Growing up, our local specialty, the Singapore Chilli Crab, has always been my weakness. I remember when my grandfather or uncle would come home with a packet of chilli crabs. They would always bring it back with a packet of Gardenia White Bread, and I would be the happiest fat kid that night. I could finish off a whole loaf of bread all by myself just dipping that into the chilli crab gravy...
*salivates while reminiscing*
So when someone, especially a friend and fellow artiste, asked if I wanna eat crabs at his restaurant and that it would be on him, how could I refuse?
Soon Wenhai, or Kelvin Soon. You might remember him from Project Superstar 2. Or you might remember him from various shows in China. I did Battle Water Margin with him last year, and Foodie Dash together with him as well the year before.
Anyway, he's one of the bosses of Mellben Legend. *proud of you man!*
If Mellben sounds familiar, you might have heard of, or been to, the one at Toa Payoh, or Ang Mo Kio Ave 3, or East Coast Park. Yup, the very same Mellben, opened by the same founder, same people.
P.S. Btw, Mellben Legend used to be the outlet at East Coast Park, but after too many freaky incidents and disturbances to their staff (and after so many rituals which did not seem to help), they moved to this location at Opal Crescent.
And when he asked if I could come visit his restaurant, of course I happily agreed.
I like seeing seafood restaurants where they keep their crabs dry. This means their crabs turnover fast and don't usually stay there for more than a few days (else they would die, duh). Many fancy seafood restaurants keep their crabs in tanks filled with water. That of course looks better aesthetically, but think about this: most seafood restaurants here charge their seafood by weight. A crab which has been soaked in water is bound to be a lot heavier than a crab kept dry, cos the latter would have expelled most of its water.
For all you know, the same crab could weigh a difference by about 500g with and without water weight, and if per kg of crab is $50 (just listing an example), you do the maths.
So ugly, but Kelvin says this fish tastes really good. ><
See that guy in the striped shirt cooking in the background?
He is the Mell in Mellben Seafood. Uncle Melvin is the youngest brother in the family, and the guy behind all the recipes of Mellben Seafood. He founded the company with his friend Ben, who has since left the company due to long working hours in the kitchen. One really needs the passion for cooking to do this long-term. Uncle Melvin can think up recipes in bed, that's how passionate he is!
Been cooking for over 20 years, I could tell that he still loves his craft from how focussed he is in the kitchen. And I'm not sure if you are actually digesting this piece of information -
THE FOUNDER OF MELLBEN SEAFOOD IS COOKING HERE AT THIS VERY BRANCH!!!!!
Gordon Ramsay move aside please~
Now you know which branch to go to for the actual original deal? ;)
Now, these were what we had that night. Everything was so good, I wished my stomach capacity was much bigger.
Crispy on the outside and oh-so-soft-it-practically-melts once in your mouth, this was an amazing dish to start the meal with. Yums!
One of the new dishes Uncle Melvin thought up in bed, I was surprised to find that this soup tasted kind of like Tom Yum Goong, but with all the prawns, complete with shells. Prawn lovers, I say get this. The tangy taste was very appetizing and got me ready for everything else that were about to come.
Some greens so the meal is more balanced.
This can be a meal in itself. If you are only looking to order one dish, let this be it. Complete with sumptuous laksa gravy, a whole crab (or 2 if you'd like), and laksa noodles, this one would leave you very very satisfied.
|Dry Bak Kut Teh|
Most of us have had Bak Kut Teh, and it comes in soup, but dry bak kut teh? That's a first for me. It's cooked Bak Kut Teh style, with all the usual ingredients, and further reduced so it's drier. It is then stir fried to give you this dish. The pork ribs were so good, the meat practically slipped off the bone when I sank my teeth into it. Ooooo~~~~~
|Fried buns, more familiarly known as "Man Tou".|
I get excited when I see this, because it means some kinda gravied crab is going to be served soon...
|Golden Sands Crab 金沙螃蟹.|
One of their signature dishes, the Golden Sands crab has got nothing to do with Marina Bay Sands. This dish has been around longer than that. The buttery sweet-and-saltiness of the gravy....orh~~~~ orh~~~ orh~~~~ Mmmm~~~ (How do I use words to actually describe this dish???)
With the mantou, it's even more orh~~~ ooorrrhhh~~~~ mmmm~~~~
You'd think this is the Black Pepper Crab, but this dish is another of Uncle Melvin's new creations. Known as Curry Crab, it is a twist from the usual black pepper, combining the spiciness of black pepper with the rich flavours of curry. If you like Black Pepper Crab, yet you order it all the time and can't decide if you wanna try something else, go for this. Two thumbs up!!!
I love the fact that all their crab tasted fresh and succulent. None of the crabs were powdery or dry and flaky, which, if so, could mean that the crabs weren't fresh. The flesh all came off from the shells easily, and were firm yet juicy. I'm guessing this would be my new favourite for my crab-fix!
|The peeps who helped eat/snatch food. Credits: CalvinTimo.com|
Mellben Legend is located at:
9 Opal Crescent
Tel: 6742 1929
Opening Hours: 11:30am to 11pm
If you are driving there, go slow and keep left when you are on Serangoon Road nearing the CTE exit, because if you miss it you'd have to go one big round before you can come back.
Cheers to good food and amazing crab dishes!