Chilli Crab
Chilli Crab
Chilli crab-02.jpg
A plate of Chilli crab
Type Seafood
Place of origin Singapore
Region or state Southeast Asia
Associated national cuisine Singapore
Created by Cher Yam Tian
Main ingredients Crab
Variations Black pepper crab

Chilli crab is a Singaporean seafood dish. Mud crabs are commonly used and are stir-fried in a semi-thick, sweet and savoury tomato and chilli based sauce. Despite its name, chilli crab is not a very spicy dish. It is listed at number 35 on the World's 50 most delicious foods compiled by CNN Go in 2011.[1]


In 1956, Cher Yam Tian and her husband Lim Choo Ngee began selling stir-fried crabs mixed with bottled chilli and tomato sauce from a pushcart. This was an improvised recipe; the original one did not involve bottled chilli sauce.[2] A successful business selling this dish prompted the establishment of a non-mobile restaurant situated in Palm Beach.[2]

In September 2009, Ng Yen Yen, Malaysia's Tourism Minister, controversially claimed that, among other dishes, that "Chilli crab is Malaysian", accusing "other countries" of "hijacking our food".[3]


Chilli crab has been promoted by The Singapore Tourism Board as one of Singapore's National Dishes, and can be found in seafood restaurants all over the island. It is traditionally eaten with bare hands as a means to savour the juicy crab meat with its sweet and spicy chilli sauce. Restaurants often provide wet towels or a washing bowl with lime in order to cleanse your hands after the meal.

Chilli crab sauce is described as "sensuous" and "sweet, yet savoury", with a "fluffy texture".[4] Mud crabs ( Scylla serrata ) are the most common type of crabs used for the dish, although other species of crab can be used too.[4]

Cultural impact

CNN Go listed Chilli crab as one of "World's 50 most delicious foods", at Number 35.[5]

It was one of the Singaporean dishes featured during Singapore Day 2011 in Shanghai, China, where many Singaporeans overseas go to try the signature dish presented by Dragon Phoenix Restaurant.[6]

The Amazing Race 25, The Amazing Race Asia 4, and The Amazing Race China 4 feature a task that requires to crack a specified amount of Chilli Crabs (i.e. two pounds for the American version, one kilogram for the Asian version, and 500 grams for the Chinese version).

A Singapore-based episode of Secret Eats with Adam Richman, aired on the Travel Channel in September 2016, showed the host, Adam Richman, sampling a Chilli crab at the New Ubin Seafood restaurant in Sin Ming's Industrial Estate.

See also


  1. ^ "World's 50 best foods". CNN Travel.
  2. ^ a b "40 good years dishing up chilli crabs". The Straits Times. 23 June 1996. p. 5.
  3. ^ Teh, Eng Hock (September 17, 2009). "Laksa and nasi lemak among our pride, says Yen Yen". The Star. Archived from the original on January 16, 2013.
  4. ^ a b "Chilli Crab". YourSingapore. Retrieved 2013.
  5. ^ CNN Go World's 50 most delicious foods 21 July 2011. Retrieved 2011-10-11
  6. ^

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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