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Hairy Crab At Hua Ting, Orchard Hotel

Hailed as one of the best Chinese restaurants in Singapore, Hua Ting has its own league of aficionados comprising businessmen & Indonesians etc. Every year around this season, I’ll be hopping around restaurants feasting on one of the world’s most precious crustaceans – the Hairy Crab, & do one or two posts on it.

From the selection of menus available @ Hua Ting, I’d selected their Promotion Set Menu @ S$78 per pax, adding an order of Hairy Crab @ S$78 (250g).

The starter was a combination of Deep-fried Mashed Yam & Scallops. The delicious yam was stuffed with crabmeat & coated with almond flakes, which brought a twist to the usual deep-fried yam usually found at Tim-sum restaurants. The scallop, stuffed with prawn paste was perfect especially when coated with the salted egg yolk.

The Braised Shark’s Fin was very normal. In fact, I could hardly find the fins but instead, lots of crabmeat & shreds of chicken.

2 slices of Abalone on the plate? Don’t even think about it! This course was Sea Cucumber paired with a slice of Abalone & Seasonal Greens. You're seeing 2 slices cause it was a Birthday treat & my friend Elle, gave me hers. Lucky me! I’d certainly enjoyed this dish as I’d a double-take. LOL!

I found the Dice Beef a little tough but I like the way they stewed it with my fave golden mushrooms & garlic.

Hua Ting is famous for their stewed Vermicelli. It’s a must-have for diners at this restaurant. The beehoon with shredded pork & preserved cabbage is out of this world. You can tell the Chef had spent a lot of effort stewing this beehoon. It was really delicious & was the highlight of the evening.

Finally, the additional order arrived. Both of us were disappointed at the size, definitely smaller than the 250g as stated. Upon opening the shell, there was less than ½ tsp of roe found. Friends who have been following this blog on my Hairy Crab adventures like 1-For-1 At Li Bai, Sheraton Towers would know that I only go for the roe & discard the meat. OMG! S$78 for a pinch of roe??

We called the waitress & she referred to the Manager, who then went to the Chef. We’d waited for more than 15 mins before they reverted – with lousy answers, like we’ve never eaten Hairy Crabs before. They argued that it was indeed 250g but the crab shrunk after steaming & about the roe, they only have male crabs. Elle was especially upset as she'd specially requested them to pick some crabs with nice roe for me during reservation.

Their couldn’t care less attitude was totally unacceptable & I dislike their high-handed manner. Sometimes, you tend to get this kind of problem when the place is too popular & busy. They just slap you with their lame explanation & put a period. Anyway, we lost the battle as we didn’t want to make a scene & paid the S$78 for each crab!

Thankfully, my anger eased with the arrival of the dessert. Somehow, my anger doesn’t last. Is it a good or bad thing?? I really don’t know. Besides, I tried to cool things down since this treat was a nice gesture from Elle.

Well, the Mango Puree was just right – not too sweet, not too bland. It had an interesting mix of sago, pomelo & herbal jelly. I like it!

Rating: 3/5
How would you react if you were Elle or in my position? Would you keep quiet or “fight” till you win? Check out It's The Hairy Crab Season to read more about this species of crab!


  1. i think for a fine dining establishment in a well known hotel, you have every right to question and get good service.

    i find their response totally unacceptable, esp when u r payin 78 for a crab!

  2. Hi Shirley,
    Sorry your birthday meal wasn't as perfect as it could've been, but these would be the kind of birthday dishes I'd love to have (other than the rude incident with the crab). The yam stuffed with crabmeat & coated with almond flakes, and scallops stuffed with prawn paste coated with salted egg yolk sounds absolutely amazing. What wonderful combinations of ingredients in your first dish. I think that would've been my favorite dish. I've tried hairy crab in Hong Kong before and loved it! I can definitely see why you both were upset. I probably would've complained too and then never go back to that restaurant. I'm not going to pay someone so that they can be rude to me. Not very wise on their part.

  3. Great review- hopefully things will be better next time!

  4. Ian, so I guess u'll stand up for your rights & "fight" all the way eh? This year's hairy crab is ex.

    Lequan, thks for your kind words. Looks like we've pretty much same taste for food :) Not go back anymore? I'm too weak & guess I'm a sucker for good food. Think I still have to return for their vermicella.... unless I can find a replacement. Hahaha!

    Chen, thks for visiting & will drop by your blog!

    Simply Life, thks & I do hope so too!

  5. I don't know if they think just because they are a "fine dining" place they can serve such little portions.. I think it's a complete rip off to pay S$78 for a spoonful of crab?? I would probably fight for it, and if I don't get what I want then I will just post a bad review... hahahahaa.

    Great post though :)

  6. I definitely think that a fine dining establishment should have reacted in a more professional manner than they treated you! I would definitely not be a happy camper if I didn't get what I paid for!

  7. It's too bad a high end restaurant gives such poor customer service. All you can do now is spread the word and boycott them in the future!

  8. Yes Shirley, I would definitely made a complaint at least to the manager. You pointed out hua ting is one of the so called most established chinese restaurants here, and for me, this is totally unacceptable.

  9. Where are the female crabs? Unbelievable. I love the way you write your reviews, very fair and balanced. I have to agree with you, I would have been pissed off and certainly would have no problem fighting to the bitter end.

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  11. Kimberly, despite the bad attitude & the miserable crab, I must admit some of their dishes are really good. Thks for visiting!

    Peggy, absolutely agree with u. Fine dining establishment should've polished up their attitude & skills.

    Kristen, I'd probably do that if it's any worse. Thks for dropping by!

    Ian, we'd spoken the Manager & that's where the lame excuses came from - herself & Chef. Like I've said, I didn't wanna blow up the matter as it was a treat from my friend. Appreciate your concern & thks so much for your honest opinion.

    Lazaro, no female crabs for me. Sob sob :< I just felt the pinch for Elle, who paid so much for the dinner.

    Eric, thks for the heads-up & will be checking out soon!

  12. In response to your comment on my blog, DONE!! I've liked your FB fan page and am now following your blog via Google Reader. Yippee!!

  13. Kimberly, that was fast! Hahaha! Thks & we'll see each other more often :)

  14. I can't believe Hua Ting were so blase and seem to care little for their reputation. Boycott!!! Intolerably arrogant. Cannot tahan *grrrrr*

    I think you were quite nice Shirley - I would have fought harder and made a bigger scene as I can't tolerate being shortchanged. At the very least I would've written to CASE. But I suppose you didn't want to upset your friend who only wanted a nice meal for your :)

  15. Denise, u're right..... i didn't wanna upset my friend who'd put in so much effort.

  16. Overall, so disappointing...and I hate to think of the attitude that you were greeted with, quite unacceptable. I am so sorry that your meal was not the gift that your friend had in mind, but the gift is what counts in the end :)

  17. Alisha, u should've seen the disappointment in our face :< Yap, it's the gesture from Elle that counts. I no longer hold "grudges". Food has digested all my anger....


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