Situated only a short drive from the coast, KL has access to an abundance of seafood and crab is a particular favourite. There are numerous restaurants dedicated to this tasty crustacean and diners flock in their hundreds to crack open their shell and feast on the succulent pink meat inside. Here are nine very different crab dishes, inspired by cuisines from around the world, that are much talked about amongst KL’s foodies.
1. Crab Curry at Devi’s Corner
Crab is not commonly found at banana leaf eateries, therefore its a must-try treat at Devi’s Corner, if not a little expensive relative to what one would usually pay for a banana leaf meal. Flaked crab meat is veiled in a thick, silky and richly-spiced gravy, enhanced by coconut milk. Its an addictive, but rather spicy, combination when soaking into the fluffy white rice. The sides of stir-fried spicy greens, tangy mango chutney and deep-fried bitter gourd combined well with the curry flavours.
Devi’s Corner, 69 Jalan Telawi 3, Bangsar Baru, 59100, KL
2. Soft-shell Crab Burger at Jibby & Co.
A popular brunch hotspot located at Subang’s trendy Empire Shopping Centre; Jibby & Co. are said to serve up KL’s best soft-shell crab burger. For me, however, this dish didn’t live up to expectations. That’s not to say that the crab wasn’t good; individually, the elements of this dish delivered flavour and texture. It is the ensemble that I do not believe works well. The whole dish was well presented with the crab clawing its way out of a shiny topped bun, sat upon a rustic wooden board next to a heap of vibrant orange sweet potato fries and a little ceramic dish of spicy mayo. The soft-shell crab was beautifully cooked and covered in a crisp golden batter. The house-made Asian slaw was crunchy and fresh and the deep purple cabbage provided aesthetic pleasure alongside the pinky-orange crab. The sweet potato fries were long, thin and ever-so crisp, with just a hint of paprika balancing beautifully with the rich sweet potato flavour. The spicy mayonnaise had a great level of heat that hit the back of your throat, but didn’t overwhelm the other flavours in the dish and was speckled with chilli flakes and black pepper, although unfortunately the consistency was a little too thick and it had developed a dry skin, having been pre-squeezed into the dish and sat out for a while. The brioche was average – not quite fluffy, soft or sweet enough. My qualm with this dish is that crab meat is such a delicate flavour and, eaten as a ensemble, this flavour is lost in the bread and batter carb-attack. A soft-shell crab contains very little meat and therefore, in my opinion, cannot stand up to the density of a burger.
Jibby & Co., GK 11, Empire Shopping Gallery, Subang Jaya, 47500
3. Salted Egg Crab at Restoran Greenview
Green View has earned its place among PJ’s top locations for seafood and its salted egg crabs are one of the most popular dishes here. A delicate scent of steaming crab wafts through the restaurant, making diners anxious to receive their orders. Crabs can be cooked in a spicy gravy or with salted-egg. The first comes in a pool of sweet-sour-spicy broth, ready to be soaked up with delicious fried man tou bread. But for me, the latter won on flavour. The large Indonesian crabs are given a lavish coating of salted-egg mixture; salty goodness that clings to the shells and seeps into the crab beneath. Dining here is a messy affair-the only way to fully enjoy the succulent meat is to pull it from the shells with your hands. It’s finger-licking good.
Green View Restaurant, 468 Jalan 19/13, Section 19, Petaling Jaya, 46300
4. Crab and Avocado Salad at Delicious
Its California-cation at Delicious. Creamy crab-mayo coats crisp Cos lettuce, tangy red onion, cherry tomatoes and ripe avocado in a simple clean-tasting and juicy salad. Toasted brown bread is provided to spread over the crab paste – delicious indeed.
Mid Valley Megamall, Mid Valley Megamall, Lingkaran Syed Putra, 59200, KL
5. Soft-Shell Crab Roll Sushi at Sushi Tei
Japan; the capital of tempura. Sushi Tei don’t put a food wrong in battering and frying soft-shell crab, ready to roll-up snugly inside the Spicy Soft-Shell Crab Roll. The sweet fried crab provided a satisfying crunch and flavours were well balanced with the salty nori.
Ground Floor, Tropicana City Mall, 3, Jalan 22 20/27, Section 20, Petaling Jaya, 47400
6. Crab Roe Xiao Long Bao Dumplings at Paradise Dynasty
This unique twist on the classic Shanghai “soup dumpling” is one of a collection of eight flavoured xiao long bao. Paradise Dynasty dreamt up a concept whereby the dumpling are eaten is a specific order, promising full enjoyment from each flavour. While some flavours fall a little flat, the crab roe xiao long bao is a stand-out, giving a creamy texture that danced in the savoury broth and was not overly “fishy”. The dumpling’s skin, however, was a little too thick and the colour was far less vibrant than in photos.
Lot 2F-16, Bangsar Village II, 1, Jalan Telawi 1, Bangsar Baru, 59100, KL
7. Som Tam Crab Salad at Plan B
At Plan B, crab is given the Thai treatment as the shining star of a classic Som Tam salad, bursting with the essential sweet-spicy-sour flavour profile that embodies the Thai spirit. Golden soft-shell crab sits upon a mound of spicy green papaya slaw, long beans, cherry tomatoes, dried shrimp and crunchy peanuts, all cradles in a crisp lettuce cup. The dish it very light, therefore perfect as an appetiser of light snack, but not filling enough to be considered a full meal. For the full crab experience, follow the salad with Plan B’s Asian-Style Soft-Shell Crab Shaghettini; fine spaghetti enveloped in a velvety curry-butter sauce, spiked with chilli flakes, fresh Bird’s eye chilli and sprinkled with crispy fried curry leaves for added fragrance. A whole soft-shell crab crowns the pasta; fried to perfection with a thin crisp outside and succulent meat within.
Gound Floor (South Side), Mid Valley Megamall, Lingkaran Syed Putra, 59200, KL
8. Crabmeat Linguine Puttanesca at Ben’s
Another pasta dish at Ben’s; this time an Italian classic. Flaked crab meat is golden into a robust tomato sauce flavoured with anchovies, capers and chilli flakes. The sauce is the embodiment of Italian cooking; simple flavours, perfectly executed for a taste that is layered and complex. Succulent crabmeat loves a rich tomato sauce and does wonders to elevate the tomato flavour. The linguine pasta is cooked ‘al dente’ for wonderful bite and texture. You’ll be licking the plate clean.
Lot T-06, Level 3, Bangsar Shopping Centre, 285 Jalan Maarof, Bukit Bandaraya, Bangsar, 59000, KL
9. Crab at The Crab Factory: Original Louisiana Boil
Heading across the Pacific to the south of the USA for a communal seafood supper. Dining here is like eating at a fish market along the Louisiana coast; chose your seafood, sauce, heat-level (from mild to ‘death valley’) and sides, then enjoy freshly cooked crustaceans, boiled a la Louisiana and tipped directly onto the plastic-lined tables to share amongst friends. Prepare to get messy as the only way to enjoy these Cajun-style crustaceans is to get your hands in and pull the addictive crab meat from its shell. The lemon pepper sauce and garlic butter are flavourful and aromatic choices, but The Crab Factory’s is most renowned for its piquant Southern Bang sauce which is lip-smakingly good when paired with the sweet and juicy crab meat. Make sure to order some baguette slices to soak up the gorgeous juices, or opt for potatoes which you can ‘smush’ into the flavoursome mess that will have made its way across the entire table.
21 Jalan SS2/64, SS2, Petaling Jaya, 47300