10 underdog restaurants for chilli crabs

This article was originally published on the global travel search engine Skyscanner.

Craving for chilli crabs in Singapore? If you prefer to skip household labels like Melben and Long Beach, then Skyscanner's 10 under-the-radar eats that deliver their unique brand of chilli crabs, and some with a twist, will give you a culinary edge.

1. New Ubin Seafood

Nestled in the dirty industrial estate of Sin Ming, New Ubin Seafood is certainly no looker when it comes to decor. With food being the focus, its reasonably priced menu offers plenty of good quality dishes. Most foodies crave for the grilled USDA grilled beef served on a wooden cutting block with deep-fried potato wedges. The establishment prides itself in a variety of cooking styles for crabs - pepper, garlic, butter - but the chilli version still comes up top. It is eggier than the other chilli crab dishes we have tried so far, but its balance of sweetness, savouriness and tinge of tartness makes it delightful to eat with noodles, rice or man tous!

Address: 27 Sin Ming Road, 01-174, Sector A, Sin Ming Industrial Estate

2. Keng Eng Kee Seafood Restaurant

Located at the sleepy precinct of Bukit Merah is a Teochew restaurant that prides itself with delish zi char dishes. Keng Eng Kee offers Chinese stir-fry dishes like stir-fried vegetables with oyster sauce, sweet and sour pork and coffee pork ribs. Its other notable dish is the "Moonlight" hor fun (Chinese flat noodles) which is basically a dry noodle fried like char kway teow with a raw egg sitting at its centre, making it unique. But folks who love crabs make a beeline for its chilli crabs. Fried at a very high temperature and doused and tossed with its signature chilli sauce, the cracked crustacean's firm meat is the perfect foil for the gooey, spicy, sweet and savoury concoction. This dish deserves seconds and begs you to mop up the sauce with fried man tous. Don't miss out Keng Eng Kee's wok-hei-filled dishes!

Address: 124 Bukit Merah Lane 1, 01-136

3. Blue Lotus

Not only is it located on the picturesque Sentosa Cove - Quayside Isle to be accurate, this establishment has its legion of fans despite not being a household name. What sets it apart from competition is how the chef has modernised one of Singapore's iconic foods. Here, the giant crabs sit in fragrant gravy that has none of the ketchup flavour we normally taste. Instead, the chef elevates the dish by creating a special gravy concocted with herbs, lemongrass, spices and chilli. The Sri Lankan crab is cooked just right so that the meat stays firm and sweet, garnished with pomelo sacs, making it even more unusual and appetising.

Address: 31 Ocean Way, Quayside Isle, 01 -13, Sentosa

4. No. 3 Crab Delicacy Seafood Restaurant

The owners of No. 3 Crab own a seafood stall in Tekka Market, so it comes to no surprise that they are experts in choosing the best and largest Sri Lankan crabs for their diners! Situated along Outram Road, the shop's three red crab logos on the glass window are hard to ignore. The laksa crab version comes with thick vermicelli but its chilli crabs are undeniably tasty and spicy. The sticky gravy is redolent of many spices primed to assault the tongue. Expect large pincers, firm meat and a tongue-happy experience when you're having a chilli crab meal here.

Address: 265 Outram Road

5. Hua Yu Wee

Housed in a pre-war bungalow that was situated along the shores of a beach long ago, Hua Yu Wee is recognised for its famous Chinese zi char dishes as well as its own signature chilli crabs. The establishment is situated along Upper East Coast Road's suburban landscape, and is typically packed with families during the weekends. The chilli crabs here are famous for its gargantuan size while the thick eggy gravy is flecked with chillies and onions to lend some heat. They certainly buy the best crustaceans to afford diners luscious and firm crab meat, making it a good reason to come back again.

Address: 462 Upper East Coast Road

6. Ban Leong Wah Hoe Seafood

Situated in the leafy Upper Thomson district, Ban Leong Wah Hoe, or more popularly known as "Ban Leong" has a steady stream of dinner patrons all thanks to its expertise in dishing out sumptuous zi char dishes such as prawn paste chicken and salted egg pork ribs. The standout dish is chilli crabs. The meat is dense with natural saltiness from the sea. It is paired with chilli gravy that has the right balance of spiciness, savouriness and sweetness, making every morsel a party in the mouth. While lacking in presentation, the dish's home-cooked style more than makes up for it.

Address: 122 Casuarina Road, Singapore 579510

7. G7 Sinma Live Seafood

G7 started its humble beginnings in 1998 with just a handful of staff. Through maintaining its quality of food and using only the freshest ingredients, it currently has more than 15 chefs and 50 wait staff serving up to 150 dishes. Renowned for its dong po meat and frog porridge, G7's chilli crabs are also to die for. The chilli gravy is particularly spicy, definitely not for the faint hearted. The gooey gravy makes dipping the man tous so enticing, especially after you sink your teeth into the firm crab meat.

G7 Sinma Live Seafood has three outlets, find out more here.

8. Uncle Leong Seafood

This family-friendly restaurant has a new branch tucked in the quiet idyll of Punggol, making it a nice respite from the hubbub of city life. We were told the chilli crabs come in generous portions and they certainly did! The crustacean sits in the middle of the plate surrounded by thick, eggy chilli gravy that looks tantalising. The dish excels in being spicier than other eateries, complemented with a sweetness that isn't cloying but just right. Many diners were seen lapping up the gravy with spoons, so that's a sure-fire sign it's finger-licking good, too!

Uncle Leong Seafood has 3 outlets, find out more here.

9. Kian Seng Seafood

As the evening arrives, this old-fashioned Chinese zi char is greeted by droves of diners turning up. Set up in the 1960s, Kian Seng Seafood is synonymous for its own brand of chilli crabs and other Chinese stir-fry dishes. Diners turn up for the roast suckling pig or braised duck with chestnut fillings. Its chilli crabs are adamantly some of the island's choicest and plumpest crabs delectably paired with more sweet-than-spicy gravy. Its sticky consistency is attributed to the chef's deft hands in balancing eggs and starch without becoming too gelatinous. Definitely some delectable dishes here that you can expect to be cooked in a very home-y style!

Address: Block 4013 Ang Mo Kio Ave 10, Industrial Park 1

10. Sin Hoi Sai

An eating institution in the quiet enclave of Tiong Bahru; Sin Hoi Sai's fans and clientele head here for the tasty Chinese zi char dishes, and of course, its reputable chilli crab. The establishment is not the cheapest for zi char as one can expect to pay a princely sum for it. Achieved through the copious usage of egg with a touch of starch to thicken the sauce, the chilli crab gravy here is amazingly gooey. Its flavour has top notes of onions and chilli with a tinge of sweetness. Mop up the gravy with man tous or have a serving of noodles which most patrons do.

Address: Block 55, Tiong Bahru Road 01-59

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