Chili crab and pepper crab are among Singapore’s most famous seafood dishes. In 2011, chili crab was listed among the world’s 50 most delicious foods by CNN, at number 35. The crab is stir-fried and tossed in a sweet and spicy tomato-based sauce, and then served with man tou buns (soft, slightly sweet buns that are steamed or deep fried, perfect for soaking up excess sauce).
Eating chili crab is a messy but delicious affair, and a must-try for seafood lovers in Singapore. A renowned local spot for chili crab is the East Coast Seafood Centre, the location of several major seafood restaurant chains such as Jumbo Seafood and Long Beach Seafood.
Other restaurants such as No Signboard Seafood and Ming Kee Live Seafood are popular with locals as well. For an outdoor dining experience by the beach, try East Coast Lagoon Food Village, where you’ll find a range of uniquely Singaporean seafood dishes including cereal prawns, sambal stingray, and oyster omelette.
For seafood in a fine dining setting, many of Singapore’s upscale hotels offer massive seafood buffets. One of the most comprehensive on the island is Todai at Marina Bay Sands. Seafood buffets are local hot spots for Chinese New Year celebrations, so it's advisable to book early if your Singapore visit coincides with Chinese New Year.
Visitors concerned about sustainability can check out WWF Singapore’s Singapore Seafood Guide, which is available as a pocket-sized manual and online. This manual lists three colour-coded categories of seafood: green for recommended seafood, orange for seafood you should think twice about eating, and red for seafood to avoid if you’d like to eat sustainably. Shark products fall into the red category, as the shark industry is difficult to regulate.
Within Marina Bay Sands, sustainable seafood practices have been implemented, and shark fin is no longer served in restaurants and catering menus. Selected seafood served at Marina Bay Sands events and restaurants are sourced from responsible suppliers and certified by either the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) or the Aquaculture Stewardship Council.