Chilli Crab inventor, Cher Yam Tian, passed away aged 90

Mdm Cher Yam Tian, creator of the famous Chilli Crab, has recently passed away at age 90. The news was first publicised by K F Seetoh’s post on Facebook with many netizens understandably paying their respects.

Mdm Cher Yam Tian

As documented by the National Library Board, chilli crab was said to be invented in the mid-1950swhen Cher added a bottle of chilli sauce to her dish of stir-fried crabs as opposed to the usual tomato sauce. In 1956, she and her husband operated a pushcart and sold the dish along the seaside.

Palm Beach - Exterior Shot

They then opened a restaurant in 1962 named Palm Beach. By 1985, they migrated to New Zealand. It’s not known if Cher passed on there or in Singapore.

Currently, their sons Roland and Richard Lim run Roland Restaurant, a seafood, Cantonese and dim sumbased restaurant.

The chilli crab is one of, if not the only unofficial national dish of Singapore. It even ranked number 29 in CNN’s list of the World’s 50 most delicious foods back in 2017, just behind Chinese barbeque pork.

hui wei - chilli crab

Its popularity is echoed by tourists with there being a Michelin guide on where to eat chilli crab in Singapore. On the local scene, you can find chilli crab-flavoured pancakes, lava bun and even macchiato. At one point, you could even get chilli crab from vending machines.

It’s without any doubt that Cher’s chilli crab legacy will continue with its spreading cultural influence in the world, as it cements its seat as one of the most sought out dishes for every family dinner.

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