Monday 26 January 2009

Jumbo Seafood - East Coast Seafood Centre

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.


kat said...

That sounds wonderful. The place reminds me of going to the fishing wharf to eat in Barbados

Sam said...

Trying the food is normally my highest priority when I travel too! The crab looks amazing, it's a dish I've always wanted to try.

Heather said...

mmmm. that looks so tasty!

Dee said...

I LOVE chile crabs! I'll try and nick a recipe from my girlfriend and share it with you if you like. Plain toast or white rice is the way to go, really.

I wish you'd been able to come down to Malaysia. There's a place in Malacca (a 3 hour drive from Singapore) where the seafood is cooked Portuguese-Malaysian style. You watch the sun set by the beach as you dig in. Heaven!

Heather said...

I'm totally with you on vacay being all about the food. You know, when we were in Vancouver, BC I looked EVERYWHERE for chili crab. I couldn't stop craving it. When we got home I found out the corny-looking "Noodles!" place has it, and that it's supposedly great. Sigh.

hungryandfrozen said...

"to hell with culture and temples - this was about the food."
Hey, food is culture too so don't feel bad now! All that food sounds absolutely wonderful. Hope you are having a fantastic trip!

Alicia Foodycat said...

Kat - a fishing wharf in Barbados sounds blissful!

Sam - chilli crab is delicious. Not too hot, but richly flavoured.

Heather - it was!

Dee - my mum claims that she makes a really authentic one. I am waiting for her to put the mudcrab where her mouth is, so to speak. Maybe next trip to Australia we will go via KL?

VoodooHeather - if we'd had the extra night we were supposed to have, I would have tried black pepper crab as well.

Laura - we've been home 3 weeks now. Can't believe it was so long ago! But we did have a wonderful time.

NKP said...

More delicious adventures - I haven't had whole crab before, the seasonings sound heavenly.

Gemma said...

Your trip looks amazing and the food all looks fabulous. Very jealous!

Teresa Cordero Cordell said...

Foodycat, it sounds like you had a magnificent time. Yes, the lime juice wuld be perfect with the seafood. You're so lucky and I'm so jealous! :p

Bettina Douglas said...

My chilli crab doesn't have egg in the sauce. (I use Charmaine Solomon's recipe.)

I'm not sure if egg is essential for authentic Singapore style crab?

Alicia Foodycat said...

Natashya - whole crab is good, but messy!

Gemma - it was great!

Teresa - Now I want to grow more of the little Calamondins so I can squeeze my own juice!

Mother - I don't know about essential, but the egg was good! How is yours thickened?


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