A few weeks ago now, Hubs and I were majorly excited, something was going to happen that had us drooling and licking our lips at the mere mention of it! Chilli Crab was once more going to grace our palettes’ with its presence! We could barely contain ourselves on the drive to Dubai.
A few weeks before, I had seen a small notice in the newspaper advertising The 5th Annual Chilli Crab Festival was going to be held at Madinat Jumeirah. I grabbed my IPhone, took a snap of the notice and got straight on the blower to Hubster! “Guess what? Guess what?” I managed to gasp. I had momentarily turned into a hyperventilating and over-excited teenager which, I would venture, is not a surprising reaction to anyone who has ever eaten Chilli Crab! My dear Husbands response was somewhat calmer than mine but went something like “When? Where? Book it NOWWWW!”
Chilli Crab you see is not only tantalizingly delicious but it’s also close to our hearts. We had never so much as had it pass our lips before we took a trip to Bali in 2011 but we have been dying to taste it again ever since! In Bali we discovered the rather marv Potato Head Beach Club (a must visit in Seminyak BTW). It took some haggling and persuasion from Hubs at the full to the brim restaurant but we were soon safely seated and ready to begin a culinary adventure. I had miraculously ended up in Bali only a couple of weeks before and had witnessed some Malaysian colleagues tucking into Chilli Crab with Gusto and singing it’s praises, so this time around I said we simply must have what they had. So we did just that! Hubs loves his food and before I knew it two of the biggest available Crabs had been plucked from their tanks and plunged into the pan! Wow! we did not regret it for a moment, we simply loved it, so much so that we went back the next night for more! We spent a bleeding fortune there in the end as it turns out! REMINDER when on holiday never convert the local currency, it will only make you feel bad and spoil all the fun! Just spend and enjoy, don’t even think to worry about it later!
Having satisfied our curiosity the only problem was, we wanted to keep on tasting this amazing dish, which thus far had proved to be a fruitless search but now finally Chilli Crab was coming to dance on our taste buds again so we seized our chance!!! In the weeks leading up to the festival, we must have told every man and his dog about our plan to attend and attempted to drag them along with us. In the end it was just us two, perhaps we came across as a slightly weird and obsessed couple?? Can’t think why? Anyway, it was probably for the best, eating Chili Crab is a slightly messy affair, it also meant that there was more Crab for us and we wanted a lot!!
If you’ve never heard of Chili Crab before then allow me to fill you in, the recipe is said to have originated in Singapore during the 1950’s. Generally Mud Crabs are used and are stir fried in the Tomato Chili Sauce to create the dish. Despite the name it is not overtly spicy, rather, it’s a little bit sweet, spicy and savoury all at the same time. Delicious steamed Mantou buns are served to accompany the dish and mop up any remaining sauce. YUMMY!! So much so in fact that back in 2011 CNN voted it 35th in it’s 50 most delicious food in the world poll.
So was it any good? I hear you ask. Was it as good as Bali? Hell no!! But then it was about a 10th of the price! To be fair though, it was a pretty good plate of food. We enjoyed what we had and our Chili Crab Cravings are satisfied for the immediate future at least. Perhaps we will be lucky enough to go back to Bali one day or even visit Singapore for an authentic Chili Crab experience, if not there is always next years festival to look forward to!
Have you got a favourite dish you crave from you travels?
Peace and Love
Ginger and Cream XOXO