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  • Writer's pictureAround the World in Vegan Eats

TRYING VEGAN CHILLI 'CRAB' IN SINGAPORE - IN BURGER FORM!

Updated: Mar 31, 2023


We've already spoken about how the location and history of Singapore has long made seafood popular here (check out our Vegan Laksa blog for more on this!) but did you know that Singapore's other national dish (and the third in our Singapore series) is crab meat in chilli sauce? It's true - chilli crab was invented here in the 1950s when a chef at a food stall experimented with the flavours, and it became a massive hit. Obviously we weren't about to go and eat real chilli crab when we were in Singapore, and at first we were a bit disappointed by the lack of plant-based interpretations of the dish. But then we found a winner...


So what exactly is chilli crab, and how on earth can it be made vegan?

Chilli crab is literally as it sounds - crab meat in chilli sauce. It is supposed to be sweet, spicy and a little on the tangy side, and is often served with bread. It is a favourite in hawker stalls and on street food carts, especially by the sea. So on our quest to discover plant-based alternatives to Singapore's national dishes, we were searching high and low for vegan chilli crab served in a similar way. We were close to thinking this might not be possible when we found the answer - a modern twist on the chilli crab/bread combo, courtesy of the excellent VeganBurg.


The front of a restaurant with wooden signage and counter and the words 'greendot: eat green, feel good' illuminated in green and white
VeganBurg have one branch in Singapore and another in San Francisco

This vegan burger joint have a whole host of exciting burger choices inspired by dishes around the world, including satay and Hawaiian options. Their side dishes include loaded fries, broccoli, and plant-based chicken tenders; they even have vegan soft serve for dessert. It's no wonder it's a rumoured favourite of Sir Paul McCartney!


But what we were most interested in was their award-winning twist on this Singaporean national dish: the Chili Krab burger. Initially we were unsure about trying a burger inspired by the dish, rather than the traditional method of serving it - but when you come to think of it, isn't a burger just a modern and exciting way of presenting chilli crab with a side of bread? Read on, and watch our video below, to see what we thought of the burger!!


So, what were our impressions of the Chili Krab burger?

The first thing we both said about the Chili Krab burger was how well it was presented. We'd gone for the meal, so got a side of fries too, and it was so neatly arranged: when it came to the burger in its paper wrapping, the layers of patty, sauce, lettuce and bun were so tidily put together, with barely a lettuce leaf or drip of sauce out of place. We thought it was really impressive. The fries came with a seaweed sprinkle too, which looked great and fit well with the theme. Our second impression was that it smelled great too: the freshness of the bread and the sweet and tangy aroma of the chilli sauce. At this stage it didn't smell particularly fishy, but it looked incredible - we could hardly wait to try it!


We are pleased to tell you that the flavours of this burger did not disappoint. The plant-based 'crab' patty (made from shredded konjac) was very realistic: it had that flakey, fishy bite to it without being overpowering in its flavours. It was more a hint of fishiness - a flavour that was secondary to the sauces in the burger. These sauces made the burger rich and tasty: the chilli flavour was a little more tomatoey than I had expected (I had probably expected something a little like sweet chilli sauce, but the flavours here had much more depth). The bread was fresh and soft, and the romaine lettuce added some extra texture to the burger, a nice contrast alongside the flakey patty and the smoothness of the sauces. The seaweed fries were tasty too, beautifully hot, salty and savoury alongside the slight sweetness of the burger (though I wasn't a fan of the ketchup!)

A burger bun with mayonnaise. chilli sauce, a plant-based crab patty, and romaine lettuce, all wrapped in paper
This burger was genuinely a masterpiece

How much did it cost - and was it worth it?

I'm not going to lie, this was a pretty expensive meal: the most expensive meal we had in Singapore, in fact. This could be surprising to some as 'fast food' is often expected to be the cheaper option. But this was not just any old burger: VeganBurg make burgers into art and the experience of their food is very much worth it. For innovative and freshly made mock meat patties, alongside thoughtful homemade sauces, and the impeccable presentation of the burgers and the restaurant itself, VeganBurg is definitely worth visiting for a treat.


The Chili Krab burger was the priciest on the menu: on its own it cost S$13.90 (approx. £8.61, €9.73 or $10.54). We paid an extra S$3.90 (approx. £2.42, €2.73 or $2.96) to make it into a meal with fries and a seasonal drink.


VeganBurg is located at 44 Jln Eunos, Singapore 419502. They are open from 11:30am until 9pm every day.


Have you had any great (or not so great!) vegan chilli crab in Singapore? Or elsewhere in the world! Where did you go and what would you recommend? Let us know in the comments below.


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