Our Hot Line :


The History of Chili Crab in Singapore


Chili Crab, a mouthwatering and spicy delight, stands as one of the most iconic dishes in Singaporean cuisine. Renowned for its bold flavors and vibrant colors, this dish has a history as rich as its taste. In this article, we delve into the intriguing history and cultural significance of Chili Crab, a culinary creation celebrated for its fiery kick and enduring popularity in Singapore.

Origins in Singapore

A Culinary Innovation

The history of Chili Crab can be traced back to the mid-20th century in Singapore. It is widely believed that Madam Cher Yam Tian, a Singaporean chef, was the pioneer of this delectable dish. She ingeniously combined fresh mud crabs with a rich, spicy tomato-based sauce, creating a culinary sensation that would soon capture the hearts and palates of locals and visitors alike.

Cultural Significance

A National Treasure

Chili Crab is more than just a dish; it is a symbol of Singaporean culinary creativity and multiculturalism. This savory creation blends Chinese, Malay, and Indian culinary influences, reflecting the diverse cultural tapestry of Singapore. It holds a special place in the hearts of Singaporeans and is often served during celebrations and gatherings.

A Global Favorite

Over the years, Chili Crab has transcended borders and become a global favorite. It is a must-try dish for tourists visiting Singapore, and its popularity has led to international acclaim. The unique combination of sweet, savory, and spicy flavors continues to enthrall food enthusiasts worldwide.


In conclusion, the history of Chili Crab in Singapore reflects the city-state’s ability to transform culinary traditions into contemporary delights. From its humble beginnings as a local invention to its status as a beloved national treasure, Chili Crab continues to captivate with its rich history and cultural significance. Its journey from a kitchen innovation to an integral part of Singaporean culinary heritage showcases the enduring allure of this spicy delight.

For those eager to explore more about Chili Crab and its cultural significance, there are dedicated culinary resources and studies of Singaporean cuisine that offer deeper insights into this iconic dish.

  • Serves: 2-3 People
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cooking: 25 minutes
  • Difficulties: medium
Adjust Servings
For Cooking
  • 2live crabs (about 2 pounds each), cleaned and chopped into pieces
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1thumb-sized ginger, minced
  • 3tablespoons chili paste (sambal oelek)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup chicken seafood broth
  • 2eggs, lightly beaten
For Dressing
Nutritional Information
  • Calories:
  • Total Fat:
  • Saturated Fat
  • Cholesterol:
  • Sodium:
  • Total Carbohydrates:
  • Dietary Fiber:
  • Sugars:
  • Protein:

Conclusion: Embark on a culinary journey to the heart of Singapore with the sensational flavors of chili crab. This iconic dish reflects the melting pot of cultures that defines the country’s food scene. Whether you’re relishing the classic chili crab or exploring variations like the piquant black pepper crab, the experience of savoring this dish is an adventure in itself. Whip up your own rendition of Singapore’s signature chili crab and immerse yourself in a world of harmonious flavors that celebrate the essence of Southeast Asian cuisine.

  • Mark As Complete

    Heat the vegetable oil in a large wok over medium heat. Sauté the chopped onion, minced garlic, and ginger until fragrant.

  • Mark As Complete

    Add the chili paste and continue to stir-fry until the oil becomes fragrant and the chili paste is cooked.

  • Mark As Complete

    Mix in the tomato ketchup, soy sauce, oyster sauce, and sugar. Stir well to combine.

  • Mark As Complete

    Pour in the chicken or seafood broth and bring the mixture to a simmer.

  • Mark As Complete

    Gently add the crab pieces to the wok and coat them with the sauce. Cover and let them cook for about 10-15 minutes, or until the crabs turn bright orange and are cooked through.

  • Mark As Complete

    Slowly pour in the lightly beaten eggs while stirring the mixture gently. This will create a creamy texture to the sauce.

  • Mark As Complete

    Stir in the dissolved cornstarch and allow the sauce to thicken.

  • Mark As Complete

    Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt if needed.

  • Mark As Complete

    Once the sauce is thick and coats the crabs, remove from heat.

  • Mark As Complete

    Garnish with chopped fresh coriander.

  • Mark As Complete

    Serve the chili crab hot with steamed buns or rice.

Written by

Chef Dawood brings a wealth of experience and a diverse culinary background to our kitchen. His culinary training spans the globe, from classic French techniques to contemporary fusion cuisine. Drawing inspiration from both traditional and modern culinary traditions, Chef Dawood’s creations are a harmonious blend of flavors and textures that tantalize the palate.

previous thumbnail
Previous Recipe
Stinky tofu, Southeast Asia 
Next Recipe
next thumbnail

Add a Review