Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Did Anyone Say "Chilli Crabs"?

There is usually one thing that unites Singaporeans. And that is: FOOD!

As if we hadn't already gorged ourselves enough this past weekend, first thing on Monday morning my cousin B sends me an email with a menu of a Chinese seafood restaurant (seriously, I just checked the time on that email and it was sent at 9.25am).

One of her foodie friends had a craving for Chilli Crabs (at 9am on Monday?!), and another foodie friend had just checked this place out the night before and sent him the menu. Then the menu got emailed around town and suddenly by the end of yesterday, the whole chink-gang (it's a colloquail Singaporean term) turned up to Don Heng Century Seafood.

I was in two minds the whole day... since I've been waking up at 5am to go for mysore yoga most mornings, its pretty much killed my social life (not that I had much of one to begin with anyway!) But honestly, with the first page of a menu that reads like this, how could you not go?


#1 on the menu had me salivating already (haha, so much for a vegetarian way of eating. See previous post).

It was the most random place - in Sydney's western suburb of Ashville. Sydneysiders always make fun of people living in the Western suburbs, and now I think I can kinda see why. It's huge, sprawling, with no personality and full of car dealerships. Wait. Actually, it reminds me a lot of Johannesburg!

So anyways, this was a full-on Chinese restaurant located in a Rugby League Club. I didn't quite know what to expect since I don't follow rugby at all, and kind of expected to end up at a sports pitch with a Chinese restaurant next to it. But this place was like a megaplex for geriatrics. As in... there were bars, slot machines, and generally it's like a country club. But without the swimming pool & golf course. It didn't even have a sports pitch!

And here in the middle of this was a full-on Chinese restaurant. Very surreal. Complete with 10-course set dinners on the menu, which made me realize I haven't actually stepped into one of these in a really looooong time. And it felt like a Chinese wedding banquet was about to be served, complete with disco lights, dry ice/ smoke, and waiters walking out of the kitchen in one row to the Superman theme song or Europe's "The Final Countdown". (Yes, this is seriously a part of my "culture"). Can't believe I can't find any videos on youtube with this waiters' entrance... but here's a good blog entry on someone's experience of said Chinese wedding dinner.

Between the 11 of us, we had 5kg of crabs (that's 4 crabs in total), half was cooked Singapore Chilli Crab style, the other half was Black Pepper Crab style. Mm mm good! I had 2.5 (deep fried) buns to mop up all that gravy with. Oh, and we also had a peking duck, pork cheeks (Yuck! I didn't try this), salt & pepper calamari and veggies. Really, so much for my sticking to a more vegetarian diet...

Even though I made it to bed past my bedtime, I'm happy to report that I did indeed wake up at 5am to head to yoga. But my body definitely felt heavier and more sluggish than usual, and I'm pretty sure I could still feel that crab in those twists.



  1. Wow! Have been reading some of your posts with interest from my own perspective as a yogi, with asian background, turned vegetarian. Boy this post made me drool. I haven't been down that food path in about 12-13 years... and that can still make me drool. Does that make me a bad vegetarian??

  2. No it doesn't! At the point this post was written, I was largely vegetarian with a few fish/ seafood dishes thrown in a week. That would've made me a "worse" vegetarian than you! :p

    I've been vegan now for a few months, but you're right about those drool-inducing pix. I think it's the CHILLI!

  3. Well done on going vegan! I did that for 3 (!!) years. Went to France, ate brie, end of vegan story. Have a weakness for peking duck and have been on the search for faux peking duck without much success. Good luck on the veggie journey. It is totally worthwhile on so many levels, I'm lucky my husband is also veg and we are raising my two daughters veg.

  4. Oooooh! Lucky for you I've recently discovered Mother Chu's Vegetarian Kitchen in the city. Their site here: http://www.motherchusvegetarian.com.au/

    They do mock peking duck!! (but you need to call a day ahead). We tried some of their gluten dishes which had an almost meat-like/ brisket texture. It was weird. I mean, I'm not eating meat for a reason so why am I eating something with a meaty texture again?

    We were there again last night and my friend is pretty sure there's MSG in the food though, although right in front of their menu they boldly state they don't use MSG. So... who knows? (doesn't affect me coz I don't have a hyoper-sensitivity to it).

    If you do get to try out their peking duck, lemme know what you thought of it!

  5. I know Mother Chu's from waaay back! Might have to try again. Have you tried Green Gourmet on King Street in Newtown? They are vegan buddhist very yummy.

    We don't shy away from meat taste or texture in our house. So we do faux "fish" and chips, faux "schnitzels" and roast veggies. It just makes the whole vegetarian experience easier sometimes.


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