One of our main goals for our trip to Singapore was to eat chilli crab. Not that we are shallow or anything, but to hell with culture and temples - this was about the food.
I did the teeniest bit of research and came to the conclusion that we should go to the East Coast Seafood Centre. If I had done a teeny bit more research (like, you know, googling or something) I would have had a better idea what I was getting in to. But as it was I was picturing some sort of air-conditioned warehouse with seafood stalls and melamine chairs. And that isn't it at all.
What it actually is, is a long stretch of coastline with a big park, bike paths, open-air barbecues, camping facilities, and a cluster of restaurants. They all seemed to have places where you could sit indoors, but on a dry, hot evening, sitting at an outdoor table as the sun set seemed just the thing.
Operating on the hypothesis that the busiest restaurant was likely to be the best, we settled on Jumbo Seafood.
I ordered fresh lime juice. I think it was Kalamansi lime i.e the delectable calamondin that we have as a bonsai that I put in my G&Ts sometimes. It was just the right amount of tartness and I knew it was going to be just lovely with our food.
It seemed rude to just order crab, so we got a small serve of crispy squid as a starter. Boy was it good! Tiny little squid cooked so hard they were like crunchy bacon, then coated in a sweet, salty, vinegary, chilli-laced sauce. Yum!
And then the main event. It was absolutely wonderful! They were Sri Lankan king crabs; I was disappointed initially, because when I have had chilli crab in Australia it has always been with lovely Australian mudcrabs, which I had considered the pinacle of crab-dom. But these were packed with sweet white meat. I have never seen so much meat to shell! And the shell wasn't unmanageably hard either - getting the meat from the shells was much easier than on most muddies.
I'd seen a couple of blogs suggesting that Chinese fried bread rolls were the thing to eat with chilli crab, so we duly followed instructions and ordered some, but to my taste they were too sweet and doughnutty. Steamed rice would have been better to soak up the delicious thick sauce, but the staff had lost interest in us and we couldn't find anyone to order it from. So we ate the sauce off the serving spoon. I'd go back to Singapore just to have more of that crab. It was that good.