For Ariel’s birthday, I asked him where he wants to have dinner. His only request was crabs. Black pepper crabs to be specific. Now where do we get good black pepper crabs in the Philippines? This is one of our favorites when we go to Singapore but I have not seen it available in any local restaurant. So I asked around and was pointed to Crustasia. I reserved a table for two, 8:00pm on January 28.

When we got there, I realized this is our 2nd time here. We’ve already tried this but the food must not have been that memorable so we haven’t returned since. So hopefully, the crab will be good and worth coming back for.

We were seated in a quiet corner table by the window which was good. Actually, traffic was a bit slow so the restaurant was very quiet, the waiters very attentive and responsive to our needs (I had to request for ice a couple of times).

After placing our orders, we were given a bowl of veggie sticks on shaved ice. There were three sauces – can’t remember what they are but one I think is tamarind sauce. Anyway, it was ok, good enough to munch on while waiting for the good stuff.

Veggie sticks with three types of dips while waiting for our orders
Happy camper, excited to have his crabs
Ariel’s shot

The interior was warm and cozy, the mood very casual which I think is perfect when eating crabs as it can get very messy. I’m happy that we were in a corner table near the window as we had much brighter lighting than the rest of the dining area. The mood lighting was actually great but I need more than that for my photos. :)

Overhead lighting

We didn’t have to wait long for our ordes. First to be served was the catfish and green mango salad which was really good. The cook didn’t scrimp on the catfish. The chopped onions (shallots?) added just the right hint of sweetness that balances the sour green mango.

Catfish and Green Mango Salad

Next up, the Crispy Baby Squid. I’m glad Crustasia serves this as well. This is one of my favorites in Jumbo Seafood in Singapore. The squid was served on a bed of lettuce. It was coated with a sweet-tangy sauce and sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds for that nutty-earthy flavor. I love the crunchy texture.

My personal favorite – Crispy Baby Squid

Soon after, our crab was served. The aroma was just awesome. The crab itself was huge. It was a male crab so we didn’t get the thick, orange, artery-clogging fat but it was packed with succulent crab meat which was perfect. The sauce was flavorful, fragrant, and has just the right heat from the black pepper. We enjoyed dipping the white crab meat onto the sauce, and sprinkling a bit of the sauce on our rice. Heavenly!

Black pepper crab

The crab is huge – the claw was already enough for me

We also ordered Phad Thai but we hardly touched it because of the huge crab. I was really not crazy about it. I didn’t like that it was a bit wet (see the sauce on the plate). I prefer my Phad Thai noodles to be dry. The noodles were also a tad overcooked. The flavor is good but I’ve tasted better.

Phad Thai

I was happy to see Ariel really enjoy his food as shown in the series of photos below.

Licking his fingers
Enjoying his crab
Conquering the claw
Not as easy as he thought – I don’t know why he had difficulty, I didn’t even have to use my cracker (or whatever that tool is called) to clean up my claw
Almost there
Happy at last!

We will definitely come back for more! I can’t get the black pepper crabs off my mind! Maybe we should try the prawns or lobsters next time.

Written by Alby Laran

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