At several locations around Singapore, Jumbo serves up Singapore’s number 1 seafood dish – the chili crab. We first saw the location directly on the Quay, with a large shop front with slick decorations and kind of assumed Jumbo was a tourist trap best left for travelers in flip flops and fanny packs (an offensive term for our Aussie readers, I know… and just as offensive to our eyes). But this isn’t the case, mostly…
Jumbo has two locations on the Quay. This is great if you turn up on a busy night, the hostess will walk you down to the other location – assuming the other location has seats. Joanna and I visited on our first trip to Singapore along with Allexia and Stephen. All in all we had a good meal at a, for Singapore, reasonable rate. We assumed that it was a tourist trap though and began looking for local chili crab houses so we could “get the real deal”.
Then one day the topic of chili crab came up with some friends of mine who have been in Singapore much, much longer than I have. They said if you weren’t a reverse snob Jumbo was every bit as good as the “best of Singapore” chili crab hut outside of the town center in Joo Chiat Place. I couldn’t believe my ears. They said it was also better because the other place is even more crowded, service is abysmal if you’re not a regular, and they frequently run out of chili crab (the house speciality)!
They proceeded to give me the best news of all next – the chili crab isn’t the best thing on the menu there. Jumbo actually has really good pepper crab.
So we were sold. This week some friends of Joanna’s were passing through Singapore and I thought there was no better first meal for them than to go down to the Quay at sunset and enjoy some local seafood. We ordered a chili crab, pepper crab, noodles for their daughter, the great mini buns, and some mixed veggies.
Service was good as usual, with plenty of staff to cover the massive location. The pepper crab easily beat out the chili crab for flavor for everyone in the group (though the chili crab was no slouch in the taste department). The pepper crab wasn’t as good as in Kep, Cambodia, but that’s a hard act to follow.
We’ve had three meals at Jumbo and all of them have been very enjoyable experiences. I’d recommend Jumbo to anyone with guests coming into town that want to see the Quay and have a non-hawker center local dining experience. Also it’s recommended if you’re a local or someone who frequents Singapore and in the mood for seafood…it really is good food at pretty decent prices.
So lesson learned here. Don’t assume because it’s a slick chain it’s not authentic or tasty in Singapore. Singaporeans are very picky about their food and nothing lasts here that’s not good…well not for long. Check it out any night and you’ll see as many locals cracking down on some crab legs as foreigners sitting with mouths agape.
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