No. 3 Crab Delicacy on Outram Road

collageReceived a SMS from a friend inviting me to a Crab dinner on Outram Road. It is well known amongst my friends that I do not fancy crabs or prawns, so receiving this invitation means it should be worth checking out.

Outram Road is famous for its eateries like the famous Sea Food Tze Char where celebrities (some from Singapore) like to frequent and of course, the fabulous Tiong Bahru Market is just round the corner.

No. 3 Crab Delicacy is located just opposite the YWCA, which makes it hard for a pedestrian to cross as you are crossing four lanes of traffic, so the crab, I was thinking, had better be worth the risk to life and limb.

It is a small restaurant that humble beginnings at a shopping centre food court and at 7pm, it was already full of rowdy people having a great time and enjoying the food and wine. And that’s not our table. 😉

It was a tight squeeze, but while waiting for everyone to arrive, I tried some of the side dishes.

Thinly-sliced Bittergourd strips with Maple Syrup dip

There was one side dish that was was very unusual; shaved Bittergourd strips with a Maple syrup dip. It’s rare to see such an innovative concoction in a small tze char these days. The bitterness of the (ha!) Bittergourd was toned down and rounded off by the Maple Syrup. It was so good that its a pity that it was artificial syrup. But we are not here to talk about side dishes like pickles and peanuts are we?

Dinner started with Preserved Cockles as an appetizer. Apparently, this is so popular with the guests that it has to be pre-ordered and reserved.

Fresh Raw Cockles

I did not try it. Not that I have something against preserved seafood, but I just didn’t think it looked alright. Also I was told that cockles should be eaten up quickly otherwise they would not last. I think that’s not necessary as I spotted huge trays of cockles waiting to be plated and doused with the sauce on my way to the toilet. Everyone was slurping it up and enjoying themselves tremendously though, so I think that’s ok.

The second appetizer arrived in the form of the traditional cold crab.

Cold Crab

I did not enjoy this because the crab was too cold for me to taste anything (it’s supposed to be savoury because of the natural Glutamate) and the vinegar wasn’t strong enough, but most of all, I felt that the crab was too skinny. Then again, I am not skilled in the use of the nutcracker to get every last morsel of meat.

Seafood Tofu

The seafood tofu was home-made announced the owner. It was very coarse on the inside with more fish and crab than tofu. Unfortunately as I have been eating a lot of simliarly-proclaimed tofu, it did not impress me.

As I was about to write this dinner off as a small disappointment, the Fried Chicken Rojak appeared.

Fried Chicken in Prawn Paste

While Prawn Paste Fried Chicken is a common enough dish, the acrid Tamarind juice and slices of Pineapple served to give the fried chicken a different dimension of taste as the acidity cut through the “oily” deep fried taste.

Another great dish that appeared hot on the heels of the chicken was the “Eng Chai Jiu Hu’r” or Cuttlefish with Kang Kong.

Cuttlefish Kang Kong

I liked this as it arrive steaming hot from the kitchen. Not at all heavy as you’d expect from the other versions available in Singapore. It was gone so fast that I only managed to grab a slice of cuttlefish and some Kang Kong. The cuttlefish was soft and tender.

At this time, the other table was silent as they were staring in wonder at what we were doing; it’s a game that we all play to sharpen our wine knowledge. We would wrap up our wines before serving it and the whole table will have to guess the “category” (old world or new world), country, grape varietal, age and finally the vineyard just from tasting the wine and looking at the color.

Believe me, if you want to learn about wines, this is the fastest and most effective way. Of course, this leads to everyone getting the type of wines based on not what we like but more of what will fool everyone at the table.

Steamed Fish Tail Steamed Fish Tail

Anyway, the steamed fish tail was very nice; meaty and flavourful, but it was nothing compared to the Claypot Crab Bee Hoon.

It was a monster.

Claypot Crab Bee Hoon

The table went silent for a while as the monster was placed at our table. The claypot was barely big enough to contain the crab, rumoured to be from Viet Nam.

Rarely have I seen such menace; in any case, the crab didn’t feel a thing as the predators tore into it.

Claypot Crab Bee Hoon

A plate of Bee Hoon (rice noodles) was placed separately. The thing was to scoop some Bee Hoon into your bowl and then pour some of the crab broth over it.

Claypot Crab Bee Hoon Claypot Crab Bee Hoon

Did I tell you the crab was huge?

Claw meets paws

Its claws were as big as a lady’s hand! People with size issues should stay away.

The final dish that arrived was the Hokkien Mee with mussels. This is a good thing; with additional application of pork lard, the flavours simply wafted through the whole restaurant.

Hokkien Mee Hokkien Mee

The rest of the meal was so-so, the organizer did not want to over-order, so left it free and easy. So we ordered what looked interesting on the walls. Unfortunately, the Coffee Pork Ribs and Hotplate Venison was nothing worth blogging alot about.

Pork Ribs in Coffee sauce Hot Plate Venison

Food at No. 3 Crab Delicacy is good, but I feel that their hygiene should be looked at carefully or at least I should have brought a strong Grappa to ease my stomach. As I was leaving the restaurant, a friend whispered to me that a lot of people, while enjoying the food, often leave with upset stomachs.

I replied that I know as mine was churning then. It continued to churn for the next five days. Alas.

Claypot Crab Bee Hoon

Posted on 27th Nov 2006 in Chinese, Food and Drink


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