Chilli Crab: A Taste of Singapore

Singaporeans will argue until blue in the face that their country serves the best Chilli Crab, whereas other nations may disagree. Watch out, this could get messy!

Chili Crab is the national dish of Singapore
Chilli Crab is the national dish of Singapore

Chilli crab is a seafood dish that is extremely popular in Singapore, not only with locals but also with tourists. Mud crabs are commonly used as the species of crab, and these are stir-fried in a thick, sweet and savoury tomato and chilli based sauce. Yet, despite its name, chilli crab is not particularly spicy, although the level of spiciness does vary from one auntie’s recipe to another.

The Best Chilli Crabs in Singapore gives you a good guide as to where to go for your crab fix next time you’re here!

An example of crab dishes at Boat Quay
An example of crab dishes and other seafood at Boat Quay

Chilli Crab has been promoted by the Singapore Tourism Board as one of the country’s national dishes, and can be found in seafood restaurants all over the island – with some of the freshest and relatively inexpensive set meals to be found at Boat Quay and Clarke Quay along the Singapore River (although mud crabs are not native to the river, obviously!).

Maxwell Food Centre serves some delicious Chili Crab
Maxwell Food Centre serves some delicious Chilli Crab in a hawker atmosphere
Chili Crab at Maxwell Food Centre
Chili Crab at Maxwell Food Centre

The fully-cooked Chilli Crab 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 washing bowls in order to clean your hands afterwards. Some outlets (in particular casual dining franchises) may even provide you with a small mallet to crush the crab more quickly – it’s all part of the experience! Even humble food courts, like Maxwell Food Centre, are known as meeting places for some delectable crab!


For a country like Singapore that is so small and so surrounded by incredible cuisines, such as Masakan Padang and Malaysian cuisine, not to mention the huge influence Indian and Chinese cuisines have had on the island over the years, it is really cool that Chilli Crab remains a traditional Singaporean dish. Other countries can try to create their own delicious chilli crabs if they want, but my advice would be: don’t bother!

It’s a FACT that Singapore has the best chilli crab, regardless of your budget, and I consider it to be the top seafood dish in the country!

18 thoughts on “Chilli Crab: A Taste of Singapore

    1. VERY messy, Rajiv. 😛 So I take it you don’t like the crabmeat then? I prefer soft-shell crab, as it’s easier to eat (obviously), but you cannot knock Singapore’s traditional chilli crab! 🙂


  1. Hi! I am a fellow food blogger. I like your blog. I like the way you wrote this post. I am very much in need of a review on Korean fried chicken especially Four fingers. What do you think of it. Please let me know if you have tried it.


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