May 31, 2009
Besides the usual seafood offerings, Crab Party has some unique dishes that will sizzle your tastebuds
By Wong Ah Yoke
Yio Chu Kang Road does not usually pop into my head when I think of seafood. Unless you live in the area, it is not very convenient via public transport and parking on weekends is near impossible.
But I had been hearing good things about Crab Party, so last week I ventured into what was an unfamiliar part of the island to check it out.
It looks very much like most local seafood restaurants: a shophouse with a wide open front and seats spilling outdoors, except that it also had an air-conditioned unit next door for those not keen on braving the heat.
The menu featured ubiquitous seafood dishes such as chilli crab and crispy cereal prawn, but the wide selection also included unique items.
Among these were what friends had recommended, so I automatically zoomed in on them. Instead of chilli crab, for example, I ordered the prosperity creamy crab ($38 per kg).
Other restaurants offer crabs in a creamy sauce but what was different here was that whole pieces of dried chilli were stirred into the sauce. This gave it a bit of fire that nicely balanced its sweetness. But because the chillis were left whole, the sauce was not too spicy.
I had a very meaty 1.5kg crab, and what impressed me was that the waitress showed me the live crab before taking it into the kitchen so I could decide if I wanted something bigger or smaller. Very few restaurants do that.
Another oddly named dish which I tried, fried prawn in volcano style ($20 for small), was a lot more spicy as the dried chilli was mashed up and fried with other spices until they formed sambal granules used to coat the meaty prawns.
If you are a chilli coward, steer clear but otherwise, this dish is a must. The spices were delightfully fragrant and the prawns were fresh and firm.
All the dish needed was a pinch of sugar to balance out the spiciness.
I also ordered a common dish, chilli mussels ($8). Many restaurants turn out overly sweet versions but Crab Party did an excellent job with just enough spice to tickle the nostrils without burning the tongue.
To balance all that spice, try the Frankfurt crispy pork trotter ($20). The deep-fried trotter came to the table whole but the waitress helpfully offered to cut it up into bite-sized pieces and remove the bone.
It was served in a light, creamy sauce which added little to the flavour but helped to moisten the drier meaty parts. The bits of skin and fat, the best part of the trotter, would have been better with a dash of chilli sauce.
There were also dishes that did not impress me. One was the Shaolin lo hon cai ($10), which was just an ordinary stir-fried mixed vegetable dish despite its fancy name. And the Teochew mee sua ($6), while decent, lacked the fragrance or wok hei that could have made it memorable.
But when it came to the main dishes, Crab Party did a good job and certainly made it worth the trip to Yio Chu Kang.
Frankfurt crispy pork trotter ($20)
Good value for a delicious deep-fried trotter reminiscent of the German pork knuckle
98/100 Yio Chu Kang Road (opposite Serangoon Stadium), tel: 6288-8588
Open: 11.30am to 1am daily
Food: *** 1/2
Service: *** 1/2
Ambience: ** 1/2
Price: Budget from $35 a person