Singapore chilli crab is delicious. It’s probably one of the most famous Singaporean dishes, and something I had been looking forward to, ever since this trip was spiked. Throughout the city, chilli crab is available at restaurants, hawker centers and seafood stalls. The most common crab to use is mud crab, which is cooked in a sweet, but not very spicy, tomato/chili sauce. Most places serve soft, deep-fried buns to scoop up the gravy with, but when I run out of buns, I would just eat the gravy like soup, with a spoon.
No Signboard Seafood started as a food stall in a hawker centre back in the 1970’s. In the beginning, they couldn’t afford a signboard, and that’s how the restaurant got its name. Today, there are several No Signboard branches around the city, but according to AC, the one in Geylang is the best and less touristy one. She used to go there with her Singaporean friends, when she lived in Singapore, and I had promised her, that I would go there too.
I had been warned that casual seafood restaurants in Singapore charge for everything such as bibs, wet wipes and those snacks, which are placed on your table immediately, and which look complimentary. Though, if you don’t want it, you just let them know, and they won’t charge you for it. At No Signboard, I only kept the wet wipes and sent the rest of the stuff back, which was perfectly fine with the staff.
I had also heard that if you don’t specify, what kind of crab you want, they’ll bring you a big fat 2kg snow crab and charge you accordingly, so I was very specific with the kind of crab I wanted (a cheap one) and the size of crab I wanted (a small one).
When the crab arrived at my table, it looked really big, so I got a bit worried and asked them, how much it was. They told me it was 42SGD, which was well within my budget, so I relaxed and started munching. The crab was cooked to perfection and the meat was soft, white and juicy and so fresh, I think the crab must have been alive until right after I placed my order (sorry crab). I had turned down the bib, which was really stupid of me, because eating chili crab is doomed to be a messy affair. When I was done, there were chili crab stains all over my white shirt, and I even think some of it had made its way to my hair.
For the chilli crab, 4 buns and a Coke, I paid around 50SGD. It might sound pricey, considering the humble surroundings, but the crab was among the best, I’ve ever had, and to me it was no doubt worth it. I had cheaper chilli crab on the trip too, and even though it was also good, the crab was not at all in the same league, as what I had at No Signboard.
No Signboard, 414 Geylang Road, Tel: +65 6842 3415, Hours: 11am-1am