There are a few dishes you must have when in Singapore. Chicken Rice and Chili Crab are among the most common. When we first visited in February we had Chili Crab at a place called Jumbo Seafood. They are a local chain with several places around the island. It was good, but not great. A really BIG crab, with what seemed liked Thai Sweet/Spicy Chili sauce just dumped all over it. It arrives in a large hot pan, and you order steamed white buns on the side to scoop up all the sauce. Of course since it was our first time, we just ordered two little buns each, and then had tons of sauce left over.We later learned we were supposed to use the soup spoons to eat sauce like a soup.
But Paul decided he was in the mood to give it another whirl, so we strolled down to local hawker center Pau Sat to give it a second try. I’m glad we did.
We pulled up to a BBQ seafood stand at the outside edge, and grabbed a table. What’s nice is that Pau Sat has outdoor dining, and lately we have been having this GREAT breeze on the island after about 7PM when the sun goes down. In addition this is where the night satay street is so the whole place is a whirlwind of tourists, beer girls, satay hawkers, locals, and everything in between. It’s like dinner and a show.
Our stand had chili crabs. Big ones and small ones, you just tell them how many and what size. The waitress even brought it over to us (alive!) so we can decide if it’s good pick. I have no idea what the criteria are for a good crab, so per usual when we have no idea what’s going on, we just smiled and nodded along. We also ordered BBQ Stingray! A first for us. I was VERY nervous about the texture/flavor, but it proved to be very good. I would order it again. This time we also ordered 8 of the buns to go with our dish, along with a pitcher of beer. I’m not a beer drinker, but for some reason, outdoor dining, and seafood, make it OK for me to have a Tiger Beer. Just something about those two things that go well together.
Our crab arrived after a bit, in a big pot, goopy in sauce and looking delish. The buns….let me tell you about the buns. These little nuggets were NOTHING like what we got at Jumbo. Crusty golden on the outside, white soft interior. Perfection for scooping up chili crab sauce and making yummy noises despite your best efforts to keep quiet. Sublime. I could go back just for buns and sauce alone.
The crab is big. Like Popeye meets a crab big. Regular body, but nice BIG claws with lot’s of meat. A little tough compared to blue crabs back home, but still, very tasty. And the sauce here was much better. A low-level of heat, good flavor, and a good size portion. The last bit of bun, finished the last bit of sauce in the bowl. The crab arrives cut into quarters, but you still have to grab it with your hands and get into it so another nice detail, they give you a finger bowl with water to keep your hands clean, since you are grabbing the crab and getting you fingers dirty opening up the shell, it’s a nice touch.
All in all, a good night out and since it was a hawker center we did not pay an arm and a leg like we did last time at the other touristy spot.