Li Bai (Sheraton Towers): Singapore Hairy Crab Review 2014

“Indulge in the most coveted crustacean this season”

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Named after the famous Chinese Poet, Li Bai at Sheraton Towers serves up fine Cantonese cuisine fit for emperors. The dishes here are inspired by the poet’s classical works, with Executive Chef Chung Yiu Ming creating exquisite, authentic Chinese dishes that will make guests wax lyrical about.

li bai cantonese restaurant sheraton towersThe interior of Li Bai exudes imperial grandeur, with table settings of jade, silver and fine China. Definitely a traditional fine-dining Chinese restaurant concept.

At this a hairy crab media tasting, we were presented with 2 of the 4 new hairy crab creations together with a mix of other dishes.

li bai sheraton towers dim sum singapore

From left: Baked Chicken and Abalone Pie, Steamed Charcoal Skin Shrimp Dumpling. The baked chicken pie was suitably moist within with tender abalone and chicken flesh, enclosed by a soft puff exterior. A very homely chicken pie that has that regal touch.

The charcoal shrimp dumpling, or har gao, had a huge plump shrimp and a silky dumpling skin that tears apart easily enough but holds its form when picked up. The charcoal flavour was very subtle though, I’m guessing used more for its stark color than flavour.

Pretty good dim sums that hint at what Li Bai serves for yum cha usually.

hairy crab li bai sheraton king prawn

Braised King Prawn and Sweet Potato topped with Hairy crab meat and crab roe ($36). Our first hairy crab dish of the day came in the form of this king prawn, which could have easily been mistaken for a dragon. I’m not sure what they feed king prawns these days, but this fella has certainly been getting its vitamins.

Size aside, the crisp bite shows the chef’s skill in heat control when cooking this delicate seafood. The intense oceanic crab roe gravy is quickly balanced out by the earthy sweet potato puree, which also blends its sweet element with the natural seafood flavour. Excellent dish which I give 3 thumbs up.

li bai red garoupa 2 ways singapore

Red Garoupa Prepared in 2 ways- Sauteed fillet of garoupa and deep-fried fillet of garoupa. There is also a bed of egg white below that adds more varying texture to this sauce-less dish. I personally preferred with spicy, deep-fried fillet side better which had more flavour and contrasts with the steamed egg white more prominently. Without much sauce, the sauteed fillet meat seems to lack excitement.

steamed hairy crab li bai sheraton towers

Traditionally Steamed Hairy Crab ($60 per crab). And the star of the night presents itself looking all red and shy. Li Bai’s hairy crab preparation is probably the most straightforward, just being steamed simply.

hairy crab li bai singapore

First, you’ll want to open up the head and dig into the coveted golden roe after removing all the other redundant parts like the gills and heart. Male crabs tend to have more of this starchy goo along with the roe, which I don’t think I’d want to know what it really is. With many Asian delicacies, the less you know about the origin the better.

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If you’re feeling really lazy, you can ask the servers for help with the remaining claws and legs. The service and expertise of the restaurant staff is just amazing, easily de-shelling and laying out the hairy crab meat in a symmetrical display of yumminess.

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Fried Crispy Rice with Diced Scallops and Asparagus. Mixed together with dehydrated fried rice grains, this staple dish made sure all guests were filled up. The asparagus was light enough to not dominate the flavours, which made a pleasant well-rounded rice.

li bai sheraton tower hasma

Sweetened Ginger Tea with Hasma. Compared to the usual hasma, Li Bai’s version is much more dense and has a bouncy texture. According to the chef, to get this firmer texture the hasma has to be soaked in hot water for it to stay together without breaking apart. The ginger tea was a bit too spicy though, but a necessary evil to combat the ‘cooling’ effects of hairy crab.

From 1 October to 30 November 2014, Li Bai’s special hairy crab creations will be available for diners. Other than the 2 dishes I tried today, there is also the Stewed Crystal Hor Fun with hairy crab meat and crab roe, and Braised Bird’s Nest with Hairy Crab Meat and Crab Roe that are available.

Expected Damage: $100 – $150 per pax

Li Bai: 39 Scotts Rd, Sheraton Towers Singapore, 228230 | Tel: 6839 5623 | Website