Sunday, 2 March 2014

Jumbo Seafood Restaurant - Clarke Quay - Singapore, Singapore

Jumbo Seafood Restaurant

What food do you usually associate with Singapore when someone asks you what is uniquely Singaporean? For me it consists of three main dishes but there are actually a plethora of dishes you could associate with Singapore. My top three would be Hainanese Chicken Rice, Bak Kut Teh and the Singapore Chilli Crab. Even though I've been to Singapore a number of times, I've never been able to try the Singapore Chilli Crab. I've tried Singapore Black Pepper Crab but it's just not the same.

Jumbo Seafood Restaurant is a local and tourist favourite, serving freshly made live seafood dishes prepared in local and Hong Kong styles, with the Chilli Crab being its most famous dish. It has a number of outlets throughout Singapore, having won a number of awards as shown on their website, with the main branch located at East Coast Seafood Centre. We decide on the one at Clarke Quay as it is the closest to get to from where we're staying and it relatively easy to find. Both restaurants here are situated along the Singapore River which gives vibrant and phenomenal views at night.

On this occasion, we make a reservation online for Jumbo Seafood Restaurant at The Riverwalk located at Clarke Quay a few days prior. Reservations are essential for Friday nights and weekends as it gets awfully busy and the wait time can be excruciating. The only time that was available on Sunday night was either 5:30pm or 8:30pm and we chose the former. Arriving 15 minutes late, our table is taken and we're advised that the wait for the next table would be more than 2 hours! We're not waiting two long hours for food!

Then we proceed to try our luck at the other sister restaurant in the same area. Just a few minutes walk away, located at Riverside Point, the better looking of the two or should I say fancier, which was fully booked when we tried to book online and at full capacity when we arrived. To our luck, there is a table outside but we have to leave by 8:00pm, so we quickly jump at this opportunity and are escorted to our table immediately without having to wait. Woohoo! I was so happy and bursting with joy as I could finally try this famed dish after so many years. It wasn't humid that evening and there was a nice breeze so sitting outside wasn't a problem for us.

The  'Peanuts (SGD 1.20)' and 'Chinese Tea (SGD 1.20 each)' is brought out but these aren't complimentary as they'll be charged on the bill later. However, the chilli sauce is free.

The menu is extensive and there are a lot of options too choose from so it can cater to most diners. What I noticed whilst walking past the tables was that nearly every table had a plate of the signature and award-winning Chilli Crab on it. If you haven't tried it before you should give it a try, especially if you're in Singapore.

The waiter brings out a paper napkin and tells us to wrap it around our neck as eating Chilli Crab can be one messy experience. The bib is so cute and has a cartoon crab on it.

The 'Siam Coconut (SGD 4.80)' is one overpriced drinking coconut. Nevertheless, the juice was sweet and refreshing.

On the menu, the 'Italian Soda Lychee (SGD 4.50)' looked visually appealing and I like anything with lychee so I ordered this drink. It turned out a tad bit too sweet for my taste buds.

The 'Chilli Crab (SGD 75.40)' was approximately one and a half kilograms. It's not the cheapest but you're paying for an authentic Singaporean dish made with fresh ingredients. The word 'chilli' may scare those that do not like spicy foods but the Chilli Crab was by no means very spicy here at all and would be perfect for those that can tolerate a bit of spice. It came out in a large pan like plate and I was actually concerned that we wouldn't finish it since it looked huge but this was mainly cause of the crustacean shells.

A meaty mud crab stir fried in a sweet and savoury tomato and chilli based, egg and some spices, gave it a nice decadent aroma that filled the air and made my mouth water. The crab was cooked perfectly, leaving the meat tender and soft, falling off the shell. It was absolutely delicious but a bit on the sweet side and would have been perfect if there was more spice.

The 'Mini Buns - Deep Fried (SGD 0.60 each)' or otherwise known as Mantou buns were a perfect accompaniment to the Chilli Crab to scoop up the gravy like sauce. We should have got more but we had steamed rice (SGD 1.00 per bowl). I would suggest just getting these mini buns only if you're having Chilli Crab as they are very small and you would need quite a number of these to scoop up that delicious sauce.

The 'Small Yam Scallop (SGD 18.00)' is another popular dish at Jumbo. It's basically a scallop wrapped in yam and then deep fried to give it that edgy, crispy texture. I think the flavours from the Chilli Crab were so good that it overpowered this dish but I did like the crispiness of the yam shell and the softness of the evenly cooked scallop.

A satisfying and delicious meal and a great start to our holidays. Don't expect food court prices here as you're paying for the lively environment, ambiance, quality and fresh seafood. There are a lot of patrons dining and it can get loud but this is all part of the experience as this isn't fine dining. Please note 7% GST and a 10% service charge is automatically added to the bill so tips aren't necessary. Staff were attentive and efficient and service was pretty good in my books.

Get your reservations in early and book in advance to avoid missing out on trying their famed Singapore Chilli Crab. I've read that some even book months in advance.

Then for dessert we had some Lao Ban Soya Beancurd 'Tao Hua (SGD 1.50) - Cold Soya Beancurd' from Bugis Street. It was silky smooth and just melted in the mouth. The texture was superb being ultra soft, yet still having the floppiness and creaminess. There are a number of outlets throughout Singapore.

Jumbo Seafood Restaurant
30 Merchant Road
#01-01/02 Riverside Point
Singapore 058282

Phone no: 6532 3435

Opening Hours
Monday - Sunday
Lunch : 12pm – 3pm
Dinner : 6pm – 12am



  1. i love singaporean chilli crab! my fave in singapore is the 'No Name Signboard' restaurants hehe

    1. I need another trip back to Singapore to try their version of the Singapore chilli crab :)

  2. Nice Article it provided me with essential information about fresh seafood.