East Coast Seafood Centre, 1206 East Coast Parkway, Singapore
Phone: +65 6442 3435
When I told my cousin I was going to visit on my way through to Hong Kong, he immediately asked me, “What do you want to eat?”. Family is such a great thing sometimes.
I of course replied with a list of things, the top of which was chilli crab, because I had not been able to try it last time I was in Singapore, due to a bout of gastro. He replied that would be pretty easy, and then asked me a much more exciting question; “But have you tried the salted duck egg crab?” The what!? I’d never heard of that dish, but I knew of the technique involved, as in Melbourne you can quite commonly get chicken ribs cooked the same way. The thought of crab done this way was a little mind-blowing, but of course, I had to try this cholesterol bomb! What better way to kick off my #fatty adventure?
We went to Jumbo Seafood, which I understand is a local chain of seafood restaurants – probably something of an authenticity fail, but hey, we seemed to be surrounded by lots of Singaporean families, so it can’t be that bad, right?
My cousin got rather excited when it came to the next dish: cereal prawns. Sounds weird, right?
Onto the main event. The salted duck yolk crab arrived at the table, and you could completely see why the Chinese call this dish gum saa hai (golden sand crab). The yolk was glistening all over the pieces of crab, and it tasted every bit as rich as the Chinese name makes it sound. Served on a bed of crisply fried battered basil leaves, this dish was probably the highlight of my short stay in Singapore.
To be honest, I was expecting a bit more spice. And I also wasn’t expecting it to be slightly sweet. I’m not sure if it’s all done this way in Singapore, and I enjoyed it, but I’m not sure it’s the stuff of legend. I’m guessing perhaps there are better versions of it to be found.
The next revelation, though, was a much simpler thing. Fried mantou (steamed bread). So these mantou are steamed, then fried to give them a crunchy ‘crust’. Mantou are the same bread as used to make bao (Chinese steamed buns – you know the ones, with the roast pork in them), so they’re slightly sweet. In this case, their express purpose is to be used to mop up the various sauces of the other dishes. Crunchy and yet fluffy and sweet? A total winner.
All in all, this was a great meal. Anything involving two crabs usually is, hey?