If you are in the mood for some succulent and delectable crabs while in the city, Ah Hoi’s Kitchen at the Traders Hotel Singapore will be the place to be at to tuck in to some fine crustacean delights. In this Crab It Your Way season, the restaurant is going all out in bringing in the finest Sri Lankan crabs served up in 12 different styles to tickle tastebuds and sate appetites. Every three weeks, 4 out of the 12 variants will be up on the menu, with the full range spanning across just slightly over two months. Tasty delights include the Udang Geragau Crab, Crab Almondine, Crab Salted Egg and the Prickly Piquant Crab. And all these are on top the regular traditional fare of Chilli Crab and Pepper Crab!
Step into Ah Hoi’s Kitchen
My last visit to Ah Hoi’s kitchen was about a year ago when the restaurant was serving up its semi-buffet. It is a place I’ve enjoyed for its good local cuisine in finer touches and with the hotel’s pool just outside for ambience.
Dinner started with a serving of Keropok, a side of vegetables, some sambal belachan and a chilli soya sauce dip. After being away for so long in the States, it was simply beautiful tucking in to some homely fare like these. For overseas guests, the choice of keropok and the sambal belachan would be the perfect starter into the spicy fragrances that South East Asia has to offer. I was intrigued by the vegetable basket that carried an assortment of the day’s selection including green papaya, mango, carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers and more.
Before the meal really begins, I highly recommend an order of Pork Satay ($10++ for 6 sticks). Bigger than the regular satay, these skewers of meat come with a splendid mix of pork and pork belly, both marinated and grilled to slightly charred perfection. The flavours were savoury and hearty, with a side of sweet bitterness from the caramelised sugar. Dip that in with a side of peanut sauce and what you have is a voluptuous meal on a stick.
The side of Spinach with Garlic ($9++) was stir fried excellently, with good colour and natural flavours all in a single sitting. Always a classic.
Guests who would love to go for a classic BBQ platter may be interested in the combination of beef steak ($22++), pork chop ($18++ for 4 pieces), King Prawns ($22++ for 6 pieces) and Squid ($16++ for 2 pieces).
I highly recommend starting with the barbecued squid. Tender and crisp, with the piquant sambal sauce on the top simply brightening things up. Squeeze a little lime juice right before serve, and what you get is the marvelous combination of gentle sea sweetness, robust and savoury chilli spices, lightened by the touches of citrus.
The King Prawns are a luxurious option to indulge in. Perfectly grilled, with little emphasis other than the prawn’s natural sweetness.
Guests who desire a little meat on the menu will be pleased to note the restaurant offers up a nice cut of steak that is wonderfully barbecued to a medium rare. Nicely browned on the outside with the luscious pinkish red center, this portion was really a nice break before the start of crabs to come. It is a better option to go for when compared to the pork chop. The latter was rather ordinary and was lacklustre besides the other, more compelling dishes.
For the night, I only tried 3 out of the 12 various styles of crab available and I must add that I am impressed by what Ah Hoi’s kitchen has to offer. The Sri Lankan crabs served up are priced according to weight. Crabs weighing up to one kilogram are priced at $7.20++ per 100 grams. Those weighing more than one kilogram are priced at $9.20++ per 100 grams. Definitely not the cheapest crabs around, but something that deserves a mention for its quality.
The crabs available are:
- Menu One
- Crab Congee (Crab and congee cooked in superior stock and topped with crab roe)
- Crab Beehoon (Vermicelli wok-fried crab, sun-dried shrimps and tianjin cabbage in superior stock)
- Mumtaz Crab (Crab curry of mild cashew nut and tomato coulis, served with baguette)
- Udang Geragau Crab (Crab wok-fried with dried shrimps, Thai Basil and Chilli)
- Menu Two
- Crab Noodle (Crab and rice noodles in a cream, superior broth)
- Crab Almondine (Crab wok-fried with crispy almond and cereal crumbs)
- Crab Tau Cheo (Crab cooked in a tangy, yellow, fermented bean sauce)
- Crab in Coconut Juice (Crab cooked in young coconut juice, with hints of kaffir lime and chilli padi)
- Menu Three
- Crab Salted Egg (Crab cooked in a salted egg yolk sauce)
- Steamed Crab (Crab steamed with old ginger and hua tiao jiu)
- Crab Kaffir Lime (Crab dusted with Kaffir Lime soil and slow cooked over charcoal embers)
- Prickly Piquant Crab (Crab wok-fried with sichuan pepper, pickled garlic and citrus salt)
From Menu One, I had the Crab Beehoon. This portion of vermicelli wok-fried crab with sun-dried shrimps and tianjin cabbage in superior stock was marvelous to say the least. I particularly enjoyed how the noodles were light and fragrant, with each portion having well absorbed the sweet juices of both the crab and the stock. Very enjoyable when served hot. The crabs were a delight on their own. I found the meat to be thick and juicy, easily removed from the shell. It has a moderate sweetness that is nicely balanced with the crab’s overall hearty flavours. I could see why this crab would stand out if it were steamed and prepared au natural.
From Menu Two, there is the Crab Almondine. This fancy crab dish is actually a combination of crispy almond flakes and cereal crumbs stir fried and tossed together. It was a good serving with the cereal side making an excellent complement on steamed rice. It would have been a perfect dish if only there were a little bit more buttery and slightly salty fragrance that jumps out at you. But apart from that, a very decent dish altogether!
The Salted Egg Crab from Menu Three is unlike the more regular salted egg variants out in cze char restaurants. I was particularly impressed by Chef Lam’s choice to incorporate lime juice and other spices into the sauce mix in order to cut down on the overall heaviness while providing a distinct textural sweet sourness that makes this dish stand out. The delectable combination of flavours make this dish finger licking good and something well worth waiting for.
To end off the meal, go for the Chilled Mango Puree with Sago and Pomelo ($6++; tasting portion depicted). The sweet flavours and icy sensation will be enough to end the meal off on a enjoyable note.
Me and Sous Chef Lam Loon Tuck
Dining buddy for the night, Darrell and Me
Dinner at Ah Hoi’s Kitchen for their Crab It Your Way fiesta was certainly an indulgent affair that is well worth recommending. The satay and grilled seafood were good, and an excellent way to complement the crab dishes to come. Although the crabs themselves can be a little pricey, the restaurant’s aim to serve up quality crabs in its various, authentic styles might well justify a return visit or two. I’ve not tried the entire range of crabs, but from my experience this one night, I am game to come back for more.
Thank you Traders Hotel Singapore for the invitation
|Ah Hoi’s Kitchen
Traders Hotel Singapore
1A Cuscaden Road
Reservations : 6831 4373