Chilli crab is a seafood dish popular in Singapore. 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 World's 50 most delicious foods compiled by CNN Go in 2011.
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. A successful business selling this dish prompted the establishment of a non-mobile restaurant situated in Palm Beach.
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". Evidence supporting her claim has yet to be put forth.
Chilli crab has been promoted by The Singapore Tourism Board as one of Singapore's National Dish, 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 bowls 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". Mud crabs (Scylla serrata) are the most common type of crabs used for the dish, although other species of crab can be used too.
CNN Go listed Chilli crab as one of "World's 50 most delicious foods", at Number 35.
- "40 good years dishing up chilli crabs". The Straits Times. 23 June 1996. p. 5.
- Teh, Eng Hock (September 17, 2009). "Laksa and nasi lemak among our pride, says Yen Yen". The Star.
- "Chilli Crab". YourSingapore. Retrieved April 15, 2013.
- CNN Go World's 50 most delicious foods 21 July 2011. Retrieved 2011-10-11