). Jumbo Seafood is often seen as “too touristy” amongst the locals. If you’re one of those who want a truly authentic, local chilli crab experience – then Jumbo may not be your first choice.It IS however, the first choice amongst expatriates here. Many, many Caucasians I’ve worked with over the course of my career have visited Jumbo at least once in their work stint in Singapore.
Think of Jumbo as your “initiation rite” into the chilli crab scene in Singapore. Try it once, a couple of times, then explore other options!
The other point I’ve to highlight is the service quality. Because Jumbo is so HUGELY popular, you can expect poorer standards of customer service or attention. That’s not to say the staff are rude or anything, but – as with any commercial enterprise – expect a bit less attention and customised service compared to other locales.
Address (Main Branch):
Block 1206 East Coast Parkway, #01-07/08 East Coast Seafood Centre, Singapore 449883
Telephone Number: +65 6442-3435
2. Long Beach Seafood Restaurant
Long Beach is another household name in chilli crabs here in Singapore.
Besides the excellent chilli crabs (some say its better than Jumbo), you can get their signature black pepper crab, curry crab, herbal prawns, garlic clams and wasabi prawns.
Many of my friends mention that Jumbo tends to be more touristy. In particular, the Long Beach restaurant at Dempsey is a better choice compared to the Jumbo at Boat Quay or Clarke Quay vicinity.
Address (Main Branch): 1018 East Coast Parkway, East Coast Parkway Squash Centre, Singapore 449877
Telephone Number: +65 6445 8833
3. Palm Beach Seafood Restaurant
Palm Beach is definitely less well known as a chilli crab destination compared to Jumbo and Long Beach.
Nevertheless, it has some great “must try” of its own that are pretty reowned. For example, other than the traditional chili crab, be sure to try the Black Pepper Crab, You Tiao (fried dough sticks), prawn Tang Hoon and Creamy Crab.
Palm Beach also has some modern, award winning dishses such as the “gingerly giant prawns” (no idea how they chose that name, but hey – it tastes good).
Finally, if you want a magnificent view whilst you eat your chilli crab, there is no better place in Singapore than Palm Beach.
The restaurant is situated at One Fullerton, which will give you a view of the Marina Bay Sands and its environs. This is a really good place for business dinners and family gatherings.
Address: #01-09, One Fullerton, 1 Fullerton Road, Singapore 049213
Telephone Number: +65 6336 8118
4. No Signboard Seafood Restaurant
No Signboard certainly has an interesting name, doesn’t it? I first tried No Signboard at its Esplanade branch. Granted, the place has some good dishes (besides its mandatory chili crab), such as its signature white pepper crab, black pepper Crab, broccoli scallops and garlic steamed prawns.
The restaurant also serves chilli crab with various level of spiciness. It’s also a standout because of its white pepper crabs, a dish that is not really found in other restaurants. In addition, I think the restaurant staffs are some of the friendlier ones you’ll find in this list of chilli crab restaurants.
However, one of the common complaints I hear about No Signboard Seafood is the fact that its very expensive. Or rather, its not good value for money.
Basically, for the quality of the crabs and food it serves (as compared to Jumbo and Long Beach), the prices are considered exorbitant.
To be fair, if you’re not particular about how crabs taste, I think you’ll find the crabs at No Signboard Seafood every bit as tasty as those at Jumbo and Long Beach.
But to those who have eaten crabs day in and day out (i.e. local Singaporeans), I think we can tell that the value of the food is not as great.
But don’t take my word for it, just compare the reviews of No Signboard over here.
Address (Main Branch): 8 Raffles Avenue,#01-14/16 The Esplanade Mall, Singapore 039802
Telephone Number: +65 6336 9959
5. Red House Seafood Restaurant
Ok, the next best place to eat chilli crab in Singapore has got to be Red House Seafood restaurant.
This place is known for its freshly served crabs and the exclusive flavor of its red chilli sauce. Its other famous dishes include black pepper crab, tofu with mushrooms and conpoy, as well as its signature BBQ squid, crispy baby squid and golden calamari strips.
Tip. A final tip from a Singaporean. I’ve heard that customer service at Red House Seafood can be bad. Whilst this can be expected on busy nights, I’d think that basic courtesy is still required. The story over here seems to say that the waiter actually threw down a birthday cake on the table, after a couple of guests finished their dinner.
I don’t mean to lash out at Red House Seafood, but I always feel that service is the most important thing. People come for the food, but they will return for the service.
Address (Main Branch):#01-14 The Quayside
60 Robertson Quay, Singapore 238252
Telephone Number: +65 6735 7666
6. Hua Yu Wee Seafood Restaurant
The final chilli crab restaurant I’d like to mention is a very local place called Hua Yu Wee.
Tucked away in Upper East Coast Road, it’s a restaurant in an old bungalow. You’ll get to enjoy your crab in a really traditional Singaporean setting.
This restaurant is probably completely non-touristy. So if you want really localized seafood and crabs, this is a great place to go to.
Some of the best dishes here include the chilli crab, stir fried long beans with crispy fried shrimps, Feng Sha Chicken (roasted and deboned chicken), as well as the “Lala Fried Hor Fun” (Rice noodles). You might also want to try the “Hay Zho”(crunchy waterchestnut and sweet prawn pieces). Prices are VERY reasonable here compared to the tourist traps like Jumbo and Long Beach (~ only $38 per person).
I fondly remember Hua Yu Wee as a place I used to go to in my childhood and it remains one of my favorites for chilli crab in Singapore!
Address: 462 Upper East Coast Rd, Singapore 466508
Telephone Number: +65 6442 9313
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Hua-Yu-Wee/168868969797523
Wrapping Up …
And that’s it! A round up of the best places to eat chilli crab in Singapore. Do take note that the restaurants listed above are extremely popular and need to be booked in advance.
If you’re in Singapore for a day or two, you want to make sure you book ahead of time, or get a friend to do it. Can you imagine going to the restaurant to enjoy the chilli crab but getting turned away due to lack of seats? Not a nice feeling. So please book in advance.
Also, as recommended, always try the traditional chilli crab first, with “Man Tou” steamed buns – that’s really the best way to eat it. Then you can order the other more exotic crab combinations, e.g. black pepper crab, curry crab and salted egg yolk crab are very popular dishes too.
And don’t forget to try out other Chinese dishes, which are great for rounding out your meal.
If you’ve any questions or suggestions about chilli crabs in Singapore, feel free to drop me a note over here. I’ll be glad to answer your queries! Until next time, enjyou your chilli crabs!