Crab Bee Hoon, an extremely popular dish in Singapore, is usually made up of white rice vermicelli noodle (bee hoon) or Chinese vermeicelli (dong fen), cooked lusciously with seafood stock and mud crabs. There are two styles to it, one being the stir-fried, braised and ‘dry’ one, the other being the claypot soup version. Either way, they’re bound to rock your world.
I’m proudly an advocater of such a heavenly Singapore dish, so I went scavenging around our little red dot in search of the best spots for them. I have managed to pile a list of 15 places to get your crabtastic bee hoon and I shall not be shellfish about it lest you feel crabby. Enough puns, here’s the list.
15. Crab At Bay
Nestled right next to Ming Kee, Crab At Bay may be overlooked. But do not belittle this cosy little joint, for they also serve up an earnest dish of crab bee hoon.
Crab Bee Hoon ($65/kg). The bee hoon is cooked till a really soft texture and breaks apart easily, giving a melt-in-your-mouth sensation. The crab is fleshy and for such an affordable price, this is totally worth your time.
Crab At Bay: 548 Macpherson Road, Singapore 368227 | Tel: +65 6743 8366 | Website
14. Don Signature Crab
Only using specially selected Sri Lankan crabs that are air flown everyday, Don Lim, the owner of Don Signature Crab, is a chef that is fervent about his crabs. What used to be at China Square has now relocated to Toa Payoh and the best news of it all is how accessible these crab bee hoon are.
Forget the hefty sum, you can satisfy your cravings with a mere $20 and there’s a choice of the dry version, or the soup one. He takes particular care to wash the crabs properly, which you might think of as a basic thing to do but you’ll be surprised at just how many vendors skip this step.
Soup Crab Bee Hoon ($20). The soup base that he uses is different from the others, with his being more inclined towards a Hong Kong style broth with over 20 ingredients added in it, including dang gui, seafood, chinese wine and many more.
The reason behind this is to neutralise the ‘cooling’ factor of crabs, which can affect females’ ‘yin’. The dang gui and fried ginger balances the dish and also gives it a subtle herbal flavour that isn’t too oily and that is precisely what is so precious about it.
The crabs are plump and has soaked in the essence of the broth, making it the star of the dish. The flesh can be easily removed from the shell, just by pushing it.
Dry Crab Bee Hoon ($20). The dry version of the bee hoon is richer in flavour, with peppery hints and more crunch from the vegetables, but I prefer the soup bee hoon’s crab, simply because of the combination with the soup.
Compared to the other power houses like Melben etc, Don Signature Crab might lose out a bit on flavour when it comes to the bee hoon but at $20, it is a complete steal and I’m definitely rooting for it.
Don Signature Crab: Block 206 Toa Payoh North, #01-1197, Singapore 310206 | Tel: +65 9691 6776 | Website
13. Momma Kong’s
Momma Kong’s is situated on Mosque Street and is one of the newest kid on the block. Fully crab centric, the menu boasts of a myriad of crab dishes, with even a crab de-shelling service (extra payment of course) for all you lazy bummers. I may or may not be one of you, go figure.
Soup Crab Bee Hoon ($48). Their crab bee hoon is at a fixed price of $48, no matter the day. They make it a point to weigh in all their crabs and if they aren’t of weight, they’ll be rejected. And yes, all Sri Lankan crabs.
The soup is milky and contains no MSG. While I wasn’t wow-ed away by the broth, the crabs were fresh, tender, and definitely value for money as well.
Momma Kong’s: 34 Mosque Street, Singapore 059512 | Tel: +65 6225 2722 | Website
12. Ming Kee Live Seafood 明记活海鲜
Ming Kee Live Seafood first started out as a humble sze char stall and because they are so good at it, they’ve expanded into a seafood restaurant that is loved by many.
Crab Bee Hoon ($75/kg). Depending on the day that you are there, the crabs vary in weight but it is going generally at 1kg over per dish. The bee hoon is cooked till it is soft, savoury and umami. The essence of the crab is retained in the bee hoon and the crab is huge and plump.
Ming Kee Live Seafood: 556 Macpherson Road, Singapore 368231 | Tel: +65 6747 4075
11. 126 Dim Sum 搵到食
Thai-style Fried Crab Dong Fen 干炒泰式 冬粉螃蟹 ($15/$30). You can have it fried with thick bee hoon as well if you prefer. Absolutely mouth watering, the strong garlic flavors infused into the mee and thoroughly shell-cracked crab so well. A must try here, and reasonably priced as well even though prices have gone up.
126 Dim Sum Wen Dao Shi (搵到食): 126 Sims Ave, Singapore 387449 |Facebook
10. Uncle Leong’s Seafood
Claypot Crab Bee Hoon ($63/kg). This glistening pot of happiness worked out to be $56, which is pretty affordable for its quality. Generous helping of 粗米粉 beehoon, broth is rich and flavoured with copious amounts of crab roe as they used female mud crab for this.
Deep, sweet crab flavours with white pepper and ginger as complimenting spices. The only thing is, waiting for the food proved to be quite long. It took around 40 mins for food on a weekend night. Be patient if expecting to dine here.
Uncle Leong’s Seafood: 15 Lorong 8 Toa Payoh #01-01, Singapore 319262 | Tel: +65 6554 3453 | Website
9. Redhouse Seafood
Redhouse Seafood has two joints for a good reason, the quality of their crab bee hoon is definitely up to standard.
Instead of Sri Lankan crabs, they used the Scottish Kwai Fei Crab, which means that the shell is harder but the roe is exceptional. The broth that the bee hoon comes in is also very different from the other soup versions.
It has the thicker consistency of a double boiled sharks fin broth and it tastes as nourishing as that. The crab’s essence is locked in the broth and it is exceedingly rich and robust in flavour without the cloying sensation.
While the Scottish crabs add a better flavour to the broth, I prefer the flesh of a Sri Lankan crab as it it more bouncy and substantial whereas the Scottish bad boys are lighter. Just a personal preference though.
But the roe is definitely something else. Unlike the usual ones, which can get a little powdery in texture, leaving this weirdly bland aftertaste, the Scottish crab’s roe is creamy, smooth and indulgent. I’d definitely be back for this refreshing change.
Redhouse Seafood: 68 Prinsep Street, Singapore 188661 | Tel: +65 6336 6080 | Website
8. Palm Beach Seafood Restaurant
Palm Beach first started out in 1956 as a humble shed, with no name at all. It survived the years and have now established itself, shifting to One Fullerton Bay. Other than the Sri Lankan mud crabs, they do bring in other crabs such as the Alaskan Crab and Scottish Crab.
Crab Bee Hoon ($78/kg). Soaked in the broth to an adequate amount, the vermicelli is al dente and that helps to balance out the savoury dish. Usually the vermicelli will still sit in a thin layer of broth to ensure the richness in flavour.
It is well seasoned and not overly umami such that I needed a large amount of water. It is robust and rich in the crab essence factor yet remaining light at the same time. The crab flesh is juicy, substantial and exceedingly plump. The ends of the pincer are super briny and savoury, which is totally lovable.
Other than crab bee hoon, Palm Beach serves up other delectable seafood dishes and you’re in good hands, trust me. They know exactly how to cook their cod and what flavours best bring out each ingredient’s flavour potential.
Palm Beach Seafood Restaurant: 1 Fullerton Rd, #01-09 One Fullerton, Singapore 049213 | Tel: +65 6336 8118 | Website
7. De Classic Golden Spoon
The owner of De Classic Golden Spoon, Mr. Alfred, has been in the industry for over 30 years. He started De Classic Golden Spoon since 2009 and after 3 to 4 years of operation, the lease was up and the landlord saw that the business was booming and tried his hands at it. It didn’t survive under new management and fast forward, Mr. Alfred was back to manage the reopened restaurant.
Crab Bee Hoon (65/kg).
The dish is very well seasoned and the bee hoon is simmered till the right amount of doneness, without losing the essence of the crab. It is extremely concentrated yet remaining light all at once. The bee hoon is slightly al dente, or firm to the bite.
The crab is huge, exceedingly fresh and tender, locking in the marine taste. The flavours combine together to form a really well balanced dish that is worth every penny for.
De Classic Golden Spoon: 62 Seng Poh Ln, Singapore 160062 | Tel: +65 6536 2218
6. Westlake Restaurant 西湖小吃
Soup Crab Bee Hoon ($58). Nestled in the unassuming neighbourhood of Farrer Road, Westlake Eating House isn’t the most resounding of all names but it definitely whips up a decadent bowl of soup crab bee hoon.
The broth has added salted fish, which gives an extra whiff of aroma, adding depths of flavours. The crab was slightly on the smaller side but the soup was slurp worthy.
5. Crab Party
Fried Crab Bee Hoon ($65/kg). The pincers are extremely juicy and sweet, though it can get slightly oily. The crab is still good nevertheless.
These fried babies from Crab Party at Yio Chu Kang are done so with pork lard, simply delicious and extra decadent. Be prepared for a lavish serving of fried pork lard, which makes it really fragrant. Worth all the calories.
4. Sin Huat Eating House
Anthony Bourdain, an American chef, author and tv personality, praised Sin Huat’s crab bee hoon in one of his ‘Layover’ episode that featured Singapore. If Anthony Bourdain says yes it’s delicious, then I’m definitely trying it. Even KF Seetoh is a avid fan.
The interior is simple and functional with an old rustic atmosphere, just like how a old food centre should be. Family run, the granny that took my order was extremely friendly and adorable.
Crab Bee Hoon ($77/kg). The braised bee hoon thoroughly soaked up the broth but it wasn’t overly mushy in texture. In fact, that made the dish that much more rich in flavour. While the crab was a bit smaller than the rest of the ones that I’ve tried, you could always request for a larger one, albeit at a higher price.
Sin Huat Eating House: Geylang Rd, Singapore 389589 | Tel: +65 6744 9755
3. Melben Seafood
Crab Bee Hoon ($55/kg). Everybody raves about Melben, it is no surprise that it appears on this list at all really. Juicy and succulent crabs bathing in a claypot of soup that is so super slurp worthy. The only downside? The long, long queue.
Melben: Block 232 Ang Mo Kio Ave 3, Singapore 560232 | Tel: +65 6285 6762 | Website
2. New Ubin Seafood
New Ubin Seafood used to be at Pulau Ubin, but they’ve since moved to Singapore and has been shifting around since 2008, till they finally found their final spot at Sin Ming Industrial Park. They’ve evolved their menus along the way, now also serving swanky dishes like Sous Vide Egg with Foie Gras ($9), UNO beef and many other crazy delectable dishes.
Braised Crab Bee Hoon ($70/kg). New Ubin seafood is currently running a Buy 2 Get 1 Free Crab offer, which means that each crab is going for $38. They’re air flown from Sri Lanka everyday and if you’re looking for something more indulgent, opt for the XL crab that weighs between 1.5kg to 2.5kg ($70/kg). They are of better quality and meatier.
We had the XL crab split into two, one for the braised version shown here and one for the soup version shown below. Just by looking at it and I’m already salivating. It is extremely savoury and every single strand of the bee hoon has soaked in the essence of the broth and the crab.
The flesh is chewy, fresh and tender, merging well with the savoury aspect. Definitely one of my favourite crab bee hoon, I’d recommend having this.
The management of New Ubin let us know that the soup version tastes best without the milk. Often, adding evaporated milk will only mask the taste of the broth, losing the crab essence although giving it a creamier body.
The broth here is exceedingly light and comforting. The crab absorbs the heartiness of the broth, the first bite into its flesh and all the flavours come through, thoroughly warming your soul.
1. Sek Tong Gai Restaurant 食通街
Gina and his husband decided to open up Sek Tong Gai after a hiatus of three years. They started out at Tiong Bahru for 18 years, Neil Road for 7 years and finally at Tanglin for 4 years. They’ve received a fair bit of media attention, for all the good reasons.
Gina, an extremely friendly and passionate woman, has built up a strong clientele that includes regular chefs and CEO of big banks etc. Because she is so confident of the quality of her food, she decided to not announce her reopening, and wants her clients to return based on word of mouth.
Crab Bee Hoon ($63/kg). Of course, with a quality dish like hers she wouldn’t need any more attention. There is absolutely no MSG added and the kitchen uses only top broth to simmer the crab and bee hoon. There is a combination of yellow leek, mushrooms, green peppers, little chilies, white radish and many more.
All these are comforting ingredients that enhances the essence of the crab, complementing each other, exuding a fragrance in both the bee hoon and crab. Hence, there’s not a need for MSG to enhance it further. The bee hoon is soft and aromatic while the crab is fleshy and tender.
Gina is an explorer herself and is a food connoisseur. She experiments with different flavours and have included sake dashi and japanese soy sauce into the crab’s stock, setting it apart from the others. Other than the crab bee hoon, they serve up a comforting bowl of superior shark’s fin for $48 and many other seafood centric dishes that will definitely leave you salivating.