Ah Hoi’s Kitchen at Hotel Jen Tanglin Singapore by Shangri-La is celebrating the crab season with the launch of Festival of Crab. And in true Singaporean fashion, we certainly cannot say no to that.
For those not familiar with Ah Hoi’s Kitchen, it is a local dining destination and a must-visit for both Singaporeans and foreigners. The restaurant is known for its cuisine that stays true to Singaporean roots. It is helmed by Head Chef Tiger, whose speciality is cooking crabs different ways. He incorporates his family recipes into his creations at Ah Hoi’s Kitchen while making slight revisions to the recipes.
We were told the chilli crab is Ah Hoi’s Kitchen’s best-selling crab dish, especially popular among expats and tourists from the Asian region. The restaurant also uses only high-quality Sri Lankan giant crabs. A tank with live Sri Lankan crabs at the restaurant attests to a fresh supply of the crustaceans every day.
Lovers of the Singapore Chilli Crab should know that Ah Hoi’s Kitchen’s rendition is cooked with a thick and fragrant sauce. The sauce is the hero of the dish, and the sambal is cooked painstakingly over many hours to build the perfect base, flavoured with egg white ribbons.
As Ah Hoi’s kitchen best-selling dish, the Singapore Chilli Crab lived up to our expectations and it was definitely one of the best Singapore Chilli Crab dishes you could find in the market. The flavouring was well-balanced, being neither too spicy nor sweet. Fans of steamed or deep-fried mantous (Chinese buns) would be pleased to know that the ones at Ah Hoi’s Kitchen are crispy and delicious. They go perfectly with the mopping luscious sauce of the Singapore Chilli Crab.
Ah Hoi’s Kitchen’s second best-selling dish, the Sarawakian Black Pepper Crab is a refreshing take on the crustacean. This style oozes the rich flavour of the Sarawakian pepper, which blends with the sweetness of the crab. The result is a unique winning combination with a little bit of “pepper heat”. Black Pepper Crabs are a staple for many Singaporeans when it comes to crab dishes and Ah Hoi’s Kitchen’s Sarawakian Black Pepper Crab does not disappoint.
We also loved the Salted Egg and Crispy Yam Crab; the salted egg and strands of crispy yam sticks tossed with the crab make a fragrant and rich medley. It was one of our favourite dishes for the night.
Go beyond the usual Chilli Crab and Pepper Crab, and have a shot at other crab dish variations. It was my first time trying out crabs cooked in a creamy white pepper sauce at Ah Hoi’s Kitchen. Their Creamy White Pepper Crab has an exquisite taste. The crabs cooked in thick cream sauce with subtle white pepper is reminiscent of an East meets West dish. It’s a dish I would not only remember fondly but also gladly choose as one of my top picks.
The best way to savour the freshness of the Sri Lankan Crabs would be to go for a variation such as Butter and Garlic Crab or Stir-Fried Ginger and Onion Crab. The Butter and Garlic Grab featured tempering cloves of garlic in butter with crab cooked over high heat, which allows the nutty flavours to linger and tantalise your taste buds.
The Stir-Fried Ginger and Onion Crab is steamed, then tossed in a high-heat wok, with ginger and onion to render the sweetness of the crab and ginger. This is an authentic way of cooking a crab. Both the Butter and Garlic Crab; and the Stir-Fried Ginger and Onion Crab stole my heart. The Butter and Ginger Crab has a velvety texture whereas the Stir-Fried Ginger and Onion Crab highlights the sweetness and freshness of the Sri Lankan crab.
The Glass Noodles and Chinese Wine Crab is another personal favourite. The Chinese wine pairs well with the springy glass noodles, which absorb the natural crab essence and the wine to form a dish that delights.
The Indonesia Claypot Curry Crab is a memorable dish cooked Indonesian style. The use of 20 different spices creates a wonderful aroma and zest that will find favour with all curry lovers.
An all-time Malaysian favourite renowned for its combination of Malay, Chinese and Indian influences, the Kam Heong Crab is cooked with dried shrimps, curry leaves, birds’ eye chilli, creating an aromatic and mouth-watering sensation. You won’t regret trying this.
All of us at the table could not get enough of the Claypot Crab Beehoon. It was unanimously agreed that this was the top pick for the night. The dish has an aromatic broth that goes beautifully with the succulence of the crabs. Silky vermicelli strands and crab are slow-cooked in a clay pot, allowing the noodles to absorb all the delightful flavours from both the crab and broth.
The Festival of Crab is available from now until 31 July 2017 at Ah Hoi’s Kitchen. The price for each dish varies, depending on the weight of the crab (S$75 per kg).
Ah Hoi’s Kitchen
1A Cuscaden Road
Hotel Jen Tanglin
Tel: +65 6831 4373
Opening hours: Daily from 12pm to 2.30pm and 6.30pm to 10pm