Singapore Black Pepper Crab


Black Pepper Crab is one of the two most popular ways crabs are served in Singapore. The other is the Singapore Chili Crab, made famous by it’s thick, sweet and spicy sauce. The creation of these two crab dishes are attributed to Long Beach Seafood Restaurant in the 1950s, a seafood restaurant (now chain) that is on East Coast beach.

For me, I like the black pepper crab more than the chili crab. Don’t get me wrong, I love them both because I just cannot keep my hands away from crabs, lobster, shrimp and other crustaceans. But given a choice between black pepper crab and chili crab, I would pick black pepper crab. Black pepper crab doesn’t really have a sauce, it is drier and much easier to handle than the chili crab that is just dredged in gravy (a very delicious gravy, no doubt.) Also, the peppery flavor is so intense, it just kicks you in your face, and penetrates the shell of the crab into the meat, giving the meat a peppery kick as well! However, don’t judge it based on what I say. Try both and decide!

Ingredients for Black Pepper Sauce

  • 1 tablespoons kecap manis (Indonesian dark sweet soy sauce)
  • 1 tablespoons Chinese dark soy sauce (salty kind)
  • 1/2 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 4 teaspoons fine white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon white pepper powder
  • [optional garnish] coriander
  • [optional] 1 Thai red chili, minced


  • 1 live mud crab (approximately 1kg), cut into 6 pieces [or you can use any other crabs you like]
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 spring onion, cut into 1-inch sections
  • 1/4 cup water
  • [optional for garnish] a few sprigs of coriander


Add all the ingredients for the black pepper sauce in a bowl. Mix to combine.

Wash the crab carefully, then cut each crab into six pieces. (2 claws, cut the body in half down the middle, and divide each half into two.)


In a heated wok/pan, add oil, then add garlic and fry for about 30 seconds.

Add the spring onion sections, and fry till fragrant.

Add crabs and water, turn the heat on high, and cover and let the crabs ‘steam’ until almost cooked. This will take about 5 to 7 minutes. The crabs will turn red.

Add the black pepper sauce over the crabs and fry until evenly combined.

Garnish with coriander (optional) and serve. Enjoy!


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