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Home / Chinese Cuisine / Mattar Road Seafood’s Chilli Crab – Cheap & Good, Almost there!
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Mattar Road Seafood’s Chilli Crab – Cheap & Good, Almost there!
By Alfred August 26, 2009
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(8 rated)
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Mattar Road Seafood’s Chilli Crab – Cheap & Good, Almost there!
Fast Facts
Chilli Crab Sweet Potato Leaves
Chinese Cuisine
Hawker Centre
Price Range:
S$31- S$40
Rating Range:
7 to 7.9
Food Centre:
Old Airport Road Food Centre
Recommended For:
Reviewed by:

Have you ever thought about whether is it worth your money to visit a restaurant for chilli crabs? Judging by the standards dishing out by some Cze Char stalls in kopitiams and in hawker centres, it appears that there can be only a very thin line in the difference in standards.

So what are the things that connote a shiokadodo plate of delicious crab? The first is that the crab must be ‘chee'(fresh). The definition of ‘chee’ is that it not only has to be well and alive, it also must not be kept in the holding area for a long time. It’s the time they were caught to the time they are being slaughtered that decides the ‘cheeness’ of it. Therefore it all still boils down to the basic, that is, a steady flow of customers is required so that there are little leftovers and so that ingredients are always ordered fresh because it’s always cleared within a day. This applies to all perishable goods and ideally we would like to eat something that is freshly delivered on the same day, right?

When crabs are fresh, you get big chunks of meat in the claws, in the bodies, heck even those tiny legs can offer something when you crack open it. Another way to judge the ‘cheeness” is to see whether the meat sticks to the shell or not. If it is really so chee until the ‘cheenesst’ possible, you will actually see something like the shell(eventhough cracked) still sticks to the meat until you may need to suck each strand out which may seems a tedious task but it’s a clear representation of ‘cheeness’. When it’s not that ‘chee’, well I think we don’t have to go through that for I’m sure we all have been there eaten that, at least once in our lives. The second is the sauce. There are many places that can dish out terrific sambal chilli crab sauces but for me the best chilli crab sauces are those that doesn’t make you feel ‘jerlad’ after eating it. Any plate of chilli crab or any food for that matter that leaves a bad aftertaste is not good enough, period.

During those days when Jackson Food Centre was still in operation, I had to visit it quite often. It’s not that the food there is fantastic but just that Chili Crab produced by a Cze Char stall there was seriously good. It was so good that everybody I’ve brought to eat at the stall, praised it to no ends. Now maybe it was silly of me not to note down the name of that cze char stall because I almost had a cardiac arrest when I found out the closure of Jackson Food Centre in one of my visits. All that greeted my jaw dropping face was a piece of flat land and so I haven’t a clue what is happening to that cze char stall and finding out where it moved to is akin to finding a needle in a haystack. If any of you know which stall I am talking about and have information of where it’s moved to, drop me a mail ok? 🙂

So where do I go for chilli crab nowadays? I’ve been to Changi Teochew Kitchen at Changi Village, No Signboard Seafood Restaurant at Geylang and Long Beach at East Coast. And something that’s not unbeknownst to me, all those experiences provided evidence that restaurants do not necessarily produce the best chilli crabs in town. Well perhaps restaurants have so many items on their menu that they couldn’t just rely on a delicious plate of chilli crab to pull the crowd and so they can’t be bothered.

Fresh Crabs

Mattar Road Seafood Barbecue(玛达律烧烤海鲜) is a seafood stall tucked somewhere in a little corner at Old Airport Road Food Centre and it seems to be quite something. In the past, I’ve actually walked through that stretch of the food centre a few times and know that a few Cze Char stalls are doing business at that end but somehow never bothered checking them out because obviously we don’t go to Old Airport Road to eat Cze Char right? I mean Old Airport Road Food Centre is really about hawker fares because there are so many good hawker food in the market.

But this time, while walking along that stretch, I noticed that a crab picture that is printed on the signboard of a stall is quite huge. It is so huge that it seems to be shouting ‘CRABS! We are famous for CRABS!’ I asked to see their menu and saw that there are no meat dishes and only seafood. I was further told by the lady that Chilli crab is one of their signature dishes. Lo and behold, that quickly rang a ‘MUST TRY MUST TRY!’ on the spot and I thought that it might just be the zigsaw puzzle piece to replace the missing piece lost at Jackson Food Centre! And my hope was further boosted by the many many newspaper articles that is pasted on the front of the stall.

Chilli Crab at Mattar Road Seafood Barbecue

The chilli crab came with a familiar sambal, sweet and savoury tomato sauce. There were signs that seem to suggest ‘Buah Keluak’ is being used here and also a lot of grounded peanuts. The sauce is shiok though I would wish they had beaten more eggs into it.You can see from the picture that the crab is very ‘chee’ and one of the ‘cheenest’ ones I’ve had for a long long time. Overall for me it is about 85% to my favourite one at the late Jackson Market Food Centre. The other dish we ordered was the sambal sweet potato leaves. It was not bad though I thought it could be nicer if the sweetness level can be reduced a little.

Sambal Sweet Potato Leaves

The crab cost us $25 while the sweet potato leaves was $8. Though not exactly comparable to my favourite one but at $25, it is still great value considering the crab is quite big and extremely ‘chee’. Definitely worth another visit soon to try other items on the menu.

Price: $25 for crab and $8 for sambal sweet potato leaves. No charge for rice.

Recommendation: Chilli crab( Heard they’re also popular for butter crab)

Conclusion: Not the best but 85% there. At least you’re only paying half the price of what would otherwise cost you in restaurants where the standards also won’t be any much better than this. The crab here is one of the freshest I’ve had in a long long time. A clear sign that they have a good flow of customers.

Likes: Freshness of the seafood, sauce was good though could do better with more eggs(I think).

Dislikes: A little too sweet though not really that bad.

Address Overall Rating

Mattar Road Seafood Barbecue
Blk 51 #01-63
Old Airport Road Food Centre
4pm – 11pm
Tel: 6447 2798
Off : Tuesday & Wednesday

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Readers' Comment(s) : 31
Jasmine Tan says:

Hmm… the chilli crab looks nice! Though I am not a 粉丝 of chilli crab, I dun mind eat it once a while. I will recommend Melben Seafood at Ang Mo Kio and so far been there 3 to 4 times. I like their Claypot Bee Hoon Crab.

Posted August 27, 2009
Soo says:

This stall originally from Mattar Road and famous for chili and pepper crabs. The chilli crabs is still as good as the old days and taste more like satay sauce. The seller his off days preparing the paste. The pepper crabs are cook using white pepper so is a lot more subtle. They are also famous for butter prawns and steamed fish. Sambal squid also not bad.

Posted August 27, 2009
Pat says:

This stall is the makansutra hawker legend of 2005 i think. Never tried it. Will try it next time there.

Posted August 27, 2009
Kevin says:

I like this stall too. The stall owner is Mr Ng and his stall is close for 2 days a week jut to prepare the sauce. I once get indigestion after eating the crab there, think they use too much peanut. The crab there is very meaty and fresh. Very few hawker centre use Sri Lankan crab but they are using.

Posted August 27, 2009
CK Long says:

This stall was from Mattar Road 2 decades ago, side by side with no signboard. No signboard went on to open restaurant but he still managing his humble stall. They are indeed off for 2 days a week , every tuesday and wednesday.

Posted August 27, 2009
Jessie says:

So ex now? Last time I ate there only $28 /kg..

Posted August 27, 2009
Ben says:

Tried their BBQ stingray. Chili very good.

Posted August 27, 2009
Jialat says:

One of my fav! If go after 7pm..estimated time is at least 1/2 hour..normally i call to order 1st.

Posted August 27, 2009
James says:

Yup they were listed as the makansutra legend of 2005. I ate there once, found the sauce not warm enough when served. Think the fire is not big enough bwloe the wok.

Posted August 27, 2009
Elaine says:

I like this stall too! This stall has won a list of awards. Makansutra 2005, 15 Singapore Hawker Legends, Good Food In Singapore, Makansutra 2002, City Beat, Green Book 2003 and many more….

Posted August 27, 2009
Lisa says:

Tried before. Quite good and reasonably priced.

Posted August 27, 2009
Darking says:

Good choice! Another dish they’re fmaous for is charcoal grilled crab. Very nice!

Posted August 27, 2009
Alfred says:

It was nice. Heard many things about melben but heard their price is pretty steep too? What’s good there?

Posted August 27, 2009
Alfred says:

Yes it’s about 20-30% satay sauce, they added a lot of peanuts to it. Interesting, so is the pepper crab good? I’m definitely going back there to try some of their bbq items since their signboard specifically mentions BBQ.

Posted August 27, 2009
Alfred says:

I see, I found the sauce came too thick. Would be good if they can reduce the peanut flavour and throw in a few eggs..

Posted August 27, 2009
Alfred says:

Well it’s true that I heard peanuts can cause minor symptoms such as indigestion, not sure how true though. It was indeed very meaty and fresh.

Posted August 27, 2009
Alfred says:

I see, thanks for that info.

Posted August 27, 2009
Alfred says:

Surprisingly my crab was quite huge…looks like almost 1.5kg kind but only costed $25. I’ve eaten some $50+ at restaurants that’s not even this size.

Posted August 27, 2009
Alfred says:

Ok cool, will try it on my next visit.

Posted August 27, 2009
Alfred says:

There was no customer when I was there and i also waited around 20-25 mins. Can imagine the waiting time during meal times.

Posted August 27, 2009
Alfred says:

So good ah? Btw how did you know? You’ve been following them?

Posted August 27, 2009
Alfred says:

Very very reasonably priced. Kopitiam Cze char pricing but you get extremely fresh sri lankan breed!

Posted August 27, 2009
Alfred says:

Wow that sounds interetsing for sure. Gotta give it a go!

Posted August 27, 2009
Jasmine Tan says:

Seems quite steep but it do tastes good.
Their claypot beehoon crab and chilli crab are the trademark dishes.

Posted August 28, 2009
Nicholas L says:

I’m there now. Excitedly waiting for my crabs. 🙂
Will give a field report after my meal. Hehz. But the waiting time is indeed long. Waited for 15 minutes now.. And still not my turn. Anyway its $32 per kg.

Posted September 19, 2009
Alfred says:

So how did it go for you?

Posted September 22, 2009
foodlovee says:

I eaten at this stall number of times they made their name with their BBQ crabs first the rest came later.I still go there for BBQ crabs and you don’t get that easily else where.

Posted December 17, 2009
Alfred says:

I’m wondering do they still serve BBQ crabs, walked pass the stall a few times but don’t see any bbq equipments in it.

Posted December 24, 2009
james says:

Man!This stalls ex but nice!i have eaten it thousand of times!

Posted February 16, 2010
sarah says:

im a fan of chilli crab too! should try The Seafood International at playground@bigsplash.

Fresh crab meat & the sauce is marvellous!

Posted March 14, 2010
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