Singaporeans are known to be a ‘foodie nation’, simply because our conversations with each other tend to revolve around food – what we ate and where to eat, and also ‘cos we have plenty of fantastic local food. If you ask a Singaporean for his/her opinion on what is our national dish, the answer that you are most likely to get is ‘chili crabs’. And not just any crabs, but it has to be BIG Sri Lankan crabs.
I would totally cast my vote on ‘chili crabs’. I LOVE chili crabs. I love dipping piping hot mantous in the starchy-eggy-spicy sauce that accompanies the crabs. I love eating the orangy-red roe. When I was younger, I would even ask for any leftover chili crab sauce to be packed in a box so that I could use it to cook instant noodles the next day. Chili crab instant noodles are to die for!
Whenever I have out-of-town friends come to Singapore, I will definitely bring them to a local seafood restaurant and feast on crabs. Chili crabs, black pepper crabs, salted egg crabs, milk crabs, coffee crabs. You will literally have crab oozing out of your orifices.
When friends heard that we were going to Sri Lanka for holiday, the common little joke was – “You are going to be eating plenty of Sri Lankan crabs ah?” In our little minds, “Sri + Lanka = crabs”.
So I was really looking forward to eating crabs in Sri Lanka. When I was in a local restaurant in Negombo and saw that its menu featured crab curry, I just had to order it. The crab curry was divine. I was a little taken aback when the crab curry turned up in a bowl, without the shell. We are used to eating our chili crabs with its shell intact so this crab-eating experience was a little strange at first. 🙂 But I was quite happy to be able to enjoy crabs without having to dirty my hands.
The curries in Sri Lanka are so delicious. The locals cook their curries with so many spices yet the flavors remain subtle and do not overwhelm your palate. This crab curry was easily the best meal during my 1-week stay in Sri Lanka.