April 02, 2016

When in Singapore: One Must Eat Chili Crabs

And crunchy baby squid...

And deep fried man tao...

Okay, let's not get ahead of ourselves.

For those who've already tried Hainanese Chicken and hawker foods, why not try eating in proper restaurants for a change?

The classic Singapore Chili Crab.

Before heading back to Manila from my week-long business trip to India, I decided (by great influence from my friend) to spend a night in Singapore. See, there is no direct flight from Hyderabad to Manila, and my choice of flights back then included a layover in Singapore. I have a friend living in Singapore, and when I told her that my layover was on a weekend, she asked if it is possible that I extend my layover in such a way that I will be staying there for two days. Turns out that it is possible to do that, so... Ta-dah! Bonus travel opportunity before heading home.

TRAVEL TIP: When travelling to countries where flights involve layover, check if it is possible (i.e. budget-wise AND visa/passport-wise) to have an extended stay in your layover country. In my case, I was able to afford to spend the night in Singapore (because I'll be staying at my friend's) AND my Philippine passport does not need a visa to travel there, so I went!

Going back to my story, when my friend asked me what I wanted to do/ eat during my visit, my only requests were 1) an opportunity to buy Bee Cheng Hiang jerky, and 2) have chili crabs. She advised me to try out another brand of jerky (still in Chinatown) because Manila already has Bee Cheng Hiang, and for my chili crab cravings, she brought me to Jumbo Seafood.

I wasn't able to take a picture of the menu; here's a picture of their wet towel instead.

Jumbo Seafood started in 1987, and its claim to fame are its Singapore Chili Crab and Black Pepper Crab. To date, there are five branches of Jumbo Seafood in Singapore, with three branches in China as well.

The branch we tried out was in East Coast Seafood Center, mainly because we wanted to experience the riverside ambiance, but we weren't able to enjoy the view that much because it was already dark when we had our dinner.

Crispy baby squid; also a favorite dish of mine.
I once tried to make one at home, but failed miserably because my baby squids turned out gummy. :(

There is an online reservation facility, which I think is very convenient for visiting tourists. I'm not sure though if there are some required information that foreigners will not be able to supply.

Buttermilk crab.
If you're going to try this one, I suggest eating this before the chili crab as this has a subtler taste than the other.

Their website provides a set menu, which ranges from 250++ SGD for 4 pax to 1,220++ SGD for 12 pax, depending on which set you choose and how many people are in your party.  I believe we ordered à la carte, but I am unable to find such menu online.

Also, I didn't pay for the meal thus my inability to tell you how much each dish costs... sorry!

Satay--I don't remember if this is pork or chicken.
Nonetheless, it tastes good!

We were about six in the table, as my friend was able to invite more friends for dinner. Which is a good thing, because we are able to order more variety of food to share.

I swear, Singapore is starting to look like an extension of the Philippines; I bet you dear reader that you know at least one person living there. Am I right?

Stir-fried frog legs.
Sounds exotic, but really, they just taste like chicken.

My friend told me that not all branches of Jumbo Seafood charge the same; supposedly the branch near the city is more expensive than the branch we had dinner in. Perhaps because of the premium in the location? I can only assume.

This was the first time I had deep-fried Man Tao; I usually get these steamed.
These babies taste better when dipped in the sauce of the chili crab! 

All in all, it was a filling meal, made even better with the company of old and new friends. After dinner we strolled along the riverside path para magpababa ng kinain; I didn't bother taking pictures because there was nothing much to see.

BONUS TIP! And since you're spending the night in Singapore, why not try a classic Singaporean breakfast as well?

Soft-boiled eggs (add soy sauce and ground pepper to taste), coffee, and buttered kaya toast.
In Manila, you can try Toast Box for this.

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